Popular social media platform, Facebook, has announced it will remove the 28-day attribution window option from its platform. The change, which is set to take effect on October 12th, will impact over 6 million businesses using Facebook ads to reach their target audiences. The 28-day attribution option is currently in the default setting of the advertisers’ accounts.
What are the attribution models?
Attribution models help account users to track the success rate of advertising done on platforms such as Facebook ads. The attribution models use specific touchpoints in an ad process so that it can give more specific insights on your chosen response metric. This process enables marketers to get important information on the impact that specific ads have had on the target audience.
Facebook typically reports conversions occurring whenever a visitor see or click on your ad rather than a simple click to immediate conversion. Before the new change, Facebook’s default attribution essentially implied that should a customer convert within 28 days of clicking on a given ad, the ad would receive full credit for up to 28 days later. With the new changes, attribution will only last for up to seven days, meaning that the capacity will be limited.
What brought about the changes?
The social media giant cited unspecified upcoming ‘privacy initiatives’ as the reason for the drastic changes. Facebook, which has been contacting advertisers directly on the upcoming changes hinted that increasing privacy requirements would make it a challenge for advertisers to attribute user conversions over extended periods. The platform has also indicated that the new change is geared towards making the service more resilient to the “upcoming changes”. This action has been widely interpreted to be a direct response to plans by Apple and Google to block third-party tracking cookies in future.
Who will be affected?
The changes will most likely impact mainly advanced Facebook marketers and other marketers that operate massive-scale campaigns. These changes will also likely impact automated systems that determine the Facebook ads spend based on specified events.
Do the changes apply to the Facebook ads API?
The changes will apply to the Facebook ads API. The platform, however, will not enforce the changes on API on October 12th. As a workaround, the API will typically continue supplying the 28-day attribution data until the time the limitations of the browser sets in.
What impact will the rule have on delivery and performance?
According to Facebook, the new attribution changes will have no impact on the delivery or performance of your ads. The social media giant argues that the elimination of the 28 days attribution window will not necessarily impact the conversion window as these are two different things. The attribution windows typically refer to how Facebook reports the conversions to you while the conversion window is how Facebook optimizes. Already the conversion window falls within a maximum of seven days. Whether this claim will hold water remains to be seen.
What is the impact on advertisers?
The new changes will impact on your advertising strategy in more ways than you can. If you are a regular advertiser on Facebook, expect the following impacts:
Fewer reported conversions
As a result of this change, you may notice fewer reported conversions, which will affect the way you determine the success or failure of your ads. How the change will impact on your reported conversions will depend on how you advertise and the length of the customer journey. For example, should the sale or conversion happen quickly as often seen in the case of low priced goods and impulse buying, you will expect a minimal change in conversion reporting. However, in higher-priced commitments, it may take longer for a potential client to convert from the initial click to purchase
The new changes will also affect how you target. You may see fewer conversions counted if you usually remarket and retarget the potential customers who also receive messages from elsewhere. In some instances, you can witness Facebook advertising numbers jump but with little conversion on the days when you promote a product via email and ads because the people who receive your email will click on one of the ads but fail to convert. When it comes to marketing, you will have to do a lot of retargeting to a small and relevant audience that leads to possible clicks and conversion within a short period.
The ability to measure peoples’ interactions across domains and devices will be significantly limited. Likewise, the ability for businesses to attribute conversions events back to an ad over an attribution window will also be remarkably limited.
What should affected advertisers do?
- Be aware and get ready-The advertisers should be aware of the coming changes and prepare for it. One ideal way to prepare for the change is to get a sense of the number of conversions that Facebook report beyond the seven day clicks attribution window. Once you know that ones to go away, you will understand how your numbers will be impacted in future
- Initiate changes– If you are an advertiser using the platform’s default setting, you should expect conversion attribution to change dramatically within a short time. You should therefore move quickly and initiate changes in expectation of the new seven day attribution period. Facebook is recommending pulling of all relevant data tied to the model before October 12th additionally, and any advertiser who is currently reporting on a 28-days period should optimize and start reporting on a seven-day window.
- Download historical data- If you used attribution models before, it might be wise to download your historical data to keep track of crucial past performance. Once the deadline lapse, you may lose all your data for good.
- Update automated rules– If you have automated rules that rely on the 28-day attribution model, you should make sure they are updated. Any rule that regulates spends and budget based on the 28-day program should be updated. Once the October 12th rule comes into effect, all the rules will revert to the new seven-day model, which may impact on spending.
The new changes caught many Facebook advertisers by surprise. The jury is still out on how the changes will impact on specific businesses. However, the affected brands should take appropriate measures outline in this piece to scale down the impact of the changes on their ongoing projects.
If you have any questions about Facebook performance advertising, don’t hesitate to reach out to ATTN Agency.