Conversion numbers not matching
If you are running ads on Google or Facebook, you are likely seeing reports that give you a number of ‘Conversions’.
And quite often, the number of Conversions being reported in Google or Facebook Ads is likely quite different than what you see when you run reports based on the data provided by Attributer.
So in this article, I wanted to outline a couple of different reasons why that might be happening.
Reason 1: Different attribution models
Attributer is a first-touch attribution system, which means that it will remember and pass through information from the lead’s first visit to your site.
So for example, if someone first comes to your website from an Organic Search and then 3 days later comes back to your website from a Facebook Ad, Attributer would pass through Organic Search as the Channel.
However, ad platforms like Facebook Ads are much more generous with how they attribute conversions to themselves.
Facebook Ads (for instance) uses a ‘7 day click, 1 day view’ model by default (you can change it in the settings). This essentially means that if a person clicks your ad and converts within 7 days (regardless of whether it was their first touch or last touch) then Facebook will take credit for the conversion.
Furthermore, if someone is shown your ad in Facebook and then converts within a day (even if they don’t click the ad) then Facebook will take credit for that too.
To illustrate how generous this is, consider this example:
- A person originally comes to your website from a Google Ad, reads about your product/service, but leaves without completing a form
- 3 days later they see one of your Facebook Ads (like a retargeting ad) but don’t click it or interact with it in any way
- 1 day later they decide they want your product/service, so they do a Google Search for you, click through to your website and complete your contact form.
In this scenario, Facebook would take credit for the conversion, even though the lead originally found you via your Google Ads and didn’t actually click or interact with your Facebook Ad in any way.
Reason 2: Conversion modelling
Over the years, there have been a number of changes that have made it harder for Facebook (and other social networks) to accurately track how many conversions you actually get.
The most significant of these changes was iOS14, where Apple introduced the ‘Ask App Not to Track’ functionality that forced apps like Facebook to ask permission before they could track users. You’ve probably seen one of these before:
If a person selects the ‘Ask App not to Track’ option then Facebook is unable to track that visitor when they land on your website.
This is a big deal. It is estimated that approximately 90% of people choose the ‘Ask App not to Track’ option and 98.5% of Facebook members use Facebook on their mobile device, which is to say that Facebook cannot actually track whether the vast majority of people who clicked your ad actually converted or not.
In an attempt to get around this, Facebook use ‘conversion modelling’ where they basically say ‘We know 1,000 people clicked your ad. Of the 10% of people we can track, 1% of them converted, therefore your conversion rate is 1%. So if you have 1,000 clicks and a 1% conversion rate, then we think you probably had 10 conversions’. They will then (very confidently) display 10 conversions in your reports, despite this basically just being a guess.
Attributer, on the other hand, is not blocked by things like iOS14 so does not need to use trickery like conversion modelling. If a lead comes through marked as ‘Paid Social’ or ‘Organic Search’ you can be confident that is exactly where that individual lead came from (and it isn’t just a guess based on where 10% of your other leads have come from).
Reason 3: Conversion setup
Technically speaking, a conversion in Facebook Ads (for example) can be anything. Facebook simply gives you a bit of code and tells you to fire it when a conversion happens.
Now if you are trying to track the number of leads you get from your website, you should be firing this bit of code when someone submits a contact form on your website.
However, that doesn’t always get implemented correctly. For example, we’ve seen conversions set up to fire when someone simply visits the contact page (even if they don’t actually submit the form), or when someone has been on your website for more than 2 minutes (even if they just leave and never submit a form).
So it’s always worth checking how the conversion is actually set up in Facebook Ads and on your website, as it could be overcounting (or undercounting) if it’s set up wrong.
To summarise, it is perfectly normal to see a difference between the number of conversions being reported in tools like Facebook Ads and how many you see when you run reports using the data provided by Attributer.
But which number should you use?
That’s a decision you need to make for yourself and for your business, but if I was you, I would use the Attributer data. Here’s why:
- Unlike Facebook Ads (and others) which essentially take credit for any conversion they possibly can, Attributer will give you unbiased information on how a lead first came across your website
- Unlike the ad platforms, Attributer is not blocked from tracking huge portions of your visitors, so we don’t need to use ‘conversion modelling’ and other trickery to guess how many conversions you really had. If a lead comes through marked as ‘Paid Social’ or ‘Paid Search’ by Attributer, you can be confident that is exactly where that specific lead came from
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