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Facebook Ads Conversion Tracking for Holiday 2021

Published on: December 7 2022 by Paid Media Pros

Facebook Ads Conversion Tracking for Holiday 2021

Facebook Ads Conversion Tracking for Holiday 2021

a few days ago when i was in the
facebook ads manager i saw a
notification for performance tracking
during holiday season and there was a
link there that took me to a post by
facebook that started toking about some
of the different ways that either we as
advertisers or they as facebook can work
to make sure that our performance
tracking is as accurate as possible and
that got me thinking that we are going
into a really important portion of the
year for many businesses some people
have it make or break during holiday
season whether they hit all of their
annual goals or not so today what i want
to do is give a bit of a recap on the
adjustments that have been made for
privacy rules over the course of the
year and tok about how that's impacting
performance tracking on facebook and
then i want to tok about some of the
suggested things that you can do from
the advertiser perspective whether it's
suggested from the paid media pros or
facebook themselves to make sure that
your performance can be tracked as
accurately as possible and then i'm also
going to tok about some of the things
that facebook says that they're working
on to make sure that you can get all the
data in there as well
i want to start by revisiting some of
the adjustments that have been happening
on facebook and give a little bit of a
recap about why we're even doing this
video in the first place why do we even
need to address it i want to start off
by giving a quick recap of how we got
here what is even happening with
facebook conversion tracking to where we
need to make this video it's all a
result of the ios 14.5 updates and its
cascading effects that it's having
across the digital marketing space
basically with ios 14.5 on any of the
platforms you'll be required to ask
users for their permission to track them
across apps and websites owned by other
companies my guess is that the vast
majority of you watching this video have
seen a pop-up quite like this off to the
right where it says allow facebook to
track your activities across other
companies apps and websites in this
instance other companies as the
advertiser would mean your website if
you're running facebook ads and you send
somebody to your website and you want to
be able to track their conversions you
are part of the other company's websites
there were some debates about the
language here that it's not very
friendly to the advertisers and quite
frankly it's not because the only
options you get are ask app not to track
or allow and although it's now october
of 2021 and the latest stat i have is
from july of 2021 only 17 of people had
opted to allow tracking means 83 percent
of people asked the app not to track so
we're effectively losing 83 percent of
the signals for anybody who opted into
ios 14.5 so it's quite a big deal and
this is why we're in this predicament
that we're in now the question is how
does this actually impact your tracking
if people don't opt in effectively all
of your pixel based conversions will be
tracked less and less as time goes on
that means that your optimization events
will be narrowed the attribution windows
on the platform have already been
shortened and the optimization actions
that you can do within the platform
because of the loss of signal on
optimization events pixel conversions
being tracked less but also
some of the breakdowns in the platform
have gone away and we don't have access
to them let's dive into a couple of
those just a little bit more for the
attribution models on facebook we used
to have a tool like this that said that
you could choose different windows to
compare performance and you could change
your default attribution window on your
account at a campaign level and i
believe almost at an ad set level
depending on how you had the account set
up you could view everything from one
day seven day or eight day view
and or click attribution windows and we
had a lot of control here and the
default attribution model for facebook
ads was a 28 day click and a one day
view moving forward because of this
change that click attribution was
shortened by 75 percent the default
attribution is now only a seven-day
click and a one-day view you cannot find
28-day click attribution performance in
the platform anymore unless it's a
legacy campaign and then your data has
not changed as long as it's within the
data window of i want to say the past
three years but moving forward we will
not be able to track any click
conversions past that seven day window
additionally i mentioned the breakdowns
in the platform this used to be one of
my favorite tools of how we would
optimize performance in the platform you
could go in look at your campaign ad set
add creative and analyze all of the
different performance metrics that you
had by each of the different age ranges
genders placement on the platform
geography all sorts of different things
now you'll see that off to the left we
do still have everything that is on
platform meaning link clicks
click-through rate amount spent all of
these metrics that happen only on
facebook we still have all the data
behind that but when it comes to our
conversion tracking in this instance the
columns off to the right leads and
purchases are both tracked by a website
conversion pixel and we still have
insight into the leads and purchase
performance for the campaign but the
breakdowns are now gone so even though
we are seeing performance come through
and it is being tracked we're not able
to break it down in the same way that we
were before so this is a big blow to how
we optimize campaigns moving forward so
the next question is what can we do how
can we get past this right and this is
part of the reason that we wanted to do
this video and that facebook put that
post out is because there are actions
you could take we're doing this under
the guise of wanting to make sure that
everybody's ready for holiday that was
the reason that facebook put this out
that was the language that they used but
these are things you should be doing
whether it's holiday or not to make sure
that your facebook ad campaigns are
tracking performance as accurately as
possible and to make sure that you can
still get value out of the platform
moving forward so the first is that you
need to verify your domain and set up
aggregated events in the facebook
platform this is going to be the
foundation for how you can still utilize
your conversion tracking pixel as
accurately as possible and rather than
spend time on that today we do have a
full video where joe walks you through
how to set up facebook ads aggregated
events as well as verifying your domain
so if you're interested in that you can
check out the video at the top of the
screen right now it'll walk you through
everything start to finish and then
you'll be all set up on that respect the
next thing you can do is set up
conversions api this is going to be a
solution that will almost definitely
require a developer i put the link down
here at the bottom so you can go check
out the directions on how to set up
conversions api but what this does is it
utilizes an integration between facebook
and your server to give data back into
the ad platform back into the facebook
ads system to tell them when somebody
has converted what different actions
they have taken so that you don't need
to be as reliant on the facebook pixel
and the web browser and hoping that the
cookies have been tracked all the way
through this is not a solution for the
faint of heart this is a bit more
tiknical again you'll need a developer
for it but if you can this would be a
great way to help augment the conversion
tracking in your facebook ads account
aside from the tiknical aspects there
are some other things you can do that
are a bit more of an admin perspective
one that i think is very important that
also gets overlooked quite a bit is to
establish your performance benchmarks in
the table off to the left we have
performance that was tracked by facebook
and google analytiks over the course of
the first seven months of the year
basically and broken down by different
weeks so the purchases column are the
purchases as tracked by the facebook ads
platform the ga number purchases column
is the google analytiks purchase column
and then the percentage column is
effectively google analytiks purchases
divided by facebook purchases and then
the green line here that you see on
april 25th is the week that this account
that facebook ios 14.5 rolled out and
that we started seeing those on our own
phones in person so to set up any type
of benchmarks in this example obviously
i've used google analytiks but you can
use your own crm your own e-commerce
platform whatever it is but make sure
that you have something that has been
tracking facebook performance for quite
a while that will still be tracking it
moving forward so that you can compare
the number of purchases you're seeing in
that system versus facebook because the
expected outcome is that facebook is
effectively losing visibility but it
doesn't mean that you're losing the
sales we're just losing the ability to
attribute them to performance and i do
want to put a visual to the data table
that we have here to kind of show you
exactly that metric here although it's a
little bit blurry the green trending
line is the number of google analytiks
purchases the red line is the percentage
of google analytiks purchases to
facebook purchases and the green line
that goes right up and down is basically
just to demark where the ios 14.5
rollout was as you can see here the
number of google analytiks purchases is
relatively stable that green line does
have a couple of spikes it comes back
down but overall it averages around that
150 mark but the percentage trend line
as you can see here is different the
axis for that one is off to the right
and before the 14.5 rollout it was
anywhere between about 40 and 60 percent
and once we hit april 25th when 14.5
started to roll out now we've jumped up
to 60 and we have multiple different
weeks of up over 100 well into the 80s
it's clear that things have changed but
the number of google analytiks purchases
tracked is important because that has
not changed which means that your
overall sales for this account have not
changed but facebook's visibility has so
the good news is that you're still
getting sales the bad news is that
facebook can't see them so now we have
to start thinking about how we optimize
our facebook account with less and less
data which if you've paid attention to a
lot of videos on this channel you know
that the more data you have the better
you're going to be able to do things how
can we accommodate our management style
for lower data points if you're one of
the fortunate people to have enough
volume flowing through your campaigns
you likely don't need to make big
adjustments just yet aside from your
expectations so this specific ad set
that we're looking at the lookalike
leads event one percent this has been
trending over the course of january into
july and you can see the performance
stats off to the right and you can see
in april we start having the dotted
lines underneath the leads and cost per
conversion columns because those metrics
are now starting to be augmented by
facebook's machine learning for
conversion tracking over the course of
the year this ad set has done really
well from having like an 18
cost per lead but now it's down into
about 43
so it's getting worse and worse as time
goes on but there's still a decent
amount of volume in this specific ad set
that we might not need to take big
action so if you have lots of conversion
performance and you're still meeting the
minimums to get out of the learning
phase you likely don't need to take
larger action aside from saying okay
we're used to a sub 20 cost per lead now
we have to get used to a 43 cost per
lead you might need to augment what your
expectations are on that respect but
otherwise you're probably good if you've
got enough conversion volume coming
through if you don't we're going to need
to start to think about things a little
bit more critikally the account that
we've been using here is optimizing for
a purchase event but if you've gone
through and verified your domain and set
up your aggregated events management you
can then start to utilize your other
optimization actions as long as they are
part of that aggregate event set we
might need to shift from purchase up to
search or initiate checkout or add to
cart because those have enough volume
that facebook can optimize for them now
this isn't a perfect science just
because somebody adds to cart doesn't
mean they're going to purchase just
because somebody will add something to a
cart doesn't mean they're going to
purchase but it also could still be a
better outcome than having you optimized
for purchase and not have enough volume
to see good results this might be a
scenario where it makes sense to utilize
facebook campaign experiments to test if
the add to cart or purchase optimization
action works best for you now getting
into some of the suggestions from
facebook they want you to be patient
with your optimizations allow time
before you analyze performance because
of the nuances and delayed data and the
modeling of reporting that they're using
they suggest that you wait 72 hours or
the full length of the learning phase to
close before you evaluate and optimize
performance on conversion optimize
campaigns you can still review on a
daily basis but it might make sense for
you to wait a little bit longer to make
sure that the data has solidified and is
actually accurate before moving forward
so thinking about this from a holiday
campaign management perspective just
because yesterday's stats don't look
like what you wanted them to that
doesn't mean that as time goes on they
won't get better ideally if you can wait
until that seven day learning phase is
closed before you make adjustments but
facebook suggests at least 72 hours so
three days before you optimize and
adjust based on the performance that
you're seeing for the similar reason of
aggregated and estimated conversion
performance facebook suggests that you
analyze the campaign level not the
creative i think that this suggestion is
probably meant from a good place but it
feels nearly impossible if you see a
creative that's not performing well
probably makes sense to not let it keep
running but this is a suggestion that
facebook has i don't know if i can
totally co-sign on it but as you're
reviewing your campaigns make sure that
you're taking into account maybe a
little bit more weight to the campaign
and ad set level and the ad level and
the creative level maybe don't be as
harsh on it because facebook says that
it might not be as accurate seems tough
i'm personally going to have a hard time
getting over this but this is an
official suggestion from facebook so
take it as you will respect the learning
phase this has always been true it's
only more true now the goal is to get
out of the learning phase as soon as you
can by having enough conversion volume
coming through on facebook for it to
optimize and feel settled and so it can
go after those actions for you there are
a few ways that facebook suggests that
you do this you can either make sure
that you have enough volume coming
through you can consolidate ad sets
which we'll tok about here in a second
but the idea is that if you are in the
learning phase maybe don't go making a
bunch of other changes because you're
only going to reset that phase and make
it harder for facebook to learn and
adapt so i mentioned combining ad sets
and basically what we're trying to do
here in the same way that we need to
make sure that we choose a conversion
action that has enough volume we're
trying to make sure that our budget is
consolidated enough trying to make sure
that our audience is consolidated enough
so that facebook can make the right
decisions and get out of that learning
phase the first suggestion is that if
you have campaigns for example targeted
to only men and some targeted to only
women as long as the creative is the
same they suggest that you combine those
into one target set so that it can use
the budget more efficiently across those
two audiences
the example of targeting men and women
is very very basic but if you're
thinking about different interest
targets if you're thinking about
different behaviors having different
look-alike audiences in my example i
personally have started grouping all of
my look-alike audiences into one ad set
rather than having each look-alike
audience in multiple ad sets because
it's only segmenting the budget further
being a little bit more controlling and
i'm seeing better results from what i've
been calling a super look-alike audience
where all of them are together so think
about ways that you can combine your
audience if you're using the same
creative to a point where you're not
losing insights on the audience that are
so integral that you would sacrifice
performance and then the next point is
basically reiterating the whole thing
make sure that you have enough budget a
large enough audience and enough
conversion volume coming through in a
single ad set to get out of the learning
phase as soon as possible this could be
a time of year where we sacrifice the
die hard marketer in us that wants to
know how each individual creative works
for every audience and has a very
controlled budget we might need to start
combining those together to see better
results from the facebook ads platform
this year but it's not all on us and
they understand that facebook is working
to help a little bit so here are the
things that facebook is working on
they're trying to improve the conversion
modeling so they've put in more time and
resources to increase the conversion
reporting accuracy honestly sounds great
it also is just in their best interest
if you're not seeing good results you're
not going to keep putting ad dollars
into facebook it's not like this is
going above and beyond but they at least
are doing it since july of 2021 they've
expanded their conversion modeling
capabilities for the default attribution
of seven day click and they've been
improving the one day click attribution
even further than it already had been
and then in september of 2021 they
expanded modeled reporting for website
purchase conversion value so your return
on ad spend from your website purchases
could be improved over the next few
months which again going into holiday is
very critikal to a number of different
businesses to make sure you're seeing
the performance that you need to out of
the campaigns they're also accelerating
investments on the app tracking side so
they are trying to work to make sure
that you're seeing better performance
coming from your view through
attribution for app events and making
view through attribution for default web
events a little bit better as well
they're also working on tracking web
conversions for people who don't own the
top level website that they work on so
marketplaces where multiple small
businesses can sell goods under the same
web domain so in this instance i'm
thinking things like etsy are probably
the right type of things that they're
trying to figure out here they're trying
to work on making that a little bit more
accurate as well because those users
don't really have the ability to put a
facebook pixel on those platforms lastly
they're working on extending the ability
to measure in-app conversions that scan
cannot track so basically they're trying
to get conversion measurement in apps
that have already been installed and
they've been working to discover bugs in
this example they tok about the scan
network and how it was under reporting
by about 10 percent but they are trying
to improve that and they're trying to do
that across all the different platforms
to be honest so they're working on
making everything as accurate as
possible we're not going to get all of
the nitty gritty details but just know
that facebook is working on it which
again it's not always that you can trust
an ad platform to work in your best
interest but in this instance it's in
facebook's best interest to work on your
best interest they are going to do
everything they can to make sure that
the conversion tracking is as accurate
as possible and is counting as much
attribution back to their campaigns as
they can otherwise you as an advertiser
will not invest in the platform anymore
so in this instance we are aligned
facebook does want to track all of the
performance just in the same way you
want to so this is one that i feel a
little bit better can sleep a little bit
better at night that facebook is trying
to do what we want and what we need from
them so as a quick wrap up to this
entire video facebook conversion
tracking is only going to get more
difficult in this holiday season
unfortunately it's been getting
difficult as the year goes on and it's
not going to be a lot better in this
holiday season unless you start to take
action and facebook makes some good
advances so you do need to be ready for
that but they are working on their side
of it they're trying to make sure that
facebook can track as many conversions
as possible across as many platforms as
possible but you also have to do your
job verify your domain and get your
aggregated events set up and if you can
set up conversion api all the better to
you i absolutely encourage it make sure
that you're setting other benchmarks
from other platforms and you're
utilizing other forms of tracking
whether it's utm tracking something
along those lines definitely need to
make sure that you have multiple
different ways to try and attribute back
to facebook or any other platform for
that matter during the holiday season
lastly make sure that you adjust your
campaign goals and management style
accurately for this holiday season we
need to optimize for a goal that has
enough volume coming through and we also
need to make sure that we don't go too
crazy on all of the changes because the
learning phase is going to get more
disrupted and with conversion modeling
it's going to be a little bit more
difficult that also means that in some
other areas you might need to be patient
to let data settle and come in and see
how accurate it's going to be before you
make adjustments now i know this is
going to be very difficult for short run
promotional things like in the u.s we've
got black friday on friday and then
cyber monday on monday between those two
things there's only four days aggregate
that we have to optimize that's probably
not going to get out of the learning
phase it's going to be a little bit of a
battle of wills of do you give it a
little bit of time to rest before you
optimize do you make changes real time i
would encourage you to at least be a
little bit more patient than maybe you
normally would be in years past and try
and see if you can get a little bit more
data through before you make a decision
on how to adjust campaigns overall this
holiday season is going to be very
impactful on a lot of businesses just in
the way it always is every single year
the only problem is it's gotten a little
bit more difficult for us advertisers to
see and attribute performance back to
the facebook ads platform so although
there's no perfect scientific method for
overcoming these hurdles and seeing
great results i wish all of you the best
of luck hopefully everything goes well
and make sure that you've done your part
ahead of time to try and attribute
performance back to facebook as well as
you can if you've heard of any other
specific strategies for facebook for the
holiday season coming up or if you have
any additional questions that we didn't
address in this video we'd love to hear
from you in the comments thanks for
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