Assessing the Value of View-Through Conversions on Facebook
Published: November 10, 2016
Author: Elise Wang
View-through conversions (VTCs) can be tricky, especially on Facebook where the ad is presented as native content and occupies a substantial amount of users’ News Feeds. For many advertisers, counting VTCs can mean inflating results, but not counting them means not giving full credit to a channel with strong return and thus missing out on growth opportunity.
Understanding the true value of VTCs is important but rarely achieved; in this post, we will talk through key points for understanding VTCs on Facebook.
Facebook View Through Options
Facebook is unique in that it provides view through conversions with three different conversion windows from which advertisers can easily switch back and forth. Facebook’s default attribution window is 1 day view and 28 day click, meaning all click conversions within a 28-day period and view conversions within a 1-day view will be counted by default. Outside of the default conversion window, advertisers can mix and match click-through and view-through window based on their goals and needs.
When to include VTCs
Last click or first click-based attribution often assumes a single path to conversion and ignores the facts that some users can interact with multiple ads, and some don’t even click on ads. Obviously VTCs should never get full credit for a conversion, but how much weight to give their impact is the crux of the issue. Regardless of whether or not a user clicks on the ad, exposure can lead to conversions – after all, TV and billboard ads have been used for decades.
One thing to consider is your creatives and how engaging they are. If you have a Carousel ad or Video ad, they inevitably showcase more product value than a single News Feed banner. A view through from a user who watched your video is going to have more impact than a standard banner. Similarly, Right Hand Column ads on Desktop usually generate a lot of view through conversions, but the ads themselves are a lot smaller than Desktop News Feed ads, so more discount for view through conversions should be taken for RHC ads.
How to establish a proper window
Establishing a proper window depends on the advertisers and the conversion event. If you are measuring an upper funnel event that can happen quickly after clicking on the ad (e.g. signups or app installs), using 1 day view is a good place to start. You might want to adjust the percentage of view through conversions based on organic traffic and spend in other channels. For a down-funnel event, like a purchase, extending the view period to 7 or 28 days will help capture latency. Again, depending on spend in other channels, 7- and 28-day view conversions will need to be adjusted so that we give Facebook proper amount of credit.
How to assess value within channels
Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t factor in view through conversions, so include or excluding view through conversions in the reporting won’t affect campaign performance. Within Facebook, advertisers might also decide to give more credit to view through conversions from a remarketing campaign, since the users are already familiar with the brand. Lastly, regardless of whether or not you report on view through conversions, I encourage all advertisers to look at view through conversions and trends over time; you might find that, for instance, as level of investments on Facebook changes, view through conversion rate changes. This should give you some food for thought on how to invest going forward.