Adjusting Your Measurement Expectations for a New (Pandemic) Market
Data & Analytics
Feb 18 2021
A drastic change in consumer behavior in 2020 continues to push advertisers to adapt to new conditions and innovate how they promote their brand. The new landscape of ecommerce relies on flexible marketers willing to curate their digital campaigns to a public still dealing with pandemic safety measures and procedures. Keeping up with these shifting behaviors requires a keen understanding of where campaign metrics come from, what these metrics are really saying and how to adjust measurement practices to fit the pandemic market.
Finding Your New Buying Cycle
Attribution windows are the framework of your ad campaigns. They provide insight into data gathered within a set time period and inform a business how and where its marketing dollars are performing most efficiently. The pandemic changed customer buying habits, average buying cycle lengths, and even brand preferences across nearly every industry, turning many previously well-performing campaigns into projects in need of serious recalibration.
Altering the measurement window of a campaign can significantly impact whether or not that campaign is considered a success. An awareness campaign for a car dealership casting a net over a wide, unqualified audience won’t see many conversions using a 7-day window, especially compared to the more common 28-day window. This isn’t exactly a new concept — marketers have always experimented with various campaigns and lookback windows to determine the average buying cycle for their respective brands — but in a post-pandemic world, any previously-acquired data stands in desperate need of an update.
How Recent Updates Affect Campaign Measurement
Customers aren’t the only ones shifting the ecommerce playing field in 2021. Just last month, Apple’s iOS 14 changed how businesses advertising on Facebook would receive conversion data from tools like the Facebook pixel. Per Facebook’s official release, “Businesses that advertise mobile apps, as well as those that optimize, target, and report on web conversion events from any of our business tools will be affected.”
Similar to the cookieless revolution circulating current advertising practices, the iOS 14 update allows a user to easily opt out of tracking on their personal device, which means “ads personalization and performance reporting will be limited for both app and web conversion events.” The change will affect several aspects of Facebook advertising, including available attribution window settings. The popular 28-day click-through, 28-day view-through, and 7-day view-through attribution windows will no longer be supported for active campaigns, and real-time conversion data reporting may be delayed multiple days.
Marketers will want to be aware of the pending changes and understand why Facebook conversion data might appear to dip when using a previous-day only measurement window, and adjust measurement expectations accordingly.
Seeing Your Campaign’s Full Impact
Different platforms have their own models and default measurement windows, which can appear to cause data discrepancies across platforms. The accuracy and apparent success or failure of a campaign’s conversion metrics can change depending on which attribution window these platforms are set to utilize.
Lengthening the window for an upcoming top-of-funnel awareness campaign aimed at targeting new customers can give your business a clearer idea of your post-pandemic average time to purchase, and even the average number of touchpoints needed. If the pandemic altered your average consumer’s journey to conversion in any way last year, your old campaign’s default lookback window could be failing to report the majority of new customer activity. Adjusting measurement practices to fit your customers in a new market is key to getting an accurate reading on your campaigns.