Don’t Be Confused About The Conversion Window

By sky - October 9, 2017 9491 Views
conversion window
By sky - October 9, 2017 9492 Views

This is going to be a quick guide to effectively understand the conversion window on Facebook. There is a lot of confusion surrounding this even amongst experienced marketers and media buyers. This is understandable due to the difficult language Facebook can use at times to explain their features. Not all salespeople and marketers are good at the tech side of things and this can cause a huge disconnect and disrupt strategies.

In this article, we will discuss Conversion Windows and how they interact with Attribution Windows and optimization goals.

What Is A Conversion Window

A Conversion Window is a time frame selected by the advertiser to help the Facebook algorithm learn and optimize. The adset learns from the data it receives within that time frame and optimizes your ad delivery to find the best converting people, from the data it gathered.

Adset Level Conversion Window

By now you should be familiar with this UI. It is the delivery section at the adset level on a Facebook ad. The drop-down on the conversion window section above gives you the option to select specific time frames, which are:

  • 1 Day
  • 7 Day

Each of these time frames is further broken down into 2 distinct actions:

  • View Through
  • Click Through

The combination of these 2 parameters gives rise to data attribution. I’ve already covered data attribution in Facebook ads to a certain extent in this article

Data attribution comes in a combination of either Click Through Attribution

  • 1 Day Click
  • 7 Day Click

Or they come as Click & View-Through Attribution

  • 1 Day Click Or 1 Day View
  • 7 Day Click Or 1 Day View

*At this point, it’s important to remember data attribution window is not the same as the attribution window you can select in your ads manager dashboard.
Attribution window is also not the same as Conversion Window. Each of these is distinct with some similarities but each has a different purpose.

What Is An Attribution Window

An Attribution Window, on the other hand, is the length of time through which an action will be tracked and attributed to a particular Ad set.

For example, someone can see your Facebook ad and make the purchase within 24 hours or within 7 days or even after 7 days. However, when your lead does make the purchase, the final event pixel will be attributed to the ad set because the event of purchase was caused directly due to your ad.

Facebook will track a lead for up to 28 days from clicking or viewing your ad and attribute the action to the adset that triggered it.

You can find and select the attribution window from your ads manager dashboard.

Step 1: Open Custom Columns in your Ads Manager Dashboard

opening custom columns for attribution window


Step 2:
Locate Attribution Window Settings

Attribution Window Settings

Step 3: Select A Window Comparison

Attribution Window Comparison


Step 5:
Analyze The Data In Ads Manager Dashboard

Ads Manager Dashboard

*As you can see, the data above is looking back over 7-day view and 7-day click.

Conversion Windows & Optimization

If you take anything away from this article then this section should be it.

Conversion Windows are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for optimizing your adsets. It is the window of opportunity your adset has to utilize an attributed event for further optimization.

In this article, we’ve seen that Facebook has stated that advertisers should be getting 50 of the conversion events it’s optimized for per week to have a chance at optimizing correctly…optimization and conversion windows as closely linked. How? I’ll explain it with 2 examples that should make this a whole lot simpler!

Situation A: 1-Day Conversion Window

Consider you are running a high budget Website Conversion campaign with a Conversion Window of 1-Day, optimized for the Purchase Event. You run it for a week, starting Monday 00:00, and get 50 purchases within that week as follows:

  • Monday – 8 purchases, 23 abandoned carts
  • Tuesday – 3 purchases + 3 cart recoveries, 17 abandoned carts
  • Wednesday – 5 purchases + 6 cart recoveries, 21 abandoned carts
  • Thursday – 6 purchases + 3 cart recoveries, 18 abandoned carts
  • Friday – 5 purchases + 4 cart recoveries, 15 abandoned carts
  • Saturday – 6 purchases + 2 cart recoveries, 19 abandoned carts
  • Sunday – 7 purchases + 2 cart recoveries, 17 abandoned carts

Now, from this above data, we can conclude that the campaign crossed the 50 conversions/week benchmark and actually got 60 within 7 days.

But, when you segment the data you can clearly see that out of the 60 purchases, 20 of them were cart recoveries the following day!

Since we worked with a conversion window of 1-Day, only 40 out of the 60 conversions will count towards optimization. Cart recoveries happened the NEXT day, which is at least 24 hours AFTER the prospect viewed/clicked the ad, placing it outside the 1-Day conversion window.

Whatever conversion window you choose, the conversion MUST happen WITHIN that window for it to count towards optimization.

Or else you might reach 50 conversions for the week but if the conversions fall outside your chosen window then you would have paid $$$ for conversions that won’t optimize your adset i.e deadweight conversions.

Situation B: 7-Day Conversion Window

Let’s go with the same exact data and preparation but with a 7-day conversion window selected.

  • Monday – 8 purchases, 23 abandoned carts
  • Tuesday – 3 purchases + 3 cart recoveries, 17 abandoned carts
  • Wednesday – 5 purchases + 6 cart recoveries, 21 abandoned carts
  • Thursday – 6 purchases + 3 cart recoveries, 18 abandoned carts
  • Friday – 5 purchases + 4 cart recoveries, 15 abandoned carts
  • Saturday – 6 purchases + 2 cart recoveries, 19 abandoned carts
  • Sunday – 7 purchases + 2 cart recoveries, 17 abandoned carts

As we calculated, this adset has a total of 60 conversion events.

This time, however, every single conversion event will count towards optimization since all of them fell within the 7-day window i.e the conversions happened within 7 days of a prospect clicking/viewing the advert.

Conversion Window Facebook
Straight From Facebook

So Remember This: Your adset might get attributed to a conversion event but if that event didn’t occur within the conversion window, then it won’t count towards optimization for that adset.

Why Use 1-Day Windows At All

This is a very relevant question and has no clear answer.

Facebook recommends, and I agree, that using a 7-Day window is better in almost all situations since it gives the adset a longer window to use the events for optimization.

At the end of the day, it’s a strategic debate you need to have with yourself when making a decision. Facebook can only track and attribute causal events, that are events that take place as a result of your ad. It cannot track or attribute coincidental events, which are events that would have taken place with or without your ad anyway.

If your site is getting massive organic traffic and sales daily then you can consider using a 1-Day conversion window to retain clearer data on your ad spend.

I run 7-day windows for all my clients and personal campaigns but at the end of the day its a strategy decision.

Delivery Versus Reporting

Understanding the two parameters of delivery and reporting will solidify your understanding of the windows.

Conversion Windows are based on the delivery system and the Attribution Windows are a reporting parameter.

Reporting parameters allow you to read, analyze and store data. Breaking down the demographics of age, gender and location, as well as cost per actions, are reporting parameters and do not help you optimize your campaigns, but they help you read the data that your campaigns gather. The attribution window is of the same nature. Facebook will track a conversion for up to 28 days from the clicking/viewing of the advert by the lead. You can further break down the 28 days into 1-day, 7-days, and 28-days to better understand when an action took place after the click/view of an advert.

Delivery parameters are systems that analyze incoming data on an ad as well as adset level that help in optimizing the delivery of the ads in real time. You can read these in the reporting section of your ads manager dashboard but their primary function is to drive results and optimize your adsets. Controlling these systems will have a direct impact on your overall campaign. Some delivery parameters are bids, placements, interest targeting and conversion windows.

*Conversion Windows are based on delivery that optimizes your adsets
*Attribution Windows are based on reporting for you to read collected data

Closing Thoughts

Learning about conversion windows isn’t easy. It took me a lot of testing and researching the documentation to understand how it works. The delivery system in itself is a super complicated machine learning based algorithm and Facebook has not been the most vocal about these important details either.

While this has been an introductory course into conversion windows and how it relates to attribution as well as adset optimization, it is by no means a definitive resource.

I have simplified multiple parts and left out others as well. But, this should serve as a solid guideline on helping you decide which window to use while setting up your campaigns as well as to budget accordingly.

You need to use every single feature on Facebook in strategic tandem to produce extraordinary results. It’s all part of a single marketing machine.
And, as always – Test Everything.

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