Why Facebook Ads and Instant Articles Clicks Are So Different From My Google Analytics Numbers?

Your numbers in Google Analytics may be wildly different from Facebook’s numbers. Facebook counts clicks while Google Analytics counts sessions, and Facebook is notorious for counting bot clicks, while Google Analytics does not. In this article, we’ll look at some of those reasons and explain Google Analytics has the most accurate statistics.

In this article we will look at the following topics:

There are two major reasons for these traffic differences. One of these is bot traffic, and the other one is different metrics.

Reason 1: Google Analytics Removes Bot Traffic But Facebook Doesn’t.

Bot traffic is visits to your site from machines, not actual humans, generally used for scraping or indexing sites, or for inflating clicks on specific ad links (ones that boost revenue to advertising companies that charge based on a pay-per-click model). Google Analytics, as the largest tracking system in the world, spends a lot of time into making sure that they avoid counting as much bot traffic as possible from recording into your analytics. Google’s solution, while not always perfect, does a remarkable job of removing the vast majority of these “fake” visits to your site.

Reason 2: There’s No Reason for Facebook to Fix Their Bot Problem Because They Make More Money Keeping It.

Facebook on the other hand, doesn’t really have a great track record with regards to how they treat bot traffic. Since Facebook in many of their ad models charges on a pay-per-click basis, these bots earn them more money, and since analytics for sites are not a focus of their company, their system is far inferior to Google’s. In fact, Facebook has been sued many times for allowing such a huge quantity of bots to go around and click on their ads, and thus the advertisers who pay them have sued Facebook in many jurisdictions, including for example this lawsuit against Facebook alleging invalid clicks.

Reason 3: Different Metrics: Clicks vs. Sessions

A huge reason for differences between the counts of Google Analytics sessions and Facebook Ad Clicks or Facebook Instant Articles Clicks is that the metrics are measured quite differently. A pageview or click is counted every time the page is refreshed, and every time the same link is clicked, wheras Google in sessions aggregates those numbers and only counts them once for a single user per session. Therefore, if a user clicked the  link from Facebook to your site 3 times during the course of a session, that would count as 3 in Facebook but only 1 in Google Analytics.

Reason 4: MonsterInsights Filters Out Admin and Editor Clicks.

When an admin or editor clicks through to their own site Facebook counts that click. However, if you are logged in, MonsterInsights will not count that as a session. Facebook allows the clicks to be inflated. However, we don’t want you data to be skewed so we filter that out. This setting is adjustable, so if you wish to change it you have the option in MonsterInsights.

Google Analytics is the most accurate for your traffic analysis needs.

Google Analytics is the closest thing we have to real insights on the real people that visit our sites. Google Analytics is the most accurate tracking system out there. If you want to know how many real people have visited your site, Google Analytics is the best system out there for the average site operator.