As marketers, we’re data-obsessed — and rightfully so. But as browsers begin blocking third-party cookies, this creates a new set of challenges for advertisers including how to measure conversions and access the information needed for in-depth reporting. 

Facebook has officially removed the 28-day attribution window option for some brands from its advertising platform. This window has historically been the default window for Facebook ad campaigns, but as of January 19th, the longest window available will be 7 days.  
 

Why is Facebook making changes to its attribution window?

 
The Facebook changes come in the wake of an industry wide-pivot towards data minimization including updates to Chrome and Safari (which already limits first-party cookies to 7 days), as well as Apple’s SKAdNetwork’s limitations on how data will populate in Facebook.

Despite the 28-day window being the standard window, Facebook emphasized in their release that the 7-day model is a more realistic view of ad performance for the platform. 

The platform also acknowledges that brands who have been using the standard attribution window can expect a decline in conversions from those campaigns. 

However, Facebook did mention in their release that their algorithms don’t rely on a 28-day window, so in theory, there should be little to no impact on campaign performance. Those brands affected will notice a new column called “Attribution Setting” which is showing up in the ad accounts. 

While attributed conversions in the platform may decline, the conversions themselves have not been lost — the lens in which we will now view them is just different. It is important for retail advertisers to understand the impact on conversion reporting in order to inform future optimizations and strategy.
 

What is IDFA’s impact on Facebook conversion reporting?

 
As a result of the IOS 14 changes, advertisers will experience reporting latency which will make it harder for brands and marketers who adjust and/or report on Facebook conversion stats in real-time (within the first 24 hours for web campaigns).

For brands with longer consideration periods or high-ticket items, the switch to a 7-day window could potentially have big effects on how they view Facebook performance.

Based on a shorter window, Tinuiti retail advertisers can expect to see on average:

 
– 16% decline in purchase conversion volume
+ 21% increase in CPAs

 
In order to inform action in the future, Tinuiti recommends updating existing performance benchmarks to align with the attribution changes. 
 

How to pull a simple benchmarking update in 3 steps

 
Step 1: Harvest Facebook data from 2020 (segmented by month) and include the relevant metrics for each advertising campaign (i.e. purchase conversions and revenue, leads, etc.) segmented by 7-day and 28-day windows. 

Pro-tip: Pull this data as soon as possible as Facebook will ultimately be removing the 28-day window from reporting completely.

Step 2: Pivot the data and calculate the percentage difference between conversion volume and value between a 7-day window and a 28-day window to get an idea of what the potential impact could be on your campaigns. 

Step 3: Moving forward, utilize this 7-day performance as a benchmark for measurement.

Pro-tip: Although your ability to track purchases and conversion events (after day 7) will not display as prior, it’s important to note that these conversions are still happening. This shift in conversion data represents a change in how advertising performance is measured but doesn’t necessarily reflect a change in the effectiveness of Facebook as an advertising channel overall.

Want to learn more? Check out “Facebook Releases Update on iOS 14 Guidelines” or visit Tinuiti’s Privacy hub, The Future of the Web” to find out everything you need to know about the new restrictions, cookies, IDFA, first-party data, and all things privacy from our experts.

About the Author: Katy Lucey, Director of the Paid Social team at Tinuiti focuses on strategy and execution across social platforms as well as cross-channel media strategy and measurement.

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