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How to Compare AdWords and Facebook

By far one of the biggest frustrations in running both AdWords and Facebook ads are the differences in how they measure results.

Comparing data between the two is like comparing apples and oranges – at least if you use their default settings.

Is there a way to compare the two on an apples and apples basis?

A tale of two conversions

Before diving into the platforms themselves let’s run through the two types of Conversions.

Click Through Conversions: here a user sees your ad, clicks on it, then makes a conversion within the Click Through Conversion Window (number of days from clicking your ad).

View Through Conversions: here a user sees your ad, does not click on it, then makes a conversion action within the View Through Conversion Window (number of days from seeing your ad).

Now let’s look at how the two platforms measure & report on these Conversions.


Here is how Facebook measures these Conversions:

  • View Through Window: Default = 1 day.
  • Click Through Window: Default = 28 days.

Here is how Facebook reports on these Conversions:

  • 'Conversions' = Click Through Conversions + View Through Conversions.


Here is how Adwords measures these Conversions:

  • View Through Window: Default = 1 day.
  • Click Through Window: Default = 30 days.

Here is how Adwords reports on these Conversions:

  • Adwords 'Conversions' = Click Through Conversions.

Bringing it all home

Assuming you use the system defaults, there are two major differences between both platforms that we need to even out.

  • Click Through Window. The first simple change is to make your Click Through Windows on both platforms the same. Choose 28 days or 30 days (or another window more appropriate to your brand), but use the *same* number for both platforms.

And that's it!

*Now* using Facebook Conversions and Adwords 'CT&VT Conversions' you can finally compare both platforms on an apples and apples basis.

Adam Sugihto is founder of specialist, Melbourne based Pay Per Click agency and Google Certified Partner, Intentional. Since 2009, the Intentional team have driven online advertising for companies in global markets such as Prague, Paris, Tokyo, London, Shanghai, Bangkok, New York and LA; as well as being digital advisor and partner in the Australian domestic market for numerous household brands and NFPs.

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