Conversion Attribution in the Facebook Ads Platform

This post discusses attribution as it relates to the Facebook platform.

What Does Attribution Mean?

Attribution is how credit is applied to conversions, phone calls, form fills, etc. inside of the Facebook platform. We always want to know who gets the credit.

Different Platforms. Different Conversion Attribution.

From a big picture perspective, different platforms count attribution differently. Understand that when you’re inside of the Facebook platform, credit is attributed differently than when you’re in, let’s say, Google Analytics. 

Google Analytics counts attribution to be the very last thing that somebody does overall. So, considering all your different types of marketing such as organic, ads, some referral traffic, etc. it’s going to count as the very last thing that a person does. As a result, fair credit is not given to the other actions people may take before taking an action that results in a conversion.

For example, someone sees a Facebook ad but then ends up doing an organic search later. The last thing they did was an organic search so organic search gets the credit or attribution, not Facebook. 

Consequently, always measure how your Facebook ads are doing inside of the Facebook platform. 

Attribution Windows in Facebook

The attribution window refers to the window of time that credit is given for an ad. By default, the attribution window in Facebook is one day for when someone viewed your ad and 28 days after someone has clicked on your ad. 

Where Attribution Gets Muddy in Facebook

So using this attribution window: By default, if the second day a person who viewed your Facebook ad, didn’t do anything when they viewed it but later searched for you on Google then your Facebook ad would not get any credit inside the Facebook platform.

Using the same hypothetical above, you’d see that in Google Analytics organic would get the credit.  So this can be a problem. I like to treat Facebook a lot like running a TV ad because people go to Facebook to be entertained. So I believe the one-day attribution is not a good measure.

The second attribution window is the 28-day click.  Now, if you have a longer sales cycle than 28 days, this can certainly be a problem. In Facebook, the 28-day click is the furthest out that you can go. You could see inside of Google Analytics after 28 days if it was the last thing that somebody did. Then credit could be given inside of Google Analytics, however, this isn’t likely.

Conversion Attribution is Not Perfect

So it’s important that as much as even here at Elevated Marketing Solutions we absolutely love data, it’s not perfect. Attribution is kind of a big problem. It’s really hard and I don’t think it’ll ever really be solved. I think some of the data-driven decisions that are coming out, which are available with paid Google Analytics, you can get a much better picture. But out of the box, free Google Analytics, or out of the box Facebook, it’s not as clear. 

A couple of things you can do though, and what we do here, is when we start an account in Facebook ads, we immediately change the attribution window. We change it to a 28-day view and a 28-day click. So we want to give credit for both of those as far as we possibly can to know if our ad is working.

How to Make Facebook Attribution Better

The other item inside of Facebook that you have to be careful with is going to be the last-click attribution model, which is the same for Google Analytics. The reason for caution is that you should be on Facebook building funnels. A funnel: this is the first thing that they see, then this is the next thing they see, and the next thing, and the next thing, and the next thing. So, a lot of your credit or your conversions, phone calls, form fills will be given often to the remarketing ad. And that makes it difficult to know if your ads prior to that stage are providing value. 

So you might have to look at different metrics than conversions. 

Are you getting people to watch the video, which is building a remarketing audience, in which you are now trying to get landing page views? And then from the landing page views, are you then getting the conversions in the remarketing? 


You have to look at all the different aspects, and not just rely on the very last thing that you want people to do in order to gauge if a program is working.

And that’s just overall marketing. You can’t only go after the phone call or the conversion. You have to reach people at different stages of the funnel, so it’s important to keep that in mind. Attribution can be a tricky subject for sure, but it’s something that as a marketer you should understand, and even as a business owner if you want to understand the results your getting. It’s important to keep in mind that no matter how sophisticated the marketer, no one person will have all the answers or know exactly where attribution should be made. 

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