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| 6 min read

Is view attribution the future of Facebook Advertising?

Written by Daniel Watts

Digital marketers are plagued by the legacy of Google analytics and last-click attribution.

Google Analytics (GA) has been an invaluable tool to everyone who sells online since it launched in November 2005, but because of its limitations and people’s lack of understanding about how it fits into their reporting and attribution models, it is stopping a lot of businesses really being able to accelerate their growth and capitalise on new opportunities 15 years on.

Facebook has really shaken things up in the past 5 years with the introduction of people-based tracking for their ad platform. Because everyone in the developed world is always logged into a Facebook-owned platform they have an unprecedented level of insight into the actual people who are taking actions on your website across multiple devices, as opposed to simply looking at cookies and sessions in the way GA does.

Over the years I’ve had many conversations with business owners, for whom Google Analytics is the source of truth, about how “my revenue from Facebook ads can’t be that good because I can’t see it in GA”.

Many people have written about why this is the case so I won’t be going into it now (check out our blog on it here if you’re interested), but what it has done is open my eyes to an opportunity that we have right now in leveraging impression based conversion data on Facebook.

I remember seeing a presentation at Facebook a couple of years ago about how 99% of buyers never click on your ads.

That’s a lot of people.

If people don’t click, they aren’t attributed in Google Analytics to a paid channel.

If people don’t click, they aren’t attributed to Facebook ads on the default click window of 28 days unless they purchase within 24 hours of seeing the ad. They won’t even be used by the algorithm to optimise delivery outside of this window.

Because of the introduction and development of the Facebook attribution tool in the past year or so we can now see the performance of our Facebook campaigns on up to a 90 day click, 90 day view window on any attribution model you like, from first touch, to 40/40, to last touch.

This is a bit of a revelation, as it allows you to get a more rounded picture of the impact of your campaigns over the course of the consideration cycle of your product.

As a business owner/marketer who is trying to grow your business, the key question you need to be asking is, “Where was the first place someone heard about my brand?”.

If you know this, you can start to make informed decisions about how to allocate your marketing budget between the short term revenue driving activities and the long term brand growth activities.

Using the Facebook attribution tool, I’ve seen eCommerce advertisers who get a 3-4x return at a large scale within the 28 day click, 1 day view window on their conversion optimised, direct response activity, get a >5x ROAS on their brand awareness (cheap reach) optimised campaigns on a 90DC 90DV window using a 40/40 model.

Those are crazy numbers.

This lead them to invest up to 20% of their direct response budget into Brand Awareness to increase overall reach and ultimately increase market penetration, safe in the knowledge that they will see a profitable return on that spend over the next 3 months.

This shows the power of Brand Awareness spend and suggests that it is something that all large eCommerce advertisers should experiment with, but it’s not the end of the story.

It makes me think that there is more Facebook could be doing to extract the maximum value they can out of their user base.

99% of their users who buy never click on ads.

We can see a 5x ROAS on brand awareness spend on a 90DC 90DV window.

What would happen if we could optimise towards conversions on a 28 day view, or even 90 day view window?

We already have all of the data available to report on in Facebook, so why can’t we optimise towards it if we choose to?

Could all businesses achieve a 5x ROAS on their brand awareness spend if this was the case?

Would the CPM remain as cheap if we were optimising towards conversions on a longer time period? If it increases CPM, does that reduce the profitability of brand spend, making the whole thing redundant?

How can we use it to increase our reach and market penetration and acquire more customers in our target market, leveraging the power of machine learning to do our targeting for us?

This raises more questions than answers, but with all of this impression based data now available to digital marketers, it is likely to be put to use for more than just reporting in the near future.

When it does, it will force more digital marketers to embrace how Facebook as platform fits into your broader marketing mix.

If long term, view-through conversion optimisation for brand awareness campaigns did become a reality, with it allowing you to target your awareness on your “mass market” without having to make assumptions about demographics based on “brand personas” for your targeting, even Byron Sharp might allocate some budget to it…

How do you currently report on your top of funnel awareness activity? Do you allocate any budget to it? Are you using the Facebook attribution tool to report on it?

Drop me line at tom@bark.london, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

At Bark.London, properly growing businesses online is what excites us most. Let us worry about it all for you, so you can get back to focusing on being a business-owner. Contact us.

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Whether it’s increasing sales, maximising revenue growth to secure investment, capturing qualified leads or building brand awareness and recognition, we care about one thing: getting results for the companies we partner with.

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