Big Changes Afoot for Facebook Measurement

The world of digital measurement is a difficult one to traverse once you scratch under the surface. Small websites and SMEs can happily install Google Analytics and consider it a source of truth for their online activity. But as businesses grow and their digital needs become more complex, so does the world of analytics and performance reporting.

And if we ignore different measurement methodologies for a while, one of the biggest challenges business face is different platforms measuring in different ways. So when one of the biggest changes its method, then it can seriously impact your numbers. And if you are a heavy Facebook advertiser you are going to have to strap yourself in for a bit of a rocky ride in the next few months.

Facebook Measurement Changes August 2020

First off, you may have already noticed some changes. Did you notice the performance figures in Facebook took a little positive jump in August? Sorry to break it to you but it wasn’t that new ad you started running, or the new audience you created.

Facebook decided it was going to reduce the amount of duplicate events it would allow itself to claim. Prior to August 7th, if a duplicate event for the same user was triggered in a 24 hour window then Facebook (rightly) only claimed it once. But on the 7th August they changed this window to 3 hours. So if the same individual triggered an event more than 3 hours apart, they claimed it twice.

Further Facebook Measurement Changes October 2020

But if your Facebook sales went up in August then you might find they are about to come back down again. From 12th October Facebook is going to be limiting their maximum look back window to 7 days. Currently the default settings for Facebook attribution are 1 day post impression, and 28 days post click. So even on the default last touch attribution model advertisers will be losing 21 days worth of post click sales.

How Much of an Impact Will This Have?

as with all of these things it is very difficult to say unless you already have comparative data to call upon. Your Facebook post click all of a sudden will now become a lot closer to your Facebook data in Google Analytics, which you could say is a good thing. But the extent of the impact will really come down to the individual advertiser. Here are some thoughts and considerations:

  • It will impact larger advertisers more: More sales = more impact. And on top of this the more channels you run which could be contributing to your Facebook performance, the greater the attribution difference there could be.
  • Considered purchases will be more affected: Expensive items or those with a longer consideration phase will be more affected than impulse purchases. If the consideration phase is longer than 7 days, this is a bit of an issue.
  • Less explaining differences: As mentioned above this brings Facebook more inline with Google Analytics, so the constant explaining of the differences to your boss or your clients hopefully becomes less of a thing.

If you want to know how much it could affect your numbers then there is a way of comparing the different windows in the Facebook Ads reporting section as outlined in this Search Engine Journal article.

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