Facebook’s new attribution settings explained

9 Feb 2021

Social media

Hannah Wilde

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In the world of social media, you can expect a lot of updates as the network giants work to become better for both users and businesses. But what about Facebook’s latest update? It’s in their attribution settings, so let’s see what the deal is.

What are Facebook’s attribution settings?

When managing ads on Facebook, an attribution setting is what applies to the “finite period of time during which conversions can be credited to your ads and used to inform campaign optimisation.” Facebook basically uses this time period to learn about the conversions taking place, and they’ll use that data to help improve the performance of your campaigns by “showing your ads to those people who find them most relevant.” Clever algorithms and data insights!

What’s changed with Facebook’s attribution settings?

To use the attribution settings, you go into Facebook’s Ads Manager. From there, you can choose your attribution setting at an ad set level when creating a campaign or when editing an existing one.  

On 19 January 2021, Facebook said “the default attribution setting for all new ad sets was changed to 7-day click and 1-day view in preparation for Apple’s enforcement of the AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) prompt. When you create a new ad set, you are free to change this setting to any of the other supported options should you so choose.”

The impact of the changes

For inactive ad sets, there was no reporting impact, with Facebook saying they continue “to show historical results based on the deprecated account attribution window.” 

For active ad sets, they will continue using the deprecated conversion window setting from the attribution setting. This is to avoid an impact on ad delivery on ongoing ad sets. However Facebook stresses that this may cause a “decrease in the number of reported conversions for advertisers who were previously using an account level attribution window that is no longer available, such as 28-day click and 1-day view. Also note that for active ad sets, your previous account level attribution window setting will not be used for reporting after 19 January.”

Facebook has a table to show before and after reporting scenarios for active ad sets. 

BeforeAfter 19 January
Conversion window (ad set level, used for delivery)Attribution window (account level, used for reporting)Attribution setting (ad set level, used for both delivery and reporting)
1-day clickAny combination of 1-day, 7-day, 28-day click and view windows.(Default: 28-day click and 1-day view)1-day click
7-day clickAny combination of 1-day, 7-day, 28-day click and view windows.(Default: 28-day click and 1-day view)7-day click
1-day click and 1-day viewAny combination of 1-day, 7-day, 28-day click and view windows.(Default: 28-day click and 1-day view)1-day click and 1-day view
7-day click and 1-day view (default for most campaigns)Any combination of 1-day, 7-day, 28-day click and view windows.(Default: 28-day click and 1-day view)7-day click and 1-day view

In summary

Because of Apple beginning to enforce their App Tracking Transparency (ATT) prompt earlier this year, this means on Facebook and Instagram, “app advertisers and advertisers that optimise, target and report on web events, will be affected by limitations on data sharing.” Facebook (which owns Instagram) has merged the account level attribution window and ad set level conversion window into a new ad set level attribution setting which can be accessed during campaign creation, optimisation and delivery. 

Facebook states that this new attribution setting will ensure that the conversions they measure will be the same as the ones that inform campaign optimisation, allowing increased clarity when analysing ad performance. Advertisers can also see which setting their ad results are optimised and reported under, thanks to Facebook introducing a corresponding attribution setting column in a reporting table. Handy! 

So, you see, Facebook is constantly adapting and tweaking to make sure ad sets and businesses can perform better on its platforms. Still, it’s a lot to take in, isn’t it? Feel free to get in touch with our social media agency to have a chat about how best to use these platforms for your digital marketing strategies. 

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