Facebook Advanced Measurement is the latest update in the platform’s suite of reporting tools aimed at giving advertisers a full picture of their online marketing performance.
Originally released as part of Atlas, a people-based measurement and ad serving company that Facebook acquired in 2013, the tool was available only to Facebook’s largest advertisers until earlier this year.
Now it is being integrated into Business Manager and gradually rolling out to advertisers over the coming months.
We received early access to it as part of a closed test group and we’re sharing an overview, screenshots, and key takeaways that internal marketing teams should know.
Whereas most native advertising platforms give you cookie-based reporting stats for their own traffic, Facebook Advanced Measurement aims to reduce data skepticism by incorporating people-based measurement for all your paid traffic sources.
Essentially it allows you to see how your Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns stack up against AdWords, Bing Ads, and other platforms.
How does it do this? To start, let’s look at marketing attribution:
What is attribution?
We all know that customer journeys don’t typically start and end with a single traffic source and because of this, marketing attribution has grown into a massive industry on it’s own.
According to Forrester, 82% of marketers say they are “constantly searching for new tools to help optimize their cross-device advertising strategies.”
With an increasingly fragmented digital landscape and rising number of paid traffic sources, it’s more difficult than ever to get a complete view of your online marketing performance. Customers don’t always take a single uninterrupted path to conversion. So how do you attribute conversions across multiple devices and traffic sources?
Facebook defines attribution as “the process of assigning credit to touch-points along a consumer’s path to conversion.”
For example, a customer might first see an Instagram video ad on their phone, then later see a Google AdWords remarketing ad on their desktop and convert.
Do you give credit to the original Instagram ad or to the AdWords remarketing ad?
And that’s just looking at two sources. More often than not, the customer journey is longer and more complex than that, making precise attribution nearly impossible to do without sophisticated software.
Facebook Advanced measurement seeks to bring cutting-edge attribution technology to all advertisers to give a clearer picture of what channels drive performance, how they interact, and where you should be putting your marketing dollars.
In Facebook’s own words: “Our measurement tools allow marketers to measure and compare results against a single, unified, people-based standard. This method leads to more accurate results that can easily be tracked across your digital advertising to understand how many people saw and interacted with your ads on or off Facebook.”
At a basic level, Advanced Measurement is made possible because nearly everyone is logged into Facebook on multiple devices – phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops. By using Facebook’s tracking tag (the Facebook Pixel) to measure all of your marketing channels, you’re leveraging first-party data about what devices people used and where they saw your ads along their conversion journey.
The two primary reporting tools in Advanced Measurement are focused on reach and attribution – how many people actually saw your ads (important for brand awareness campaigns) and what advertising channels should get credit for conversions (vital for direct response campaigns).
Now that you know why Advanced Measurement is important, let’s take a look at how to set it up:
How to Set Up Facebook Advanced Measurement
Setting up Advanced Measurement is relatively simple to start and can get as complex as you’d like it to be based on the number of channels you include and the attribution model(s) you choose.
To start, go to Business Manager and select a business account that has access to Advanced Measurement. You’ll know if you have access because you’ll receive an email from Facebook inviting you to try it out. It’s invite-only for now.
From the Business Manager menu, go to All Tools > Advanced Measurement (direct link).
On the main Advanced Measurement page, you’ll see the ad accounts associated with your business and your primary conversion stats for Facebook traffic.
To set up your first platform, simply click “Add Platform” and a light-box will load, guiding you through the setup.
The first step is to opt-in to 3rd party tracking. Facebook will generate a dynamic tag for you to add to your other platform in order to track impressions, clicks, etc for that channel.
Next it gives you two options for installing the tag: Install it yourself or Send to your developer.
If you are relatively savvy and familiar with the other platform (Google AdWords for example), you should have no trouble installing the tag yourself. Facebook gives very detailed instructions for how to set it up. Example below:
The subsequent screen gives you instructions on how to set up automatic imports of your data from AdWords into Advanced Measurement. Again, it sounds complicated on the surface, but Facebook gives you step-by-step instructions with copy/paste scripts to use.
Once you have your platforms and data set up, its time for the fun part – analyzing the data!
To start, take a look at the Conversions tab.
The first section let’s you compare overall conversions and cost-per-conversion between your platforms using 7 different attribution models from simple ‘Last Click’ to more complex positional models.
The next page is called Attribution Model Comparison and it lets you view channels side-by-side with varying attribution models to see how they compare. For example:
Next we have Cross-Device Conversions. This section gives you a visual of how people navigated through their conversion path: Did they go from desktop to mobile? Did they see your ads on desktop AND mobile but convert on desktop? This graph visualizes this data to give you an overview of the paths people take.
Next we have the Attribution Window Comparison page – this shows you data based on several different attribution windows – from 1 day all the way up to 90 days post-impression/click. You can see what percentage of conversions occurred within the various windows and how many touch-points it took before someone converted.
The rest of the tool is focused on analyzing the reach of your campaigns and grouping your campaigns into channels and tactics in order to view conversion stats at a platform-group level. This would be particularly useful for managing budgets where there are multiple conversion goals or unique customer journeys.
All in all, we’re excited about this tool and the overall direction Facebook is going with data analytics. As campaign budgets grow and channels become more complex, it’s important to avoid a myopic view of the metrics. Advertisers need to look at the full picture in order to not only gauge performance, but also to optimize their campaigns toward the conversion paths their customers are most likely to take.
A couple of caveats that we hope will improve over time:
First – While Facebook is advertising this tool as true cross-platform reporting, many popular channels are not yet available. For example, LinkedIn Ads, Pinterest Ads, Snapchat Ads, and Twitter Ads are all currently unsupported. They are listed in the tool, though, so we’re hoping it’s just a matter of time before they are added.
Second – Facebook guides you step-by-step through the setup, but there is still a bit of manual work involved in getting your data into Advanced Measurement. Will this be a deterrent to adoption? We think it likely will be for some, particularly teams that are less savvy or not using an agency like eBoost to manage their campaigns.
Overall, we’re excited to have tools like this at our disposal to continually improve our clients campaigns. Tell us your thoughts, have you tried out Advanced Measurement yet? What insights has it provided?
As we implement this brand new tool into our own client campaigns, we’ll post updates with tips, tricks and advanced strategies for getting the most out of Facebook Advanced Measurement so stay on the lookout for those in future posts!
Chris Root is a co-owner of eBoost Consulting and works out of our Boulder, CO location. He writes primarily about social advertising and gets overly excited when Facebook releases new targeting capabilities.
eBoost Consulting helps funded startups and established companies grow through search and social paid advertising. Since 2005 our team of digital marketing experts has been running highly successful digital marketing campaigns with a focus on innovation, results and customer satisfaction.