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Why Facebook Attribution May Not Be Accurate

Attributing the right ads for clicks and conversions is essential to optimize marketing campaigns and increase revenue. The trouble lies in getting attribution right. 

Most marketers use Facebook’s machine-learning algorithms for ad event tracking and data collection. The problem is that Facebook’s ad reports are not always accurate. Facebook’s AI and human errors can cause errors in ad campaign reports. Also, the iOS 14.5 App Tracking Transparency update makes it nearly impossible for advertisers to optimize their campaigns. 

This article explains how Facebook attribution can be inaccurate and suggests a trusted alternative.

Facebook’s Ad Data Modeling

Before the iOS 14.5 update, Facebook only used a tracking pixel to monitor ad conversion events. Simply by installing the Facebook pixel, Facebook advertisers received insights into how customers began their first connection with your brand, their purchasing journeys, and which ad ultimately led to conversion. 

Following the data privacy update, Facebook lost access to a ton of ad data and pixel tracking. 84% of iOS users opted out of app tracking in 2021, with the percentage slightly reduced to 75% in 2022. 

As a result, Facebook could only use the last-click attribution model for iOS users. To make up for the data loss, Facebook implemented a probabilistic attribution data model to compensate.

Facebook gathers ad data from iOS and non-iOS devices, then models data using the probability of what might have happened. Therefore, marketers get an average probable model of a customer’s journey. 

Plus, it now takes 2 to 3 days to get all ad data after running a campaign.

Why Facebook Attribution Can Be Wrong: Common Mistakes Marketers Make

Apart from Facebook’s probabilistic attribution model, things can go wrong when setting up attribution. The following common mistakes may render Facebook attribution data inaccurate:

  1. The base pixel isn’t installed correctly

Facebook’s base pixel must be installed on every web page to retarget visitors. Ad reports are inaccurate when you don’t install the base pixel correctly. Sometimes, you don’t get any reports at all. Installing the base pixel requires copying and pasting it between the head tags of every HTML file.

Some websites have to integrate Google Tag Manager to track ad events effectively. 

Advertisers should continuously check event tracking to spot breaks in tracking early. You can use the troubleshooter to check if you have any base pixel issues. 

  1. The wrong pixel events and custom conversions are set

While setting up Ads Manager, you must select which events are to be counted. Facebook counts them as purchase, view, or check-out events when they occur. 

Many advertisers make the mistake of tracking or tagging the purchase button. By doing so, Facebook counts every button click as a purchase, including failed transactions and cancellations. 

When creating custom conversions, ensure you properly define ad events to avoid overcounting or undercounting. Also, track pages instead of buttons. For instance, a complete purchase is validated on the Thank You page. 

  1. The wrong attribution window is set

The default attribution window for Facebook is 7-day click 1-day view. It means the ad platform tracks and reports for clicks within the last 7 days (including purchases) and views within 1 day.

If customers convert outside the attribution window, like many tend to, they will not be counted as a conversion.

Plus, if you set multiple attribution windows for the same product, you will get incomplete data from Facebook Business Manager.

Use AdBeacon to Generate Accurate Attribution Data

AdBeacon was developed by experienced marketers who know all the problems created by using third-party data collectors like Facebook. The tool is the go-to option for generating first-party data from your Facebook campaigns. Here are all the ways that AdBeacon is superior to Facebook attribution. 

  1. Facebook vs. AdBeacon attribution model

Facebook uses probabilistic modeling, which generates data based on averages acquired from both iOS and non-iOS devices. The problem with this approach is obvious—you get data that has limitations or inaccuracies, which leads to spending money on the wrong campaigns.

On the other hand, AdBeacon tracks real-time first-party data so that advertisers can make agile decisions in their campaigns. 

AdBeacon collects data into your dashboard when customers make purchases. Unlike Facebook, there are no delayed reporting periods, you get the actual data, and you can watch your marketing strategies drive conversions in real time.

  1. A user-defined lookback window

Facebook’s default attribution window is a 7-day click 1-day view—which is now also the limit. Before the iOS update, it had a 28-day click 7-day view. This is a significant change for business owners and advertisers as lead times for specific products and services need a longer attribution window.

AdBeacon offers you a lookback window for as long as you have history. Having a longer lookback window allows you to accurately review data if your product/service has a longer customer journey to purchase.

  1. Entire customer journeys

AdBeacon can track customer journeys from the first touchpoint to the conversion point and generate an entire customer journey report. It uses multipoint and linear attribution models. Facebook fails in this regard because it has to rely on probability and last-click attribution models.

AdBeacon was developed in the wake of the iOS 14 update and takes the guesswork out of conversion attribution using real-time, multipoint attribution modeling. You get accurate firsthand data that goes back for as long as you have history. 

Sign up to try AdBeacon free for 14 days.