The social network deploys tools to clear up the murky attribution challenge.
Earlier this month, Social Media Today reports:
After months of testing, Facebook has launched its new Attribution dashboard, which will enable advertisers to get more in-depth insight into how each element of their Facebook presence is performing, including data on contribution to sales and comparative measurement.
Called simply 'Facebook Attribution', the new tool aims to provide more data to help inform your approach - as explained by Facebook.
Let's acknowledge that attibution has, and remains, one of the biggest challenges in digital marketing today. While everything in digital is conceivably measurable, the exact journey that a customer makes from awareness through consideration and then to purchase has been tricky to nail down. For years, paid search (SEM) has always benefited from the 'last click' phenomena, where sales have been attributed to the paid search listing that a brand may have sponsored. Of course, for years we've known that the last click should not received all of the credit for the sale - that, in fact, the customer journey may have started and been primed by a banner ad, a social media post, a website visit, etc, which eventually led to more direct response listings such as a search ad. That's what attribution is all about - assigning proper value to each step in the customer journey.
Obviously, accurate attribution is a desirable outcome as marketing dollars allocated to each digital channel will follow the proven or assumed results that they drove. If using a 'last click' attribution model, the marketer will likely allocate more dollars to paid search than other channels, even though it's likely that previous channels in the customer journey (or those that are impression-based versus click-based) provided some contribution to the final result.
Facebook Attribution uses the standard events and custom conversions which you may have set up as part of your Facebook ad campaign. Key to this is enabling a Facebook pixel to track key events (such as sales, a lead, a reservation - or whatever you are benchmarking as your key conversion). You can also link app conversions (such as app installs) as well as offline conversions (ie someone buying in your retail stores) as additional conversion events.
Setting up Facebook Attribution begins by logging into your account and configuring the Dashboard, which pulls in Facebook Insights data and links it to the conversion data mentioned above. Once configured, you can then compare data from different campaigns and Facebook elements (paid and organic) from both inside Facebook as well as outside Facebook (including Instagram and the Facebook Audience Network). The dashboard is fairly robust and the data presentment and visualization is fairly easy to analyze. An example image is below:
It's clear that Facebook is rolling out Attribution to better prove social ROI as a key driver of results for marketers. This is similar to what both Google and Amazon have also rolled out.
Two next steps that we would like to see are hopefully on the roadmap for future iterations of Attribution. The first is that the data is for reporting only and doesn't link back to the ad manager bidding and optimization platform. So, once you see one Facebook element you want to adjust based on the Attribution dashboard, you need to go back to Ad Manager and make that adjustment. Linking the two within the Facebook platform would be ideal.
And second, Attribution is focused on Facebook elements, obviously. But full attribution would integrate these elements across all paid/earned/owned channels for a comprehensive look at total attribution. Linking the new Facebook Attribution data into the total picture would give sophisticated marketers and even more powerful tool to manage a brand's entire digital ecosystem.