Facebook To Remove 28-day Attribution Model: How Will That Impact Your FB Ads?

Facebook To Remove 28-day Attribution Model: How Will That Impact Your FB Ads?

October 19, 2020 By

On October 12, Facebook (FB) plans to replace their 28-day Attribution Window with a 7-day model. Today’s post explains how this will affect your FB marketing campaigns and what you need to do to get optimized.

What Is Facebook’s Attribution Window?

Lots of people run Facebook ads without fully understanding the importance of attribution, so let’s start there.

While we all wish every person who clicked on our ads would immediately buy our products or heed our call to action, that’s rarely the case. We know that when people interact with your Facebook ads, they can take a variety of actions, such as:

  • Watching the video in your ad
  • Sharing, liking, or commenting on the ad
  • Visiting your website
  • Purchasing your product, and so on

Like most franchises or established business owners, let’s suppose you have three Facebook ad campaigns active:

  1. Campaign A is promoting a live event, driving users to a sign-up sheet where they can RSVP
  2. Campaign B is promoting an online course, driving users to a registration form
  3. Campaign C is promoting product sales, driving users to an eCommerce checkout

Now let’s say that a user named Bill encounters an ad for Campaign A. But instead of clicking on the sign-up sheet, he “changes channels” and visits your website, where he also decides to buy one of your products. Granted, that’s not technically a “success” according to our strict campaign parameters (i.e. success for Campaign A means clicking on the sign-up sheet), but can we really call this sale a failure?

Of course not! In this example, the Facebook ad for Campaign A was very successful, giving Bill the impetus he needed to visit your site and buy something. Older marketing technology (e.g. cookie-based tracking) wouldn’t recognize this, and Campaign A would not register any positive signals. But the Facebook Attribution Tool offers more powerful and nuanced tracking capabilities that lead to clearer marketing analytics, as long as the user action occurs within the “attribution window.”

Put simply, the “attribution window” is the total length of time that Facebook can take credit for conversions that occur after users see or interact with ads. In order to attribute actions to their ads even days later, Facebook tracks the activity of its users and illuminates their “purchase path” for marketers.

Facebook tracks three types of actions taken within the attribution window:

  • Actions that occur on your ad—This includes any actions taken directly on your ad, such video views, post reactions, post shares, and link clicks. This type of attribution is the easiest to understand—if Bill sees your ad and clicks the link, Facebook reports 1 Impression and 1 Link Click.
  • Actions taken off your ad—This includes any actions triggered by your ad that do not take place on the ad itself. For example, after seeing your ad in the morning, Bill might decide to visit your website and order a product later that night. If Bill does so within 1 day of viewing your ad, the action is attributed to Facebook, even though there was no direct interaction with the ad itself. If Bill clicks on your ad, rather than just seeing it, the attribution window extends to 28 days, and any purchase or website visit occurring during that time is credited to Facebook. If both a view and a click occur, Facebook only takes credit for the click.
  • Actions that can happen on and off your ad—Some actions can be taken both on and off your ads. For example, if you’re promoting an online course, users may RSVP or register by clicking directly on the ad. Alternately, they can click the ad to navigate to the event page and RSVP there. You can distinguish between these two actions by changing your attribution windows to show view-through and click-through next to an “on-ad” metric column.

Until very recently, the default Facebook attribution window showed actions taken within 1 day of viewing your ad (e.g. seeing it float by in the news feed), and 28 days of clicking your ad.

As you might imagine, Facebook’s attribution model (and that cushy 28-day window) opened up a lot of exciting possibilities for internet marketers.

But that’s all changing—and the franchise marketing implications are major.

What Has Changed With Facebook’s Attribution Window?

On September 28th, 2020, Facebook announced that they’re removing the 28-day attribution option beginning on October 12, 2020. All accounts will revert to the 7-day attribution setting by default.

Why Is Facebook Changing Their Attribution Window?

It all boils down to privacy.

“Upcoming digital privacy initiatives affecting multiple browsers will limit business’s ability to measure people’s interactions across domains and devices,” Facebook stated in an official announcement sent to advertisers. “Among those limitations is the ability for businesses to attribute conversion events back to an ad over long attribution windows.”

How Will The Shortened Attribution Window Affect My FB Ads?

If you were using the standard attribution settings for Facebook, you were set to the 28-day attribution by default.

As soon as the 7-day attribution window is implemented, you will lose access to all historical 28-day attribution data. ClickTecs took steps to download any relevant client data tied to the 28-day attribution model, but not all advertisers followed suit. As a result, valuable marketing metrics were lost.

Additionally, any automated rules that rely on 28-day attribution must be updated ASAP. For example, any rules regulating spend and budget based on 28-day performance will be automatically reverted to the 7-day model. This could impact spending, so if you haven’t already done so, we highly recommend reviewing all FB ad automation. If you need help optimizing spend and budget to align with the 7-day attribution window, get in touch with our social media marketing experts.

If you find this blog before the changes are implemented, it may be beneficial to compare attribute models and windows to see how the 7-day changes will affect your current campaign settings. But don’t stress if you read it after the fact: our social media team is standing by to help.

Get More Help With Facebook Attribution — Free Social Media Marketing Consultation With Clicktecs

Call 866-311-7189 or fill out the form on the ClickTecs website to book a free social media marketing consultation and get optimized for 2020-2021!