Upcoming digital privacy initiatives are set to affect multiple browsers and hamper business’s ability to measure the impact of their efforts across domains and devices.Between the CCPA, privacy changes to Apple’s iOS 14, and the impending cookie crisis of 2022, platforms are scrambling to adapt and future-proof their business model and advertising capabilities.
One of the biggest changes to be recently announced was Facebook’s decision to phase out 28-day attribution. In generalist terms, attribution models enable advertisers to measure specific responses to their campaigns based on rules set by the advertiser. These models use specified touchpoints in your advertising funnel to provide specific insights on your chosen metrics and allow advertisers to gather concrete data about their marketing initiatives.
Given the turbulent nature of digital advertising, Facebook’s sudden decision is an effort to protect advertisers from a myriad of policy changes that are set to leave advertisers in disarray. However, after receiving numerous pushback from brands and agencies alike, Facebook decided to delay the feature change. "Taking into account advertiser feedback, we are no longer proceeding with the test for any advertiser in Q4 2020," says a Facebook representative. While official word from Facebook on this attribution hault is pending, it’s safe to say advertisers have a little more time to figure out their next steps as it relates to attribution.
"Next year, we expect upcoming web browser changes may impact our tracking events across websites. As such, we anticipate that we will have to shift to a 7-day default attribution window and no longer be able to provide a 28-day attribution in the coming months, as early as January 2021."
While Facebook is offering a grace period, advertisers still must plan ahead and be ready to adapt to these changes as they roll-out. Advertisers who sell products at a higher price point or have products that require more intent will be required to make significant changes to their marketing strategy. For example, if your client is selling an expensive product such as a mattress, consumers may take longer than 7-days to make a purchase, meaning that you won’t be able to measure the results of your campaign through Facebook after the eventual removal of the 28-day attribution window.
As a result, brands must make two major changes to their digital strategy. The first is taking a holistic look at all messaging, creatives, and marketing assets to evaluate whether or not you are guiding your customer through your funnel in a timely and efficient manner. The next, and more important factor to consider, is the renegotiation of your clients' CPA. Let’s say you’ve been optimizing on a 28-day attribution window for several years and have established benchmark goals that allow you to define your CPAs. Brands and agencies should begin optimizing towards a 7-day attribution window to begin gathering benchmark data to help them define their goals in the long-term.
In addition to these changes, brands and agencies can also prepare for this policy change by implementing third-party services such as GeistM’s proprietary DSP, Blackfire. "With some of these networks, it’s easy to feel restricted by the attribution shifts being pushed onto the users," says Ryan Coe, Director of Strategic Growth at GeistM. "But with Geist’s Blackfire technology, we aren’t worried about what the networks are doing. We have the ability to track full-funnel performance over any period of time for all networks, including 28-day Click, and our optimization strategies will remain focused through it all."