Why Your Facebook Ads May Be Performing Better Than You Think

We often hear that Facebook advertising doesn’t work. There can be several reasons why your ad campaigns may not be performing as you'd expect - audience targeting, landing page, copy, headlines and so on. These are the obvious places to look initially. However, it can also be down to where in the user journey your ads are being clicked. Depending on how you are constructing your campaigns it might be that your Facebook ad is not the last click before conversion. 

Hopefully, you have the Facebook pixel set up and installed on your web site. Whilst it does a great job at tracking Facebook related conversions, it doesn't illustrate how your Facebook campaigns are sitting within your overall marketing output. It also doesn't show the relationships or cross channel user journeys that end in a conversion or ticket purchase.

Google Analytics - Conversion Paths

For this you will need a basic grasp of Google Analytics and have tagged all your marketing campaigns. If you haven't tagged your campaigns you can still get a certain amount of information but it's only going to be at a channel level.

Open up Google Analytics, click conversions > Multi Channel Funnels > Top Conversions Paths. Be sure to select the appropriate conversions you want to look at. You should now be presented with something that looks like this.

The snap shot we have here is taken from March 1st - 8th, 2017. 

You can see the channel breakdowns that have led to a conversion, so paid, social, direct and organic. This in itself can be quite useful if you are only using a single paid channel. If you are using several then you'll need a little more detail.  

Select Source / Medium and you should be presented with something that looks similar to this. These are the conversions that have taken place with 2 or more steps. 

Now you can see how users have interacted with your ad campaigns and how some users have returned through a different channel before converting. We're mostly interested in Facebook for the purposes of this post but you can see that this also applies to Adwords. 

Facebook campaigns are broken down into brand awareness targeting cold traffic, retargeting campaigns as well as targeting a variety of custom audiences and lookalikes. For many of the campaigns users are seeing a brand campaign and then being exposed to a further retargeting campaign before converting. However, what we increasingly see are journeys that move from Facebook / cpc > Direct > Conversion or Facebook / cpc > Organic > Conversion. Longer paths such as Facebook / cpc > Direct > Google Display > Facebook / cpc are also not uncommon. 

At a very basic level, where user journeys start with Facebook / cpc and ends with organic, direct and Google / cpc these last clicks would normally be attributed with the conversion or ticket sale. That said depending on your look back period for your Facebook pixel, the conversion will still register within Facebook conversions. If the look back period for Facebook conversions is set quite high then it could be argued that the last click deserves the attribution more so than the first click. Although this is moving off topic, attribution and how you assign conversion credit is important but, probably deserving of a blog post in itself.

In order to get more detail about the specific campaigns you will need to add a secondary dimension to the report. Select secondary dimension as indicated then add campaign path. This will now provide you with the individual campaign titles. 

As a rule will utilise both the Facebook pixel and Google Analytics to verify campaigns and conversions across your marketing channels. If you don't use Google Analytics we'd recommend installing it on your site and start benefiting from the wealth of data it provides about your campaigns and site visitors.

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