Facebook Backtracks On Attribution Window Change

October 21, 2020
Posted in Paid Social
October 21, 2020 Sara Stuart

Facebook Backtracks On Attribution Window Change

In September Facebook made an announcement that left marketers scrambling. Facebook announced, privately, and only to select advertising partners, that they would be replacing their standard 28-day click 1-day view attribution window. Although this announcement was made behind the scenes, word quickly leaked across the advertising world, leaving Facebook and Instagram marketers shocked, confused, and curious. While many marketers customize the attribution windows for their clients depending on the type of business the client engages in, the gold standard for paid social, and the default for Facebook, has been the 28-day click/1-day view window.

So if the standard attribution window was out the door, what was the replacement plan? Facebook originally announced that the 28-day click 1-day view attribution window would be sunsetted beginning October 12th and a 7-day click 1-day view model would be the replacement. With the announcement breaking in late September, this only gave marketers a few weeks to shift gears and prepare. Facebook stated that their attribution window change was due to website data collection policies. But this new attribution window plan didn’t stick for long.

Early October, another private announcement was made: there would be no changes to the attribution model. Facebook officially backtracked, citing advertiser concerns as the reason for the pause. Yep, you read that right: pause. Although the attribution window change was no longer planned for roll out mid-October, Facebook did mention that they are likely rolling it out in Q1 of 2021, giving advertisers until after the holiday shopping season to adjust to the change.
The question on most marketers’ minds, though, is if Facebook will actually move forward with the change. Facebook is notorious for making announcements about large changes and then backtracking (similar to what we saw with their Campaign Budget Optimization change announcement, which would have forced all new campaigns to use CBO but was later left as an option as opposed to a mandatory requirement). Since CCPA and other US-based data and privacy laws are being enacted and enforced, the attribution window change is likely to happen, unlike some of Facebook’s other announced changes. Although Facebook does have a history of backtracking, the attribution window change is likely to stick, but no one is quite sure if the Q1 of 2021 timeframe will be the rollout window.

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