It’s not particularity surprising that Facebook would push the message that clicks aren’t the end all be all when it comes to conversion tracking, especially since it’s main competition comes from Google, king of clicks. That said, Facebook’s new-ish Conversion Lift tool appears to indicate Google is getting more credit than they deserve for sales.
The tool is “new-ish” because it’s been available to certain advertisers for about a year during a testing phase, but it is now being made available to “all” advertisers in the U.S., and there are no budget restrictions. 1 According to reports from AdWeek, Facebook is attempting to steer advertisers away from only using last click-attribution, which assumes that whatever site sent the user to a website to make a purchase should get credit for the sale, or conversion as the case may be.
However, last-click attribution is a myopic way of looking at how sales are generated. As is pointed out by Facebook’s VP of measurement and insights, Brad Smallwood:
It’s like thinking the sign outside your store is responsible for foot traffic. So, instead of investing in more effective advertising, a store just invests more in its sign.
Facebook’s argument is that seeing an ad on Facebook may later lead someone to do a Google search for a product and make a purchase. While Google deserves some of the credit for the sale, it may have never taken place without someone first seeing an ad on a different site.
Now, the proof
While the argument that last click-attribution is only a piece of the sales puzzle makes sense, it still needs something to back it up. This is where Conversion Lift comes in.
Per AdAge, Conversion Lift compares people who did see an ad to those who didn’t see the ad in question and determines how effective it is based on the buying habits of each group. Not only does this potentially show that Facebook ads do work, even if they’re not clicked on, it can also enable businesses to improve how they display ads on Facebook.
It’s never said specifically, but it appears this is done through the Atlas system we discussed in this post. Essentially, phone numbers and emails collected by companies are compared to Facebook user databases, which enables tracking of people’s purchases and Facebook habits.
In the image below, from TechCrunch, you can see an example of a the results of a Conversion Lift study of an ad campaign.
 There are a lot of caveats to that statement. “All” advertisers means “all advertisers that have a Facebook ad rep” and “no budget restrictions” means “no budget restrictions other than those required to have a Facebook rep.”
Image Credit: Bernard Bujold