Facebook Ads is Removing Its 28-Day Attribution Model


According to Facebook’s official announcement sent directly to advertisers, Facebook Ads has removed its 28-day attribution option on October 12th, 2020.

Their statement reads: “Upcoming digital privacy initiatives affecting multiple browsers are expected to limit businesses’ ability to measure people’s interactions across domains and devices. This includes limiting the ability for businesses to attribute conversion events back to an ad over various attribution windows.”

This means that advertisers will no longer be able to track campaigns’ direct actions over a longer period. The default setting on accounts going forward will be a seven-day attribution.

Let’s take a closer look at what this means, how it will impact your marketing campaigns on Facebook, and what you can do to adapt.

How Does Attribution Models Work?

Attribution models determine how credit is given to touch points for a conversion.

Facebook’s Help Centre explains: “By default, Facebook Attribution selects a last touch model with a 1-day impression and 28-day click window. For example, if you were to select purchase as your conversion, and apply this default attribution model and attribution window, your reporting will reflect purchases that can be attributed by Facebook to the last ad click that happened within 28 days prior to purchase or the last ad impression that occurred within 1 day of purchase, whichever happened last.”

Going forward, this capacity will be limited. Instead of the standard 28-day window, advertisers will be limited to a seven-day overview of direct response performance.

Who Will it Affect?

The change will likely only impact advanced Facebook marketers, as well as those operating large scale campaigns, while automated systems that determine Facebook ad spend based on specified events will also be affected.

What Should Advertisers Do?

Advertisers should update any automated rules that rely on the 28-day attribution model. Especially for rules regulating spend and budget based on 28-day performance. Since October 12th the rule has been reverting to the seven-day model, which could impact spending.

Why the Change?

It’s not clear from Facebook’s announcement why they are changing their attribution window, but it seems as though they expect that collecting and reporting on this information will become increasingly difficult due to future “digital privacy initiatives affecting multiple browsers.”

Their statement suggests that they believe a seven-day attribution window is safe, whereas any longer window may soon lack dependability — if it’s available at all. They describe the change as “a more sustainable measurement strategy that will be more resilient to future browser changes”. It’s likely that their statement is referencing Chrome’s intention to eliminate third-party cookies in the next two years.

How Will This Change Impact Your Advertising?

It depends.

Facebook suggests that, “… you may see fewer reported conversions with a seven-day window compared to a 28-day window”.

When it comes to determining the success or failure of your ads, the new attribution window could be bad. However, the level of the impact on your reporting will depend upon the length of the customer journey, as well as how you advertise.

For example, if you typically have impulse buys or low-priced products where the sale or conversion happens quickly, you can expect very little change in conversion reporting. On the other hand, higher-priced items that may take longer for a customer to convert from initial click to purchase could result in a skewing of data.

Will it Impact Delivery or Performance?

Consent lies at the very heart of the most important data privacy law in the world, the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and many other places around the world are following suit, like Brazil’s LGPD, Thailand’s PDPA, Singapore’s PDPA and South Africa’s POPIA.

The power to say “yes” or “no” to strangers who want to collect your personal data remains pivotal, which is why consent is poised to be more important than ever, integrating even closer and more seamlessly with the tracking technologies of tomorrow and the ad-tech industry itself.

In fact, consent is becoming so important that Google has taken a decisive turn with the launch of Google Consent Mode in September 2020. It enables websites to run all Google-services based on end-user consent.

Taking Advantage of First-Party Data

Facebook has reassured its advertisers: “Note that this change has no impact on delivery or performance of your ads.”

In terms of impact on delivery and performance, it’s necessary to distinguish between Facebook’s attribution window and conversion window. The attribution window is how Facebook reports on conversions; the conversion window is how Facebook optimises your ads.

Facebook is eliminating the 28-day attribution window, which wouldn’t necessarily impact the conversion window, which already falls within a maximum of seven days. This means that the performance of your Facebook ads will be unaffected.

What Happens to Historical Data?

All historical data has been available up until October 12th, 2020. Any relevant data tied to the 28-day attribution model that wasn’t downloaded prior to that date will be lost.

Need Advice and Guidance in Your Facebook Marketing?

Signifi Media has a team of social media marketing experts that will take your Facebook marketing to the next level. Contact us to take advantage of our extensive knowledge of optimisation and performance of social media advertising campaigns.