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What is Facebook Attribution and Why You Should Care | Holland Design Group

What is Facebook Attribution and Why You Should Care

December 9, 2017
Facebook Attribution Window

As a marketing agency that specializes in Facebook advertising for online e-commerce stores, the one question that we get is how do you know that the ads you run for us triggered the sale?

Fair question and one that needs to be discussed before moving to contract so that the client know exactly what to expect from initial view of the ad, to click and then to purchase.

First and foremost, make sure that the Facebook Pixel is installed correctly. This is the code snippet that tracks the user’s behaviors and actions through the funnel and online browsing. In ecommerce, those events are, PageView, ViewContent, AddtoCart, InitiateCheckOut,  and Purchase.

These events help us the advertiser track the ads performance from view-through and click-through user actions and then cross-referenced with the ad spend budget to provide us with Return On Ad Spend (ROAS) data. Basically, is you put in $1 you should expect to get $3 or more dollars back on average. There’s multiple variables that go into this number going up or down which I’ll address in a different post.

Back to attribution. This is a fancy word for did the ad generate the purchase conversion and can Facebook get credit for it?

Let’s take a look at how Facebook defines attribution

The default attribution window (the number of days between when a person viewed or clicked your ad and then subsequently took an action) that Facebook is set to is 1 day view-through and 28 day click-through.

This means that if an ad was seen or viewed in the target audience’s news feed on Facebook, Instagram and/or Audience Network and that person then made a purchase of that product within a 24 hour window of seeing that ad, then Facebook will credit that purchase conversion to that ad.

If a user engages with the ad via a click, a like, a share and doesn’t purchase right away but eventually purchases from the click to the 28 attribution window, Facebook gets credit for that purchase conversion.

Buyers like to check out the business before they purchase, so they’ll look at the website, the Facebook business page, Twitter, Instagram, Yelp, and Google Reviews. There’s many touch points in the marketing chain and once the person feels a level of trust with the business as well as identifies with that business’s brand, then that person will take action and purchase. This is why a 28 day window is used. That Facebook ad was the catalyst that sparked the initial interest in the product or service and should be credited for that purchase.


Credit: Facebook **In this example, Facebook will attribute a purchase to the ad click that occurred on Feb 4.**


Now while Facebook may get credit for sales where it wasn’t the ONLY advertising a customer saw, there are also many cases where a Facebook ad would drive a sale but NOT get credit for it, such as a repeat purchaser where the buyer gets into the client’s post purchase email sequence and buys again without seeing a Facebook ad but they were a customer in the first place because of seeing the Facebook ad after the 1-day view-through attribution window.

Attribution is not a perfect science but we quantify it as best we can. Whether you’re an agency or an entrepreneur looking to hire an agency to help you with your Facebook marketing, it’s imperative that you know how the results will be measured so the agency and client relationship is built on a solid and mutual understanding of  how billing for services and revenue generated from Facebook ads are calculated.

Lastly, I always like to let potential e-commerce clients know that our services are creating much more value than just short-term return on ad spend from new buyers and that’s from the Life Time Value (LTV) of the customer which is more than the initial purchase.  Along with word of mouth from new customers, the agency doesn’t get credit for future purchases (unless retargeted with Dynamic Product Ads {DPA}) so this aspect of customer acquisition through Facebook advertising needs to be taken into account.

E-commerce marketing on the Facebook platform is exciting and fun when configured correctly and knowing what is and what isn’t attributed to the ads helps the entrepreneur know their exact marketing investment numbers allowing them to calculate their margins correctly as well as help understand the value that agency is bringing to the business.

If you have any thoughts, comments or questions on e-commerce and Facebook advertising, please but them below in the comments section.

We’re here to help you be successful online.



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