Facebook has announced that it's removing its 28-day attribution window option for Facebook ads, which will mean that advertisers will no longer be able to track direct actions based on their campaigns over a longer period.
Facebook's attribution models enable advertisers to measure specific responses to their campaigns, based on rules set by the advertiser.
"For example, if you were to select 'purchase' as your conversion, and apply this default attribution model and attribution window, your reporting will reflect purchases that can be attributed by Facebook to the last ad click that happened within 28 days prior to purchase or the last ad impression that occurred within 1 day of purchase, whichever happened last."
Essentially, attribution models use specified touchpoints in your Facebook advertising process in order to provide more specific insights on your chosen response metric. This, in some ways, enables marketers to glean more info on the actual impact your ads have had, based on that focus element.
But now, that capacity will be limited. As reported by Search Engine Journal, Facebook has been contacting advertisers directly to inform them of the change, explaining that:
“Upcoming digital privacy initiatives affecting multiple browsers will limit business’s ability to measure people’s interactions across domains and devices. Among those limitations is the ability for businesses to attribute conversion events back to an ad over longer attribution windows.”
So, due to changes in data tracking policy, Facebook will no longer be able to offer a 28-day window, and will instead be limited to a 7-day overview of direct response performance.
The change will likely only impact advanced Facebook marketers and those operating large scale campaigns, while it will also effect automated systems which determine Facebook ad spend based on specified events.
The changes will take effect from October 12th, though all historical data will be available until that date. If you've used attribution models in the past, it may be worth downloading your data to keep track of historic performance.