03 February 2023

The Facebook attribution challenge

The Smith Family, helping Australian children

Case study
Louder had been working with The Smith Family on their digital strategy around the roll out of Google Analytics 4 (GA4) when Erin Anderson, Digital Marketing Manager, surfaced a different challenge the charity was facing.

In summary

  • The Smith Family had been monitoring a gradual decline in their Facebook campaign return on investment (ROI)
  • Attributable conversion numbers took a hit after the Apple’s iOS 14+ update
  • To counteract this, Louder implemented a server-side GTM solution which talks directly to Facebook’s conversions API (CAPI) via GA4.
  • The Smith Family was able to observe an approximately 40% uplift in reportable conversion activity.

Declining Facebook campaign ROI

The Smith Family had been experiencing challenges around measurement and attribution of Facebook campaign activity back to sponsorship activity.

They had been monitoring a slight decline in their Facebook campaign return on investment (ROI) over the last couple of years. But the deterioration of conversion attribution really started to accelerate when Apple released the iOS 14+ update and more specifically with that update the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework in April 2021.

The Smith Family was continuing to invest the same monetary figures into their social media campaigns as before the ATT update, but were no longer able to attribute the same conversion numbers back to these campaigns.

What further compounded the issue and reduced their ROI was the fact that Facebook’s bidding algorithms were seeing less overall conversion signals, this directly impacted the platforms’ ability to effectively target similar audience groups (i.e. those likely to donate), as previously possible before Apple’s privacy changes.

In effect, this gave The Smith Family’s social campaigns a more restricted overall reach. The knock on effect of this limited reach resulted in less actual donation dollars flowing into The Smith Family over time.

Louder’s solution: sGTM, Facebook CAPI and GA4

At Louder, we’ve been exploring the effectiveness of a few different tools to mitigate the effect of these industry-wide measurement changes.

After consulting with the client on a path forward and potential solutions to these measurement challenges, the approach we took was to implement the Facebook conversion API (CAPI) via Google’s server-sider Tag Manager (sGTM).

By utilising sGTM, we’re able to send hashed customer data directly to Facebook in real time, resulting in stronger conversion signals whilst respecting customer privacy.

The outcome

The Smith Family was able to observe an approximately 40% uplift in attributable and reportable conversion activity. This is helping their marketing teams to better refine their social campaign performance and restore ROI.

Need help with Facebook attribution?
Get in touch with the team at Louder to see what solution might work for you business.

Detailed solution
If you’d like a more technically in-depth overview of this solution be sure to check out our article on sending data to Facebook’s Conversions API via sGTM and GA4.

About Gavin Doolan

Gavin Doolan specialises in web analytics technology and integration. In his spare time, he enjoys restoring vintage cars, gardening, spending time with the family and walking his dog, Datsun.