Facebook Ads Discrepancies Due to Conversion Windows

One of the most common reasons for data discrepancies in Facebook Ads is due to a mis-match in the conversion/attribution window settings being used for the query. If the setting for the query does not match the attribution window being shown in Facebook Ad Manager, the conversions and related values will not align.

Regarding Apple iOS 14 Changes to Attribution

IMPORTANT - As of April 26th, 2021, Facebook has made several changes to the attribution system in preparation for the Apple iOS 14 requirements. The biggest changes are the attribution windows will default to 7-day click in the Facebook Ad manager, and will be set for new campaigns at the ad set level rather than the account level. This may change the behavior of attribution window feature, especially if you are mixing both old and new campaigns. 

When the AppTrackingTransparency (ATT) prompt goes live, additional changes will take affect that will change or remove options from the attribution settings. For more details, see What You Need to Know for the Facebook Ads iOS 14 Changes.

We will be making adjustments and adding features and fields as necessary to make sure you can get the right attribution data from the connector. This article will be updated to reflect changes and new information to help troubleshoot issues that arise from update.

Checking Report time of Action Stats

Now that ATT is live, queries using "On impression date" for the Report time of action stats setting may no longer work as expected. You will need to change this to "On conversion date", which is the new default for current data. "On impression date" can still be used for historical data earlier than April 26th, 2021.

Checking What Conversion/Attribution Window is Used

To verify if this is the reason for the discrepancy, check your current conversion window settings. There's directions on where to find this setting per product here: Can I Set a Custom Conversion Window for Facebook Ads Metrics?

You can also use the new dimension called "Attribution setting" that will show what attribution setting the given object is using to compare with the Facebook Ad Manager.

Orange box highlights the "Attribution setting" dimension results, showing each setting for the campaigns

Then in the Facebook Ad Manager, you can check the "Attribution Setting" column now found under Campaigns, Ad Sets, and Ads section.

Example from Ad Set tab:

Example table from the Facebook Ad Manager showing the Ad Sets tab, with an orange box highlighting the "Attribution Setting" column

If the query setting does NOT match Ad Manager's settings as shown for the "Attribution Setting" field for that object (Account, Campaign, Ad Set, or Ad), adjust the query so that it is using the exact same conversion window type as shown, and run the query again to confirm if the discrepancy is fixed. 

SKAdNetwork Campaigns

These use a different attribution window provided by Apple and can't be adjusted like other campaign/ad set types. For this campaign type, you must leave the conversion window setting on the "Default (7 d click)" option, otherwise the conversion data will come back as zero.

If you have mixed campaigns, SKAdNetwork and non-SKAdNetwork in the same account, you may want to filter for those to ensure the settings align: Is Campaign using SKAdNetwork EQUALS true

Additional Information

Note as of January 19th, 2021, it is no longer possible to set the attribution at the account level. It's now set per Ad Set. The attribution settings for campaigns and accounts will be calculated from the Ad Sets and for ads will be based on the Ad Set settings they are attached to. 

This means that:

  • Campaigns that completed before January 19th will have their attribution windows based on what the account setting was at the time.
  • It is assumed that queries that contain "mixed" attribution windows from older campaigns and newer ones will be calculated to the default attribution window.
  • The attribution setting for a campaign or an account is calculated based on existing ad sets. 

For historical data, you will be able to get the old default of 28-day click, 1-day view, but newer campaigns cannot use this and the longer attribution windows will eventually be retired from Facebook. They will only be available from the API for pulling historical campaign data from before this change.

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