4 solutions to dial in your Facebook attribution

If your grasp of your Facebook ads attribution is murky, you're not alone. Columnist Brad O'Brien offers four solutions to help you get a solid understanding of its role in the customer journey.

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So you’re advertising on Facebook and have a good handle on the levers that drive performance, but one thing you don’t have completely dialed in is your attribution.

If this sounds like your brand, you are not alone. Facebook attribution is a topic I’ve discussed with every single one of my clients at some point and continue to build a conversation around.

Understanding your Facebook ads attribution is essential for assigning true value to the channel and its role in the customer journey.

The path to purchase is an increasingly complex one, and Facebook has unique solutions to help you demystify it. In this post, we’ll break down those solutions and how you should use them.

Understand Facebook’s conversion reporting and attribution windows

A Facebook conversion is attributed to the day the click or impression occurred. If there are multiple ad impressions or clicks for a single user, Facebook reporting uses the day of the last Facebook touch point.

This is an important piece of foundational knowledge when working through your Facebook ad attribution. It may differ from a day of conversion or pure last-click model used in other platforms, or from your own internal point of truth.

The standard attribution window for Facebook is a one-day view, 28-day click. For reporting within the UI, there are options to manipulate within one-, seven- and 28-day view/click windows.

Which attribution window should I use in Facebook?

There is not a single attribution window that I would recommend as a standard across verticals. However, an immediate next step I’d suggest would be to use the attribution window combo that most closely resembles your internal point-of-truth metrics. This allows you to optimize best within Facebook Ads Manager and Power Editor, where the media dollars are being spent.

A further step would include matching to each KPI in your funnel through Facebook pixel event tagging.

For example, a personal loan company may have events that include signup, approval, application and loan processed. Make sure you are accurately factoring in the average intervals for these separate conversion events for your customer base when looking at one-, seven- and 28-day windows.

To go even deeper into understanding Facebook attribution, dive into your back-end AOV (average order value), ROAS (Return On Advertising Spending), and LTV (lifetime value) numbers. Through proper tagging parameters, you can evaluate these metrics on Facebook audience types, placement, device, age, gender and more.

I like to say that with this type of knowledge, you can control the microeconomics of your Facebook advertising.

What’s the value of a view?

This is a question as old as advertising. My general opinion is that view conversions are indicative that you are barking up the right tree with your Facebook ads.

Remember, the customer journey is increasingly complex and most often involves several touch points. To get a better view into the customer journey, tag the audiences that Facebook will allow third-party view tracking on at the ad level to track view conversions across channels.

Be aware of Facebook’s people-based attribution solutions

The cornerstone of Facebook’s advertising is people-based marketing. Facebook knows that you are you regardless of your device. The average digital consumer owns about four devices, and Facebook’s unique ability to track users on all of them is powerful.

People-based marketing differs from measurement solutions based on cookies and clicks that show a less accurate picture of cross-device behavior.

Facebook has a cross-device report in Ads Manager and Power Editor that can show you impression and conversion device at any granularity you choose. These insights can inform a number of attribution-related tactics.

Get to know the conversion lift tool

Facebook’s conversion lift measurement uses a scientific approach to determine the additional business driven by people as a result of Facebook ads. Conversion lift splits the audience of a campaign randomly into test and control groups. The test group is served ads on Facebook; the control group is not delivered Facebook ads.

The most important thing to keep in mind for conducting conversion lift through Facebook is to keep things as controlled as possible. Both groups should receive the same external bias, receiving (or being mutually excluded) from the same ads on Facebook. This approach gives you a clean view into whether and how much value Facebook specifically is driving for your objective.

Conversion lift results will show full attribution (28-day click and 28-day view). This is done purposefully so that you’re seeing the entire picture and accounting for all outside influences. To run conversion lift for your brand, reach out to your Facebook team or agency partner.

Third-party attribution is your friend

Ultimately, the best Facebook attribution strategy is one grounded in an omnichannel point of view. There are several attribution and marketing tools that allow for a holistic view across channels.

In my opinion, the right investments in third-party attribution are more than worthwhile in understanding Facebook’s value in your marketing mix.

Do you have any other tips for dialing in your Facebook attribution? Please share!

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech. Staff authors are listed here.

About the author

Brad O'Brien
Brad O'Brien joined 3Q Digital as VP of Social after spending several years on the brand side at Provide Commerce & FTD companies. Brad has a strong background in Social, SEO, ecommerce, landing page and test optimizations, analytics, as well as production and promotion of digital content. Originally from New Jersey, Brad went to college in Virginia at James Madison University and received a degree in Marketing. He has called San Diego home for the last seven years, and also works out of San Diego. Brad enjoys surfing, being outdoors, music festivals, traveling, cooking, and spending time with his dog Duke.

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