People see Facebook ads all the time, but how much do those ads slowly trickle their ways to consumer’s hearts and convince them to purchase? And if they do make a purchase, how will we know that Facebook ads were responsible for the offline sale?
Tracking offline conversion
The Facebook pixel can only go so far in conversion tracking, optimization, and remarketing. Facebook’s “Offline Events” feature enables marketers to track and optimize transactions that the pixel is not able to. Offline transactions such as in-store sales and phone bookings can now be tracked and correlated to the consumer’s viewing of or engagement with a Facebook ad.
Sounds amazing, right? One of a digital marketer’s greatest concerns is regarding tracking Facebook ad effectiveness. Gone are the days where online ads must be coupled with promotional codes for tracking, consumers are automatically tracked when they go in-store without the need to check-in. And to top it off, the offline conversion tool can tell you the last product or service the consumer viewed or clicked in the Facebook ad platform.
Let’s get started
To get started, your Facebook ad data needs to be connected with your offline sales data.
Before your ad campaign begins, create a new Offline Event set for your ad campaign.
- Visit Offline Events in Business Manager
- Create an offline event set
- Assigned an ad account to be tracked
- Ensure that auto-tracking is enabled as this will allow future ads to be automatically tracked
- Assign permissions to each person that needs to access the information
Next, create and start running your ad campaign. Throughout the campaign, you will need to upload your offline event data to quantify offline traffic and attribute offline sales directly to Facebook campaigns.
This can be done in a couple of ways:
- Manually uploading a .csv file
- Automatically uploading through an offline conversions API or partner system integration
Here are some best practices:
- Upload the offline event data daily (only data that is less than 90 days old at the time of upload can be processed by Facebook Analytics)
- Only upload new data collected since the last upload (duplicate data will be created and there is limited ability to de-duplicate); this allows effective matching of transactions to the ads running
A .csv data file that includes the event and customer information will be needed to match Facebook users and their ad history to the consumers that performed a transaction at the event.
A good .csv data file includes:
- Full name (first, last)
- Email address
- Phone number
- Address (postal code, city, country)
- Event name
- Value and currency
- Order ID and/or item number (if applicable)
Facebook has 17 different accepted identifiers which it can use to match a Facebook user targeted within the ad campaign to the offline buyer. Though not all 17 identifiers are required, the more information uploaded, the more accurate the results will be.
On average, Facebook’s match rate ranges between 60 to 80 percent. While it’s not perfect, it’s a substantial number considering we were never able to track offline data before.
Now for the results
The results can be seen within Ads Manager as soon as the upload is completed. As your campaign progresses, uploading and viewing your offline event data will allow you to adjust your ads and strategy to ensure you meet your goals. You can also customize your column view to add Offline Event Data for 1, 7, or 28 days.
Things to keep in mind
Facebook is revolutionizing the way digital marketers can use offline data; however, it is not yet able to identify crossovers of offline and online conversions. If you are a business that is selling products both in-store and online, keep in mind that there will be duplicates as they are not yet mutually exclusive.
Facebook’s ability to attribute a click/view with a conversion is limited to 28 days and the offline data upload is restricted to being uploaded within 62 days of the conversion; a total of 90 days.
Facebook has only recently introduced the offline conversion tool within the last year, so it’s still imperfect. But even with its imperfections, it does address the biggest concern marketers have when it comes to Facebook ads – being able to quantify, track and measure their effectiveness.