Now is the time to take a look at one of the most frequently asked questions about Facebook advertising: “Why are Facebook Ads different from Google Analytics? The second question after that is “How to measure effectiveness if the results are different?”. Facebook Ads is a platform with different behavioral characteristics, and within it there are many different indicators and metrics that Google Analytics cannot track. Therefore, it will not be entirely correct to determine the effectiveness and results relying mainly on Google Analytics.
What is Facebook attribution window
In order to answer this question, we need to understand the peculiarities of the attribution window and attributive actions (attribution by clicks, attribution by clicks and views) in Facebook when running ads.
Attribution window ー This is the number of days between viewing or clicking on an ad and performing a conversion.
In Facebook Ads, the default is – the attribution window is 28 days after the click and 1 day after viewing the ad.
Conversions and attribution windows
Attribution window 1 day after viewing the ad.
Imagine a situation: a user viewed your ad, then, within 24 hours after viewing, went to your site through a search engine and made a conversion. Google Analytics will undoubtedly count this action as organic, and Facebook will count it as an ad.
This is a feature of the attribution window – 1 day after viewing. Regardless of which channel the conversion was made through, Facebook will assign this result to itself, the main thing is that no more than 1 day has passed after viewing.
Click Attribution = Engagement Clicks
The user “Like” your ad, and a couple of days later made an order on your site through a direct transition. Google Analytics will count this conversion in the Direct channel, and Facebook will count it in favor of its ads.
Why is that? This is because click-through attribution can include engagement clicks that occur when people like, comment, or share an ad. Thus, if someone likes your ad within the click attribution window (28 days after the click), the conversion will go to that ad.
Conversions in reports
The user clicked on the ad on May 6, and the conversion was made on May 11, this conversion will be displayed in reports on the day of the click, that is, May 6.
In Facebook reports, conversions and actions are linked to the date when your ad was clicked or viewed. If it is necessary for conversions to be registered on the day they are made, then this can be done through the Ads Insights API.
When conversion is not taken into account
If a user made a conversion on the site 28 days after clicking on an ad, then Facebook will not count this conversion. This is because this action was performed outside the attribution window (28 days from the moment of the click, and 1 day after viewing).
Comparison of attribution windows
Facebook Ads has a variety of tools and parameters for tracking and comparing metrics. For example, you can compare the attribution window directly in an ad account.
The screenshot below shows an example of how the attribution window compares 28 days post-click vs 28 days post-click and 1 day post-view.
We go to the advertising account ➝ push columns ➝ select “Configure Columns”.
These columns can be viewed at the campaign level, ad group level, and the ads themselves.
Going to the Column Settings, click on “Compare Windows”.
Select the required window for comparison and click “Apply”.
Change attribution window
If you understand what an attribution window is ー 28 days after click, 1 day after viewing ー Doesn’t suit you, you can change it.
We will show you how to do this.
The first step is to enter the Business Manager. Next, go to the menu and select “Advertising Account Settings”, as shown in the screenshot below.
If your interface is different, then you also go to the menu and select “Settings”.
Further, regardless of the interface, the actions are the same.
When you got to the “Settings” page, you need to select an advertising account. To the right of the information about him is information about the attribution window. To change the window, click “Edit”.
When editing the attribution window, you can change both the attributive actions themselves and the time interval (the maximum number of days ー 28).
It is important to remember that you cannot measure the effectiveness of a channel like Facebook through Google Analytics. The reasons are simple:
Actions that are attributed on Facebook (such as ad views, likes, comments, and shares) are not tracked by Google Analytics
Users’ behavior on social media is different from their behavior on other channels. Any interaction with the ad can lead to conversions in the future.
We hope this article will help you understand how Facebook Ads conversion tracking works and why there is a difference between Google Analytics results.