Facebook’s Attribution Window is Changing from 28 to 7 Days in 2021

What Happened?

Last month Facebook announced that they will be making changes regarding their attribution window settings. 

💡 Facebook will be removing the 28-day attribution option and instead, defaulting to 7-day attribution. The initial change was set for October 2020 but it has since been pushed to Q1 of 2021.

Attribution allows us to see the actions a user takes after clicking on an ad and prior to converting. The window of actions we could previously collect data on was 28-days prior to the conversion, but this update minimizes the attribution to a 7-day window. 

The 28-day attribution window allowed marketers to view actions a user took 28-days prior to when they converted. The reported data from this provided a more detailed view of the customer journey and path to conversion.

Industry Update

What This Means For You

This update will be applied across the entire Facebook Ads Platform automatically in Q1 2021. To account for this, Seer recommends updating any Automated Rules that might conflict in advance.

We suspect this change will have little impact on conversion actions that don’t require a lot of time for consideration — e.g. form fills, resource downloads, button clicks, etc.

However, for companies promoting products or services that demand longer lead times — you’ll likely see a decrease in the number of conversions reported from within the Facebook Ads engine once this change goes into effect next year.

💡 It’s important to note that this change will NOT have an impact on the delivery or performance of current and/or future ads across your accounts.

Rather, the number of attribution touch points reported prior to conversions for ads that are currently defaulted to a 28-day attribution model.

While you will still have access to all previous data recorded using the 28-day attribution model after the change has been made, all future attribution data will only be from the seven days prior to a user converting.

Why is Facebook Making This Change?

Facebook shared in their announcement to advertisers that this change supports ongoing initiatives to:

… limit business’s ability to measure people’s interactions across domains and devices. 

Overall, this aligns with changes Seer has been monitoring related to consumer privacy updates from Safari (ITP 2.1), Firefox ETPand potentially even Google Chrome in the near future. These browsers are moving away from third-party cookies stored for two years to first-party cookies and third-party cookies stored for seven days or even as low as only 24 hours in some cases.

Facebook has claimed that this (in addition to their recent CCPA update) is intended to make data management strategies more sustainable and resilient to any and all future privacy updates.

More and more browsers and advertising platforms are making the (right) move to protect user’s privacy — even though these shifts can make targeting/optimizing ads and personalizing site experiences a bit more challenging for us marketers. 

What You Can Do Now to Prepare

Download all of your Facebook Ads conversion data beforehand in order to benchmark and document historical trends for the sake of comparison later.

Depending on your industry, you might need to anticipate a drop in reported conversions as the attribution window narrows. So keep a very close eye on your data once the changes have rolled out to determine (and account for) any major impacts on your reporting.

Questions? Concerns? Reach out to us on Twitter (@SeerInteractive) or in the comments below and we’ll do our best to help!

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