Facebook made several changes to its attribution window in the past 6 month, as a result of the Apple iOS14 update that has limited Facebook’s ability to track users’ online behavior. Every FB ads agency has been keeping its eye on this one.
Specifically, after the update (called the AppTracking Transparency prompt) Facebook advertisers have a harder time optimizing, targeting, and reporting on web events due to the impact on data sharing. According to Facebook, the account-level attribution window will be replaced by a new attribution setting at the ad set level. (This is accessible under the “Optimization and Delivery” tab.) This change has already rolled out to some accounts.
Facebook has removed the 28-day attribution option and instead, defaulting to 7-day attribution. The initial change was set for October 2020 but later it was rolled out in Q1 of 2021.
Attribution allows us to see the actions a user takes after clicking on an ad and prior to converting. The window of actions we could previously collect data on was 28-days prior to the conversion, but this update minimizes the attribution to a 7-day window.
The 28-day attribution window allowed marketers to view actions a user took 28-days prior to when they converted. The reported data from this
provided a more detailed view of the customer journey and path to conversion.
This update applied across the entire Facebook Ads Platform automatically in Q1 2021. To account for this,we recommend updating any Automated Rules that might conflict in advance.
However, for companies promoting products or services that demand longer lead times — you’ll be seeing a decrease in the number of conversions reported from within the Facebook Ads engine.
It’s important to note that this change will NOT have an impact on the delivery or performance of current and/or future ads across your accounts.
Rather, the number of attribution touch points reported prior to conversions for ads that are currently defaulted to a 28-day attribution model.
While you will still have access to all previous data recorded using the 28-day attribution model after the change has been made, all future attribution data will only be from the seven days prior to a user converting.
Facebook shared in their announcement to advertisers that this change supports ongoing initiatives to:
… LIMIT BUSINESS’S ABILITY TO MEASURE PEOPLE’S INTERACTIONS ACROSS DOMAINS AND DEVICES.
Overall, this aligns with changes Seer has been monitoring related to consumer privacy updates from Safari , Firefox ETP, and potentially even Google Chrome in the near future. These browsers are moving away from third-party cookies stored for two years to first-party cookies and third-party cookies stored for seven days or even as low as only 24 hours in some cases.
Facebook has claimed that this (in addition to their recent CCPA update) is intended to make data management strategies more sustainable and resilient to any and all future privacy updates.
More and more browsers and advertising platforms are making the (right) move to protect user’s privacy — even though these shifts can make targeting/optimizing ads and personalizing site experiences a bit more challenging for us marketers.