Whilst Google Analytics has been the de facto website traffic measurement tool since Google bought the software, Urchin, in 2005, Facebook Analytics has been steadily increasing in popularity.
With its user-friendly dashboards and richer demographic information on the individuals that visit your website, there are a lot of insights you can glean by tracking users using Facebook Analytics. So what makes Facebook Analytics different and valuable to your business?
Facebook Analytics measures people, not cookies
No matter what your vertical is, your users are probably active on Facebook too. Installing a Facebook Pixel on your website gives you a broader impression of the individuals that visit your website, with a lot less noise in the data than Google Analytics. Because Facebook Analytics matches your website visitors with actual Facebook users, you can trust the demographic reporting more than if you were to solely use Google Analytics.
For example, even with cross-browser tracking in Google Analytics, you might track the same user twice if they visited on different devices and different browsers. As long as the user can be associated with a Facebook account, Facebook Analytics will track the same device/browser variation as just one user.
And because the data is matched with Facebook user profile data, the information that is available to you is more specific and accurate about your users. People tell Facebook everything about themselves, and that is a marketing gold mine. These insights are automated in the reports Facebook creates. For easier readability, the information is presented in dashboards that provide a quick and thorough view of your user-base and their habits.
Facebook Page Insights and Audience Insights
These are separate measurement tools that should not be confused with Facebook Analytics. Whereas Facebook Analytics pulls measurement data from your website, Page Insights and Audience Insights shows measurement data for your Facebook Page.
Page Insights show user interactions with your Facebook Page and content. You can pull data for your page views, organic post reach, post engagement, as well as the responsiveness of your page admins at replying to messages. You can also see which of your posts have the most reactions and engagement, and you have the option to boost your posts. (Pay to show your content to a wider audience).
Audience Insights help you understand the demographics of the users that interact with your Facebook Page, including age, gender, relationship status, education level and job title. It allows you to build segmented audiences for more specific targeting when you boost posts or run ad campaigns.
Facebook Analytics vs. Google Analytics
Facebook Analytics is a relatively simple tool to use, and it is more accessible to users without the technical knowledge or capacity to navigate the data that Google Analytics can collect. Whilst this might be a benefit to business owners without the resources to make the most of Google Analytics, it also makes Facebook Analytics less valuable.
With Google Analytics, you are able to access all of your raw data. It is easy to customize how this data is collected and presented. You also have a better ability to collaborate on reports by controlling how different members of your team, or contractors, can access your data. You can create your own filters to remove spam, or internal traffic, as well as an advanced customization capacity, control over reporting, and easy event tracking through Google Tag Manager.
It is harder to modify Facebook Analytics to customize how your data is collected and reported. You don’t get to see the nuts and bolts of how information is collected and catalogued in the way that you can with Google Analytics. Facebook Analytics does however let you customize events and sales funnels.
The bottom line, there’s no need to choose.
At the end of the day, more data is never a bad thing. And if you’re running advertising on Google Ads or Facebook Ads (or both), it’s important to have good measurement of the data that you’re collecting and using all the tools available to you to improve your efficiency in ad spend.
Both Facebook and Google’s custom tracking codes and platforms are free to install and you can run both simultaneously. Measure data, glean new insights, and come to a deeper, broader understanding of who your users are.