I find one of the lesser-known features within Facebook’s Ad Manager reporting is the ability to see conversion window timeframes; and that’s a shame, because understanding how long it takes for someone to convert after interacting with your ads is incredibly valuable. Particularly when it comes to segmenting your remarketing lists. But, before we get into that, a bit about conversion windows in Facebook.

Understanding Default Attribution Settings in Facebook

Facebook, by default, uses a 1-day view and 28-day click attribution setting. What that means is that is someone goes on to your desired conversion within either 1 day of viewing your ad, or within 28 days of clicking on your ad, that ad will be credited with the conversion.

Image credit: Facebook

You can change these default settings, if you want (just head to “Settings”, click “Edit” under “Attribution”, and then select your preferred View and Click windows).

Comparing Conversion Windows For Your Ads

Right, now that we know more about the default settings, let’s jump into some of the cooler stuff. Facebook’s Ad Manager allows you to breakdown conversion windows into 1, 7 and 28 day periods.

Why would you want to see this kind of data? Well, for a number of reasons… but primarily, understanding how customers interact with your creative (and how long it then takes them to go on to convert) could influence your creative layering/sequencing. And, on a more practical level, if conversion windows show that most customers convert in the 7-28 day window, but you’re only running test ads for 4 or 5 days before deciding they don’t work, you’re not seeing the actual effectiveness of your ads. If you make the call after 5 days that the ads just aren’t working, you might stop serving the ads and miss out on tons of sales!

So, it’s a pretty important part of your marketing efforts that you need to get a handle on.

Now… how can you see it?

  1. Go to Ads Manager.
  2. Click Campaigns, Ad Sets or Ads depending on what you want to update.
  3. Click the Columns drop-down menu.
  4. Select Customize Columns from the drop-down menu.
  5. Click Comparing Windows.

Et voila… you should now see something that looks like the below:

Ok, I get that this can help me understand how people interact with my ads, but can you give me a concrete example of using this data?

Sure. For some concrete examples, let’s look at how you might use this in your remarketing efforts.

The below screenshot shows an example campaign where 99% of all conversions happened within 1 day of the click (and, in fact, the other 1% of conversions happened within a 7 day window, with no other conversions happening in the 7-28 day window).

This could tell us that running remarketing activity for this campaign in an attempt to drive conversion for 30 days may not make sense, and it could be a complete waste of money for all the extra impressions the days outside of that prime conversion window will cost you.

In another example, you may see instances where ads are converting more highly in the 14-28 day window… perhaps this might be a higher-value purchase conversion that requires more consideration and research. If you observe this, then you might want to let it influence your creative message sequencing.

Back in 2014, Facebook released a study that showed that “campaigns that tell a brand story before asking people to buy something are significantly more effective than ones that focus immediately on encouraging people to take an action”.

Now, I take that with a grain of salt. For example, in the campaign above, we saw the majority of people were converting within the first day of clicking on our ad, and that creative was very much using a “salesy” CTA.

But in the case where you can see your customers are taking longer to purchase, I’ve observed quite often that taking this “storytelling” approach and opening with “softer sell” creative may influence on your conversion rates later on in the 14-28 day window. For example, a sequence going from serving a “blog post” creative, followed by a “guide to…” creative, finally rounded out by a “buy now” creative may convert more highly in that final timeframe, rather than having served multiple “buy now” creatives for the full 28 days.

Neither approach is wrong or right; it’s simply tailored to the conversion windows you observe of your audience.

Where this can get extra-interesting is where you segment your conversion windows by things such as demographics or specific audiences; with this you can even gain insights into which audiences convert quicker than others, and plan your flighting accordingly.

Last Bit of Advice

One last bit of advice to you on putting this data into practise: let’s say you’ve identified sequencing that will target people at the 3, 7 and 14 day window. In terms of your remarketing pools, be sure to exclude people from the time frame above them; for example, the “7 day” remarketing pool should not include people within the 3 day… likewise, the “14 day” pool should only include people from day 8 onwards. Without doing this, your creative sequencing will be completely redundant.

 

Have you used the conversion-window insights to drive some new thinking in your campaigns? Would love to hear about it if so in the comments below!

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