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Blog Post

Understanding Facebook’s Attribution Window

November 21, 2018
Table of Contents

Attribution, possibly the biggest buzzword in all of digital marketing right now. The more people understand the capabilities of digital marketing and the granularity of its reporting, the more attribution is talked about. The main issue comes down to that within a consumer journey a consumer is very likely to be impacted by multiple of your marketing channels, but then when it comes to reporting revenue they all will take credit, naturally. Every advertisement engine wants to be able to say that they are providing the highest return on your investment so you will, in turn, spend more on the platform.

The issue is that if every engine is taking credit for the purchase, then you will be double counting the majority of your transactions and actually be reporting a higher amount of revenue received than you actually have. Attribution modeling can help you navigate this issue, but that is a topic for another blog post because it can be very complicated. First, let’s walk through what attribution windows Facebook even has and explain what they mean. This will be crucial in you understanding the effectiveness of Facebook for you as an advertising channel.

First of all, if this is your first time hearing about attribution windows, here is the definition that Facebook provides: “The number of days between when a person viewed or clicked your ad and then subsequently took an action”. Why is this important? This is important because Facebook, along with most other advertisement engines, counts conversions on the day the ad was viewed/clicked, not on the day that conversion occurred. If a conversion falls within your conversion window, it will be attributed to the day that the ad was viewed/clicked. If it is not, then it will not be counted.

To report on different attribution windows you have to customize the columns in your ads manager and then click the link “Comparing Windows”. This will open the pop-up that allows you to select from the 6 available comparing windows that Facebook has available in its reporting. The attribution windows are:

  • 1 Day View
  • 7 Day View
  • 28 Day View
  • 1 Day Click
  • 7 Day Click
  • 28 Day Click

Facebook’s “Standard Attribution Window” is 28 Day Click and 1 Day View. This means that if an individual viewed your ad and converted within 1 day or clicked on your ad and converted within 28 days that it would be attributed a conversion. Typically, this attribution window is very fair for a Facebook campaign especially if you are looking at acquisition traffic. If you are trying to figure out what window makes the most sense for you and your company, the main thing you should be looking at his your typical consumer journey.

If your product is very expensive and it typically takes a consumer a long time to justify buying your product, it would be beneficial to open up your attribution window to a larger time frame. If your product or service is a very low price point and is typically an impulse buy, it would be better for you to look at a smaller attribution window. Looking at this reporting can also help you understand which optimization window to optimize towards at the ad set level. If the majority of your conversions are coming from the 1 Day Click window you should optimize towards this window. You may be charged a premium for this window, but if it offsets with a higher conversion rate you can see higher returns.

At the end of the day, these attribution windows should only be used as data points for you to help make decisions on your advertising efforts. If you are not getting any conversions from a 1 Day click window, that does not mean that Facebook Advertising is not for you. It simply means that your consumer sales cycle is longer than 1 Day and you should have a strategy in place to ensure you are nurturing the consumer and providing them value throughout the process to enable them to purchase your product.

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