Getting to grips with the updates to Facebook Marketing

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Date: 17 December 2020

A marketing executive works on her latest advertising campaign

Facebook's advertising has been around for years now and we are not unfamiliar with the frequent updates and fixes they implement to improve the platform. Some changes though are more significant than others.

For a digital agency that works on Facebook advertising daily, ensuring we keep ourselves up to date with these updates is crucial to how we move forward with clients' strategies and digital approaches.

Two of the biggest recent changes are connected to the 28-day attribution model and the 20% text rule. Both alter the way adverts are created and received.

We'll share more information below on these changes and what it means for Facebook advertisers going forward.

First off: What is an attribution model?

The attribution model essentially follows the customer's journey (or the touchpoints), from when they first see an ad to their eventual purchase of a product (or general conversion). This is extremely useful as it allows us to understand which marketing strategies are working and those that aren't.

Once a user leaves Facebook and has jumped onto a business' website (for example, after seeing an ad on Facebook), all the touchpoints between Facebook and the final purchase can be analysed if it all happens within the attribution window. The attribution window is, in essence, the limited time that Facebook can recognize itself as being responsible for the conversion that takes place after an ad has been seen.

Facebook's default attribution period has always been 28 days, meaning that for 28 days after a person has clicked on your ad, you could find out exactly what tactics managed to convert the customer. This is no longer the case.

Facebook removes the 28-day attribution model

Interestingly, Facebook's default attribution model has always been 28 days. In the latest update, the attribution period has been scaled down to seven days.

This change comes with the news that many internet browsers are altering their privacy settings, making it harder for businesses to log customers' activity over long periods of time. This limited ability to capture interactive information and behaviour from consumers is one of the more significant changes because it impacts how data is relied on for future ads, campaigns, and launches.

The new seven-day attribution period is deemed to offer a more realistic representation than the drawn-out 28 day period of how an advert impacts consumers. This change will mean different things to different businesses. For example, cheaper or smaller items that sell quickly will probably not be impacted by the new attribution window, whereas items with slower conversion rates (longer than seven days) will obviously see the effects.

A second change: What is the 20% text rule?

Up until now, Facebook has favoured posts with less than 20% text, making them the ads that perform best. Ads with 20% or more text were penalised and were not allowed to run.

For some advertisers, this rule was confusing to say the least. Often, the decision on whether an advert met this requirement would only be made once an advert was being finalised. If the post failed, more time would have to be spent changing the ad's creative to ensure it adhered to Facebook's policies.

Facebook's updated 20% rule

A recent change to Facebook's advertising guidelines has done away with the 20% text rule, to many advertisers delight. However, there is still a catch. According to Facebook, users engage better with posts that do have less than 20% text. So, the idea is that adverts containing more than 20% text won't be automatically rejected, but it will be ranked according to how much text there is. That change will determine the reach an advert may have.

These new changes will come in the form of a ranking system, classifying your post on a scale based on how much text your advert has. Depending on where your post lands on the scale will determine how your ad will run and how much reach you get.

As Facebook evolves, marketers and advertisers must evolve too. It's crucial you keep abreast of changes to the platform, especially as the new year approaches and fresh marketing strategies are put into place for success.

Copyright 2020. Featured post made possible by Tom Welbourne of The Good Marketer, a marketing agency in London which drives more traffic, generates conversions and increases sales for small- to medium-sized businesses

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