January 10, 2023

Tracking Facebook Ads in GA

Tracking Facebook Ads in GA

Facebook serves as one of the biggest and most relevant social media platforms globally, especially with more than 1.98 billion users going active per day. It’s not surprising if you think of its online space as a goldmine when it comes to running your advertisements.

While it’s a good platform to fish for opportunities, it also requires proper marketing tactics like monitoring your ad data. Knowing how well your ads perform, which ones are more profitable, and how users interact with them is a necessary step for every marketer.

Google Analytics 4 is one of the best tools you can use to track your Facebook Ads analytics. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can leverage GA4 in tracking and optimising your advertising journey on Facebook.

Why you need to track your Facebook Ads in Google Analytics

If you have ads running on Facebook, one way you can visualise whether they’re effectively driving conversions is by tracking them via data. One of the best tools you can use for this is Google Analytics 4.

GA4 allows you to see your ad data extensively. The information you can gather includes your viewer’s demographics, how your customer behaves relevant to your ads, and other useful data generated once they get to your landing page.
It effectively presents you with the behaviour and conversion rates of Facebook users who come to your website from those ads. This way, you can strategise your ad optimisation by determining which ones perform the best by giving quality traffic.

Or better yet, you can also identify the pages on your website that prove to be most effective at converting traffic into conversions (either leads or sales).

Facebook Campaign Metrics in GA

Is using Facebook Ads Manager not enough?

Facebook does have a built-in tool you can use for ad tracking – the Facebook Ads Manager.

Unfortunately, it may not live up to your expectations if you’re looking to see the whole journey of your viewer.

You’re only able to record what your customers did after seeing your ad, such as the number of clicks and impressions of users. This would be enough if you just want to know the click-through rates (CTRs) of your advertisements and their visibility online. On top of that, you can also get other data like your Cost per Action (CPA) in Facebook Ads Manager.

But for more comprehensive ad monitoring? Google Analytics fares better.

Preparation to track Facebook ads in Google Analytics

It’s pretty simple to track your Facebook Ads in Google Analytics, but there are some preparations you need to perform.

Here are three steps you need to accomplish for your ad tracking:

  • Generate URL parameters for your Facebook Ad. They will give your ads more context info, which will improve your metrics.
  • Make a trackable link, which would tell Google Analytics certain information about where your website traffic comes from.
  • Add the trackable link you have created to your Facebook Ad.

Setting up a Google Analytics account

Before doing the steps mentioned above, ensure that you already have a Google Analytics account. If you don’t have one yet, simply follow these steps:

  1. First, head over to https://analytics.google.com/ and click the “Start for free” button.
  2. Then, sign in using your Google account.
  3. After logging in, fill out the required account information, including your website name, website URL, and industry category.
  4. Accept the terms once done and click “Create.”

After that, you will now be redirected to another page to show you your tracking code. Simply add it to your website by pasting the tracking ID to your website’s header. You can also use plugins in content-management software like WordPress and Shopify.

Using the Google URL campaign builder

Building your URL parameters should come first. You can use them to track the performance of your ad campaigns, monitor user behaviour on your website, and differentiate your ad content.

Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder

There are many online tools that you can use to build your URL parameters, but Google does have its URL campaign builder. Here, you’ll be asked to fill out some information that will be used in your ad tracking, such as:

  • Website URL. This is where you redirect all the traffic that your ads generate. A good example of this is when users get redirected to your online shopping website after clicking your ad.
  • Campaign source. If the URL is your user traffic’s destination, the campaign source refers to its starting point. In this case, Facebook serves as your campaign source. You want to ensure that you input your source consistently, as the parameters are case-sensitive.
  • Campaign medium. There are a few kinds of traffic in advertising: organic, referral, paid, and many others. Specifying the campaign medium (like email, CPC, and banners) helps categorise your traffic.
  • Campaign name. This is one of the best identifiers you can use to determine which among your campaigns bring quality traffic and/or conversions.

Completing the mandatory data fields would suffice for basic ad tracking requirements. While the other fields are optional, there are some benefits to ensuring they’re completely filled out:

  • Campaign ID. This helps in organising your campaigns, attributing conversions, segmenting your data, and integrating various tools for ad tracking purposes.
  • Campaign term. This is helpful in specifying ad sets as it tells you which keywords or phrases are driving the most valuable traffic to your website. You can also find it on your Google Ads account.
  • Campaign content. Specifying the campaign content helps you differentiate among ad types, especially when you are operating multiple Facebook Ads. In addition, you can use it as part of your A/B testing to know which ad formats bring you the most benefits.

Here’s an example of the details you can use to create URL parameters for your Facebook Ad tracking. Your generated URL is created in real-time as you fill out the fields:

  • Website URL: The website you want to send traffic to
  • Campaign source: facebook
  • Campaign medium: paid
  • Campaign name: The same name you used on Facebook Ads manager

Your URL should look something like this:


Google Analytics Campaign URL Builder (2)

PRO TIP: Make sure that you use the same case for your campaign source in all your URL parameters. This avoids complexity and URL issues, especially with their case-sensitive nature.

Add the generated URL to the Facebook Ad

After generating a URL, the last preparatory step you need to do is to add it to your Facebook ad. There are two ways to do this: (1) using the Ad Set section in Facebook Ads Manager and (2) including it in your ad copy.

1. Adding URL via Facebook Ads Manager

For the first method, log in to Facebook Ads and go to the “Ads Manager.” Here, you can either create a new ad or edit an existing one. Next, go to “Ad Set” and locate the “Website URL” field.

You should have successfully added your URL by this point. But to further ensure that your users get to your website without issues, we recommend that you preview your ad and run a few tests. Once you’re done, just set the ad to “Active” to make it go online.

Adding to Facebook Ad Manager

2. Include the URL in your ad copy

Another way you can use your URL is to have it included as part of your ad copy. This method typically applies to textual formats as a part of the call to action. Basically, you’re pasting the URL alongside the other details of your ad content.

You may have noticed that the generated URL seems too long and unpleasant to the eyes. Link shorteners like Bit.ly work like a charm to solve such cumbersome links. This also makes your ad copy cleaner and more uniform.

Tracking Facebook Ads in Google Analytics 4

After doing the previous steps, you’re all set to track your Facebook Ads analytics via Google. Your Facebook traffic data will automatically be updated in your Google Analytics account as long as your UTM parameters have been set.

You can confirm this by heading over to your account and locating the “Reporting” tab. Here, you need to find and click “Acquisition.” This will display a dropdown list where you can select “Traffic Acquisition.”

By default, you should see the traffic channel group data. You can change this by toggling the “Session Default Channel Group” found under the graph displayed. After clicking, you can view these options: session source/medium, session medium, session source, session source platform, and session campaign.

Exclude previous converts

Exploring the corners of Google Analytics 4 is key to finding the tools and features, like creating reports, that will help you manage your data and draw inferences for your marketing strategies.

Tracking in GA4

Custom report templates in Google Analytics 4

One of the most useful features of GA4 is its set of custom report templates that you can use to summarise your data and gain insights relevant to the figures. Good examples of this include a funnel report, user behaviour, path analysis, and cohort analysis.

Let’s say you want to track the engagement, retention, and lifetime value of different groups of users. A cohort analysis would be a good template for GA4, especially when you’re dealing with common data like the date they first visited your website or app.

On the other hand, creating a path analysis allows you to see the most common sequences of pages that users visit and identify patterns in user behaviour. Analyses like this may be helpful in optimising UX and boosting conversion rates.

Other commonly utilised templates in Google Analytics 4 include user behaviour and funnel report. A funnel report in GA4 allows you to see where users drop off in the conversion process and identify potential issues that are causing users to leave the funnel. Meanwhile, user behaviour refers to the actions and interactions of users on a platform.

Tracking Facebook Ads in Universal Analytics

If you have not already migrated to Google Analytics 4, we recommend you consider doing so in the near future. As you may know, Google has announced that it will be sunsetting Universal Analytics in 2023.

Facebook Campaign Metrics in GA

Using GA4 is the way to go, regardless of whether you’re unwilling to leave UA. However, if you still want to rely on the latter to track your Facebook advertisements, simply follow the steps below:

  1. First, log in to your Universal Analytics account.
  2. Next, locate “Acquisition” and click to view the dropdown list where you can find “All Traffic.”
  3. Under this option, you need to select “Source/Medium” to view your generated traffic — provided you have your UTM parameters properly set up.
  4. You can also explore your campaign traffic more comprehensively with the use of the “Primary Dimension” feature. Aside from “Source/Medium,” you can independently select either “Source” or “Medium” as well.
  5. Other options include “Keyword,” “Campaign,” and “Ad Content.” You’ll typically see these options under “Other.” Checking these three aspects allows you to create a basic comprehensive ad report.

The Campaign parameter allows you to track how well your Facebook Ad campaigns perform. This can include the performance of a specific ad or group of ads, a promotion or offer, or a marketing initiative. You can use the Keyword parameter to drill into your ad set performance. On the other hand, ad Content will help you see which ad types produce good traffic and monitor individual advertisements.

Facebook Ads Manager allows you to view data like CTRs and the number of impressions. But for a deeper analysis of your ad traffic, using Google Analytics 4 proves to be more effective.

Set up your unique URLs for your ad campaigns and add them to your advertisements. By then, you have the power to track your traffic on GA4, generate reports, and perform data-driven optimisations.

Tracking in Universal Analytics

At Reporting Ninja, we believe you should use precious time and effort to think of ways to optimise your advertising efforts. Complete the miscellaneous task of generating campaign reports in mere minutes.

Try our Facebook Ads Reporting tool by signing up for a free trial today.

Luis Pereira