by Bal


Internet Marketing

How does Facebook Attribute Ad Conversions?

We recently took over management of a Facebook campaign for a client in the retail sector.

During an early conversation with the client, it became apparent that he had been over-valuing the performance of his Facebook activity, having not fully understood some fundamental differences in the way Facebook attributes conversions compared to other platforms such as AdWords.

This is an easy mistake to make, given how misunderstood the area of Facebook attribution is. We therefore felt that a refresher was in order! Before reading this blog article, if you currently don’t have conversion tracking set up on Facebook, please set this up using this useful guide so you can track the success of your Facebook Ads activity.

What is the issue?

Looking at the overall conversion figure on default reports may not give you the full picture you need to determine the true value Facebook as a channel brings.

In the example above, you can see 47 conversions have been recorded. Initially, you may think this is the number of users that clicked the ad and converted within a given conversion window. But the default attribution window in Facebook is set as 1-day view and 28-day click meaning Facebook will show a conversion if a user:

> Converts 1 day after viewing your ad

> Converts up to 28 days after the user clicked your ad

This is very different from a platform such as AdWords where click and view-through conversion types are in separate columns by default. So, what can you do?

Splitting out conversions types

The good news is we can easily split out conversion types. To do this we need to click on the ‘Columns’ drop down and select ‘Customise Columns’.

You will see in the bottom right corner, the default attribution window that is set. By clicking on ‘Window comparison’ you can view all the different attribution windows available.

Now you can select different window ranges which will appear as columns which will allow you to segment and analyse your data. Here I have selected the default attribution windows so that I can see the split of view-through vs click conversions but feel free to experiment with other lengths.

Two new columns will now appear in your report. We can see for this client out of the total 47 conversions, 36 are view-through and the rest directly because of a click-through to the client website. This client has a well-rounded marketing mix so it is no surprise that other channels are influencing users to convert. As a result, in this case, it may be wrong to attribute all the view-through conversions directly to the impact of our Facebook Ads as there are likely other factors at play.

Tip: When you have found columns that you find useful, you have the ability to save this column for future use. To do this you need to click ‘Columns’ again and press ‘save’ next to the current column view (which should be in bold).

How to change attribution windows

If after splitting out your attribution windows, you feel your campaigns could potentially be better suited to another window range, you can change the default attribution windows by:

  1. Returning to and clicking the ‘Columns’ drop down and selecting ‘Customise Columns’
  2. Hover over the information button next to ‘Attribution Window’
  3. Click ‘Edit Attribution Settings’

Key takeaways

  1. The default attribution window in Facebook is set as 1-day view and 28-day click
  2. You can customise columns and analyse performance across different attribution windows

If you have any questions about this topic or need any help segmenting your Facebook data, please feel free to get in touch.


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