BLOG How to get the best out of Google and Facebook’s free attribution services

Published: Jul 19, 2019 4 min read
Facebook and Google logos
Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Daniel Gilbert

Source: eConsultancy

Should we be excited about Facebook Attribution? I certainly think so.

Not because Facebook have finally solved the attribution problem (though their efforts to enable cross-platform and cross-device analysis are definitely a big step forward).

The reason I’m excited is because an attribution competition between the two biggest advertising platforms creates opportunities for advertisers. Limitations in one can be offset by capabilities in other, and biases can be identified and mitigated through cross-referencing.

Neither of the two major free attribution services are perfect – but taken together, they can be extremely valuable to measurement and optimisation.

In this post I will explain how to integrate both Google and Facebook’s free attribution services according to an overarching strategy.

Solution Data-driven attribution Cross-platform Cross-device Conversion Lift Testing Verifiability
Google Analytics Only in paid version Limited to Google properties and Facebook clicks (but not impressions) Yes Yes Low: data is confined within Google-owned ad network
Facebook Attribution Yes but only for Facebook ads Multiple partners, but some major social platforms missing Yes Yes Some: cross-platform capabilities enables cross-referencing

In the paid version of Google Analytics, GA360, users have access to one of the industry’s best applications of machine learning for measurement.

Data Driven Attribution (DDA) looks at all clicks – converting and non-converting traffic – in order to estimate the value of a particular ad, or keyword, or ad group, etc. From the initial tests we’ve done at Brainlabs, DDA outperforms other attribution models, e.g. ‘Last Click’, by about 5% in terms of the incremental gains it enables.

So, if you have paid for GA360, then the first step in the process should be to use DDA to gather initial insights into how to optimise your ad spend. The results can then be compared, to some extent, against Facebook’s version of data driven attribution – but only for the portion that is being spent on Facebook ads.

If you have the free version of GA, there are still seven attribution models to choose from. Facebook has almost as many options, but these are less well tested and developed as Google’s. That’s why I’d recommend, whether you’re using the free or premium service, to start with GA.

The good news is that Facebook and Google both provide this function in the free version of their attribution services.

However, Facebook has a natural advantage over Google which should lead to more in-depth and useful analysis.

Facebook has really strong cross-device tracking because people are typically logged in to its properties on all their devices, and therefore they can follow you about better than other platforms.

I’ve included an example below. It’s a really impressive feature of Facebook Attribution, and one that I would highly recommend capitalising on.

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