Retargeting Attribution | The Truth Behind "Conversions"

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Watching Purchase Conversion Values soar on Facebook retargeting ads can be a great feeling - but it's important to know how they actually break down. Assuming you've got your Facebook pixels set up correctly and you're capturing Purchase events on checkout, your Facebook reports will show results like these:

By default Facebook ties a Purchase back to an ad in one of two scenarios:

  • Purchase occurs 1 day after viewing ad
  • Purchase occurs 28 days after clicking on ad

In the first scenario the user will have seen your ad on Facebook and made a purchase without ever engaging with that ad. In the second scenario the user will have clicked on your Facebook ad and bought something on your store within 28 days.

You can break this down in Facebook and compare the results.

This will show you the results for each in a different column.

Typically, view through conversions tend to account for a significant amount of the conversion results as you can see in the example above. It can be somewhat misleading to analyze the results without assessing performance from each. Click through conversions are obviously a stronger indicator of a customer being influenced by the ad so I tend to care much more about those vs. view throughs.

I run a retargeting app on Shopify called Shoelace and in our reports to customers, we still show these values combined. It's something we think about a lot and feel it's important for people to know the difference. This is why we are working on a release where these results will be more transparent and broken down by default.

So the next time you pop open your reports on Facebook, set these attribution settings as described above to get a better sense of what's going on. For those who are already familiar with this - how do you compare these two? Do you give equal value to the view through conversions when judging the success of your campaigns?

Very interested to hear thoughts on this!

CEO at Shoelace