Two months in, Facebook Attribution gets mixed reviews




  • Some advertisers are gaining valuable insights from the tool since its release in November, but others aren’t as impressed.

    In November, Facebook moved its attribution tool out of beta, making it available to all advertisers. The tool brings marketers on the platform one step closer to capturing an overview of the full customer journey, from the first touch point to conversion. Powered by Facebook pixel, the tool gives advertisers access to reports that include cross-device conversion data, purchases resulting from paid, organic and direct sources, as well as conversion and visit metrics by source.

    Now with more than two months of ad insights available, we asked marketers how they were using Facebook Attribution and if it is impacting their Facebook advertising strategies.

    Cross-channel insights. Andrew Becks, chief consultant for automated social media platform SocialChimp, says he is getting a ton of value from Facebook’s attribution tool, both for SocialChimp’s clients as well as for the company’s own marketing efforts.

    “In one example, we work with real estate agents to better understand and measure the value of social media advertising — including Facebook — by leveraging attribution data to showcase how social interactions can help drive conversions across multiple channels, and how social media users don’t exist in a silo, but instead, are interacting with brands through many different channels,” said Becks.

    He also uses Facebook’s attribution tool as a second source of data to check against attribution data from Google Analytics and other internal marketing and analytics tools.

    Reinforcing the need to look beyond last touch. John Marcinuk, group director of integrated marketing for Blue Fountain Media, says his agency has been refining attribution models for a number of its clients since Facebook launched the tool in beta last year.

    “As marketers, we’re keenly aware that the customer journey isn’t linear, and in the sea of digital noise, we can’t expect our audiences to convert the first time they’re exposed to an ad. Granting full credit to the touch point that makes the sale hasn’t been entirely fair to campaigns that drive awareness,” said Marcinuk, “It’s been a refreshing shift to see advertising platforms like Facebook and Google providing easy access to attribution models that emphasize more than last click.”

    Marcinuk hasn’t noticed any need to revise campaign strategies based upon the insights they’ve gleaned from Facebook’s attribution tool. Instead, by offering a larger imprint of the customer journey, Marcinuk says Facebook’s attribution data reinforces the importance of delivering the right message for the right audience at the right time.

    “Demonstrating the effectiveness of awareness-driving campaigns across longer sales cycles, however, has gone a long way in confirming what we’ve known all along — the last-touch 28-day window will never tell the full story,” said Marcinuk.

    Not everyone is on board. Akvile DeFazio, a Facebook ads expert and president of social media advertising firm AKvertise, says she has used the new tool, but hasn’t found it to be very useful.

    “It presents data in different ways that we already have access to in the ads manager reporting dashboard,” said DeFazio, “In my opinion, Google Analytics presents the data in a much more diverse and effective manner. Though, with last week’s attribution tool update, we are exploring the new features available particularly around UTM and referral data.”

    Nanigans vice president of marketing Ryan Kelly doesn’t know if any of his company’s clients are using the attribution tool from Facebook yet. He sees it as Facebook’s answer to not receiving full credit for a conversion or purchase.

    “They [Facebook] are trying to show the journey of a consumer through every impression on every channel until conversion, almost like a Google Analytics,” said Ryan. He points out that it requires time and effort on the advertiser’s part to get the full value from the tool, “An advertiser would need to set up tags in the tool for every channel they are marketing on, and then have the option to assign value or credit to each touch point.”

    Unparalleled volume of data. Smaller ad teams with limited resources may not have the bandwidth to utilize Facebook’s attribution tool, but marketers managing multi-faceted campaigns could benefit from it, according to WPromote’s Simon Poulton. In his column for Marketing Land last November, Poulton highlighted how Facebook’s attribution tool offers marketers an arguably unparalleled amount of insight because of the volume of marketing data contained within Facebook.

    “Facebook is uniquely positioned to create a unified view of marketing touch points across consumers’ paths to purchase,” writes Poulton, “The cross-device and cross-platform nature of People-Based Marketing puts Facebook in a unique position to create a solution that brings all online marketing touch points together.”


    About The Author

    Amy Gesenhues is Third Door Media’s General Assignment Reporter, covering the latest news and updates for Marketing Land and Search Engine Land. From 2009 to 2012, she was an award-winning syndicated columnist for a number of daily newspapers from New York to Texas. With more than ten years of marketing management experience, she has contributed to a variety of traditional and online publications, including MarketingProfs.com, SoftwareCEO.com, and Sales and Marketing Management Magazine. Read more of Amy’s articles.

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