Introduction to Social Media Tracking

If you’re looking to improve the performance of your social media campaigns then understanding how tracking works is vital. In this blog Emil will guide you through an introduction to all things tracking. This blog covers:

Why is tracking important?
Types of Tracking
Social Media Attribution Windows
Google Analytics vs In-Platform Analytics
Utilising Tracking
Example of Tracking in Action

Why is tracking important?

Tracking is one of the core advantages of digital marketing. It gives you vision of your ad performance that traditional methods have struggled with. For example, accurately tracking the success of a physical newspaper ad or article is extremely difficult.

Without tracking, you are essentially working blindly, so how are you meant to make the right decisions when you don’t really know what’s happening?

Advertising without tracking

You can advertise on social media without setting up full tracking, but it leaves you and the social platform with limited information.

Here’s a real world example. Imagine you have a physical shop:

  • You are standing on the street around the corner advertising your shop and your products.
  • You will be able to see how many people saw you and if they took the turn down the street of your shop, but you don’t know if they visited or bought anything.
  • Your advertising efforts may effectively target more of the kind of people who took the turn down the street, but you don’t know what happened next!
  • With tracking installed, you’ll be able to see if they walked in, if they purchased and how much they spent.

Once you know if they purchased, you can use ads that will then be able to target more people that are likely to purchase i.e. your target audience.

Where We Use Conversion Tracking

  • Ad testing
  • Increasing performance by eliminating poor performing elements of your campaign
  • Audience building
  • Audience testing and optimisation
  • Remarketing campaigns
  • Creating Similar and Lookalike audiences
  • Set-up of conversion-based campaigns – where Facebook or the social platform finds audiences that are like your converters

Types of Tracking: UTM Parameters for tracking links

What is UTM Tracking?

UTM tracking is a code added to the end of your URL (website link), which allows you to identify more of your traffic through analytics platforms, such as Google Analytics.

You can use a template to standardise the creation of your UTM parameters, so that everything is categorised and identifiable – just how you like it.

The most regular parts that people add to their UTM code are:

  • The source (e.g. the platform)
  • The medium (usually the type, such as paid, organic etc)

You can also drill down further to add campaign and content details. This can prove extremely helpful when analysing performance.

Source & Medium Example

Building a URL with UTM Parameters

You can build your URL using one of several free online tools, including Anicca’s very own:

Simply add your original URL and fill in the fields you want to track, then hit generate URL and your new link will be created.

Google Analytics URL Builder Tool

Types of Tracking: Website pixel for tracking actions and conversions on your site

What is a tracking Pixel?

A tracking pixel is a connector between your website and an ad or social media platform. It is actually a bit of code that sits on your website and sends information back to the source of the pixel.

You will need to add a different pixel for each platform that you want to track, e.g. one for Google, Facebook, LinkedIn etc.

The tracking pixel will allow you to track actions and conversions that happen on your site – such as page views, button clicks, leads, sales or other on-site activity.

Without a tracking Pixel, your ads will run blindly and you will have little to learn from.
You will be able to see impressions and clicks in the ads manager (dashboard), but you won’t know what users do once they have clicked through to your site.
This means that the ads platform won’t know which people are best to target.

Many businesses rule out social media advertising because they ran ads without a pixel installed and therefore assumed no action was taken by users.

Different pixels for different ad platforms

You need to install a different pixel for each platform, to track actions on ads from that platform:
• Facebook Pixel
• LinkedIn Insight Tag
• Pinterest Tag
• Twitter Pixel

Pixels are also used by other platforms:
• Google uses the Analytics pixel for tracking most of their ad platforms
• Bing uses their UET tag “Universal Event Tracking”

What are LinkedIn Insight Tag, Pinterest Tag and Twitter Pixel?

These all act the same way as the Facebook Pixel but are separate for each platform. So they have different names, but are the same thing.

You need to install one for each platform in order to track actions from that platform.

What is a Facebook Pixel?

Facebook Pixel is a connector between your website and Facebook.

The pixel allows you to see what’s happening on your website. E.g., what actions people are taking.

Without Facebook Pixel:
You will be able to see impressions and clicks, but you won’t know what they do beyond that.
This means that Facebook won’t know what people are best to target.

How Do You Install Your Pixel?

Facebook, especially, make it very easy to install a pixel through partner integration and we have listed its partners below.

You can also manually install the code on your website, by giving the code to your developer or using a tool like Google Tag Manager (GTM).

We recommend having a professional complete this process, as it is quite a technical process and any mistakes made often require a complete fresh set-up once identified.

What Can You Track?

The benefit of Partnership integration is that once everything is setup correctly elsewhere, the majority of your events will be automatically added.

Beyond that you can add additional “Custom Events”. These can be clicks on things such as a phone number, an email address or a ‘submit’ button.

Moving forward, you can use these Custom events to form an in-depth strategy with multiple-targeting layers.

Custom Events

Custom events can be set up to track things like thank-you or landing page visits, that are unique to your site:

These are often used to track if a visitor has completed a form or other types of actions or conversions that happen on the page
They can be used to track when the visitor lands on the page, clicks the button, downloads a document or goes to a thank-you page.

Custom Conversions

There are some differences between tracking a “submit button” and a thank-you page visit:
You are more likely to track duplicate events from button clicks.
Accidental double clicks or re-submissions due to a form error such as a missing field, can lead to this.

Using custom events allows us to create the most advanced targeting strategies, where we use tracked events to create ads based on what actions were taken. This can be a visit to a specific page or an abandoned shopping cart.

Social Media Attribution Windows

Social Media (conversion) Attribution Windows

What are attribution windows?

The social ads platforms all use “attribution windows” (or a set number of days), within which they credit events to their platform (e.g. sales, leads or other conversions).

Facebook’s default attribution window is now seven days for clicks and one day for views.

What does that mean?

It means that anyone who clicked an ad within seven days prior to a purchase (or other conversion), will be credited as a Facebook sale (or conversion).
In addition, any ad that was viewed on the day of purchase/conversion will be credited as a Facebook sale/conversion.

How long are Attribution Windows?

In the past, the default attribution model for Facebook was 28-day click, one day view, but this was changed in January 2021, as new privacy changes came into place.

What impact does this have?

Essentially it means that if someone clicked an ad eight days before purchase, it won’t be credited.
This has a greater impact on products that require more consideration – usually higher ticket items.

Apple Tracking Transparency

Facebook Statement
“In early 2021, Apple will begin to enforce their App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prompt. Once Apple enforces the prompt and it’s shown on Facebook and Instagram, app advertisers and advertisers that optimise, target and report on web events, will be affected by limitations on data sharing.”

As a result of this, Facebook’s default attribution windows have changed and there is less data available from Apple users. New things such as Domain Verification and Aggregated Events have been put into place in order to regain some of the lost data.

Attribution Window Optimisation

You can optimise your ads to alternative attribution windows such as seven day click only or one day click only.

Other platforms still have longer windows available, however they will also have suffered from the privacy rule changes. This means that the longer the windows, the less visibility.

Pinterest does not allow you to remove view attribution, which means you’re unable to optimise for people who click and convert only.

In general, a click attribution is valued more, but viewing an ad can often spark the initial interest or push you over the line, so it is not to be discarded. This is often called an assisted conversion

Google Analytics vs In-Platform Analytics

What’s more Accurate? Google Analytics or In-Platform Analytics?

The data within an ad platform, such as Facebook, often does not match the data that you see in Google or other Analytics packages e.g. landing page views vs visits to your site.

There’s a longstanding debate about what stats to trust more, but the reality is that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. However, being overly reliant on one or the other is likely to lead to wrong decisions being made.

Most conversion journeys involve multiple touchpoints and interactions, which makes it complicated for platforms to give credit.

If someone clicked a Facebook ad within the week of purchase then Facebook will take that as a sale, while Google Analytics may give more credit to PPC or direct as that is where the last click was from.

In reality both were part of the journey and deserve credit, so neither is right or wrong.

Example Shopping Journey

Example Shopping Journey

The above is a quite complex user journey with several different touchpoints that can happen over quite a long period of time.

As a result, the different analytics platforms may credit different sources.

Analytics Discrepancies

Utilising Tracking: Remarketing, Audience Building and Optimising


Without tracking, your remarketing capabilities are limited. However, tracking allows you to retarget people on your website, avoiding losing the 26% of people who abandon cart purchase elsewhere.

Finally, remarketing campaigns tends to have a much lower cost per acquisition (CPA).

Remarking Journey

Audience Building

If you can track people on your site, then you can also build audiences.

These can be people who visited your site in general, specific pages only or took certain actions.

You can then use those audiences to improve performance and cater content for them as they tend to be lower funnel audiences.


With tracking in place and more data uncovered, it enables you to make better decisions.

Knowing what is REALLY working and not just could be working, will help you optimise.

Long-term, this means you can improve creative, improve audiences, run effective tests and spend your budgets where you’re more likely to get results.

Example of Tracking in Action

Say we have two different ads, using different dimension, to get more sign-ups for today’s webinar.

Without tracking, this is the typical data that we may look at to make decisions:

Ad Performance Example

But what happens when you have tracking is that more conversion data is uncovered.

Ad Performance Example 2

So now you have the full picture and can make decisions based on your end goal.

Ad Performance Example 3

If you would like to speak to our team about implementing tracking for organic or paid social media campaigns get in contact.


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0116 254 7224