Are Facebook Ads REALLY working for you?

We’re going to show you how to uncover your Facebook Ads performance.

First off, we’re a huge supporter of using Facebook ads for driving revenue for any business.  Whether you’re a retailer selling product in remarketing ads through your Shopify store or generating leads from your website from Facebook ads,  you probably see results, but are you looking deep enough into that performance?

We’re talking about attribution windows.

If you’re not familiar with the attribution settings in Facebook ads then you definitely want to read this.

I find that it is little known by many to what ‘conversions’ Facebook is recording in your performance.  Most have the pixel on their checkout confirmation or thank you page and it’s easy to see X number of purchase events.  Take that number of purchase events and divide your spend across to see how much it cost you per purchase in ad spend.  That gives you a good idea of your profitability from ad spend.  Seems simple enough!  When I say, are you looking deep enough though, I’m talking about the default attribution settings in your Facebook account.

When you setup a Facebook ads account, under your settings there are default attribution windows.

You can find this from Facebook Business Manager in Settings > All Tools > Settings

Step 1: Go to Business Manager Settings

Select ‘All Tools’

Step 2: Select Settings

Select ‘Settings’

Step 3: Select ‘Edit’ in the ‘Attribution’ Section

Edit Attribution

Step 4: Set Conversion Attribution Window

Set Conversion Attribution Window

This is important for a lot of reasons.  For one, you need to have an idea of how long it typically takes for a person to become a customer on your site.  Not all purchase decisions are immediate.  Low cost consumer products are typically short purchase cycles and if you’re targeting is tight then people probably buy on the first visit or within a day or two.  For higher cost products, this purchase cycle might be much longer.  Typically users are researching before they buy and they might click your ad, visit your site and then look around elsewhere before coming back a few times and finally purchasing a week or two later.  That’s essential information for accurate measurement of Facebook ads performance.

I will typically adjust the view through window on ads to get an understanding of how strong my creative is in ads.  Different ads will drive different results.  View through conversions matter, how much they matter is another discussion, but it’s very important to first understand that Facebook is including BOTH click through and view through when reporting your total conversions in ads manager.  The default setting is 1-day view through/28 day click through.  That means if someone sees your ad, but does not click it and then visits your site and buys within 24 hours it will record a conversion OR if someone clicks an ad and purchases within 28 days it will record a conversion.  They are mutually exclusive of each other so you’re not double counting your conversions.

How much credit do you give view through conversions?

Since view through conversions matter, we need to consider them, but these conversions weren’t from a direct action of clicking the ad so are they worth the same as a click through?  I lean on the side of no and I say that because there are so many other factors that can affect a consumer purchase decision between a view and a purchase that if we can’t grab enough attention to warrant a click, but a purchase occurred, we need to be aware that there are other factors and adjust accordingly.  I typically give 60% credit to these view through conversions and if you haven’t been working with these attribution windows then here’s where you’ll learn how to view this data in Facebook ads manager.

We’re going to go to Facebook Ads Manager > Columns > Customize

Step 1: Customize Columns

Customize Columns

Step 2: Compare Attribution Windows

Compare Attribution Windows

Step 3: Adjust Attribution Windows

Adjust Attribution Windows

Step 4: Analyze Your Data

Now you see the cumulative view/click results same as you did before, but you also see them independently.  For retailers this is very important because depending on who you are targeting(retargeting, email list, page fans), you might have a lot of conversions tied up in view through and those customers likely would have purchased anyways.  If they clicked on an ad and purchased, it’s likely you drove the purchase decision from the ad click.  Remember, we’re not saying that view through is worthless, rather we are saying that it needs to be taken in context.  If you find that a lot of your conversions are view through and you’re targeting existing customers then you might want to reduce the credit you give view through.  You might also find that much of your conversion data is from click through.  Depending on the targeting you are using, sometimes it makes sense to extend the view through window. For example, targeting users who don’t know your business and having a long purchase decision could warrant longer windows.

This all helps your business invest in ad spend more strategically because you now have a better view of what’s going on behind the scenes in your results.

In my professional opinion, if you are targeting users who don’t know your business then view through is more valuable than if you were targeting existing customers.  For example, I was working with a large restaurant chain in Columbus, OH and they have low-cost, loyal customer base.  If I run retargeting ads on Facebook in Columbus, OH, I can effectively show ads to most of their existing customer base and I’ll collect a TON of view through conversions because quite a few of those customers were going to buy food regardless.  So we reduced the window of view through and the credit for the through to better understand the return we were driving from existing customers and help us make further progress in profitable Facebook ads campaigns.  Every business is different, but at Flywheel Advertising we get a little closer to your business and purchase paths so we can be a stronger and more effective partner to you.

If you have questions, leave them in the comments below and if you’re interested in a consultation, ads management or even an audit of your existing campaigns reach out to dan@flywheeladvertising.com or fill out the form on the homepage!

Dan Sorenson

CEO & Founder, Flywheeladvertising.com

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