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Facebook Attribution

Our ’Spotlight on’ series goes in to depth on the latest developments in digital advertising, to make sure you get the most from your spend. In this post, our Biddable Product Lead, Jonathan D'Souza Rauto, demystifies Facebook's Attribution tool, and how this can benefit advertisers. 


Understanding how to measure performance across all marketing channels in a concise way is a priority for all advertisers. Popular options, such as Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics, give advertisers a simple view on their marketing, however these have always been limited in measuring social channels effectively as they only consider click-based tracking. This is inefficient for advertisers as these click-based models provide an incomplete view on performance, as well as the true path to conversion of a user between channels. 

Facebook, in particular across its spectrum of placements from Instagram to Messenger, can suffer when solely relying on click-based-metrics. But how do advertisers then value a non-click-based event from their Facebook activity?

Enter Facebook Attribution, a solution that has been rolled out into Facebook over the past year. For those familiar with the Atlas product, Facebook’s previous ad server which was shelved in 2017, will see some similarities with this product from an analytics perspective. 


What are the benefits?

  • Pricing - Facebook Attribution is a completely free product, in a similar theme to the free version of Google Analytics.
  • Impression Data - One of the biggest perks of this product is to look at impression-based activity from your Facebook campaigns in tandem across other ad accounts and channels. This is the prime way to see Facebook impression-based data within an attribution model.
  • Channels - Facebook Attribution allows you to integrate different platforms into its system, for a better multi-channel view on your marketing. This includes ad servers like Campaign Manager or Flashtalking to programmatic DSPs such as MediaMath and The Trade Desk.
  • Cross Device - Facebook arguably has the strongest cross-device footprint in the adtech ecosystem, thanks to their people-based approach to measurement. This then allows for further insights within the product to see different paths on a device level.
  • Attribution Models - Much like other analytics tools, there are plenty of attribution models to test, to see what works for your particular brand. There is a data-driven model also possible, but only for Facebook-run activity.


What should advertisers be aware of?

Facebook has a few limitations with their Attribution product, which is important to note prior to using it:

  • Custom Conversions - The Facebook Pixel is core to this product working; However it is aimed at standard events rather than anything custom. We have found workarounds to making things more customised but there are limitations with reporting to be aware of.
  • Reporting - Event level data is limited, with GDPR the final nail in the coffin here which has led to Facebook restricting what data it allows advertisers to report on. General reporting is quite basic compared to other solutions but perhaps this will be addressed with a reporting API to be formally released this year.
  • Platforms - Whilst it is possible to tag your Paid Search and Programmatic activity with this product, certain ones are limited to click only, or nothing at all. 

Unfortunately this last point is a limitation of most digital attribution solutions - no product can keep up with the fast changing digital landscape and every solution will have limitations, it’s just about making sure you are aware of them and putting in processes and roadmaps to address the biggest gaps.

Nevertheless, Facebook Attribution offers additional insight to advertisers who want to understand the true value of their Facebook activity in comparison to other channels, with impression data included. Facebook does not market this product as something to rival the likes of GA360 or Adobe Analytics but merely as an added tool to navigate the complex world of attribution. Considering it is also free to use with a straight-forward onboarding process, it is definitely something we would recommend advertisers to look into.


This article was written by our Biddable Product Lead, Jonathan d'Souza Rauto as part of our Spotlight On series. 


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