What the Data Says: Apple, Facebook, Attribution, and Incrementality

What the data says

Madan Bharadwaj, Expert in Advertising Measurement, Attribution and Analytics

Published 06/28/2021

Last week, Measured streamed a live session to share up-to-the-minute insight into how Facebook attribution and advertising performance has fared as iOS 14.5 adoption gains steam. The overwhelming response made it clear that there is an appetite for more transparency, clarity and informed insight from experts to help marketers navigate the recent upheaval in media and advertising.

At Measured, we are in a unique position to observe in real-time how these ongoing platform and policy changes impact the technology, systems, and data that advertisers rely on to inform their investment decisions. We’re keeping our finger on the pulse of the industry and its critical systems and we’re committed to keeping you well-informed along the way.

Below are the key trends we shared in last week’s live session, and recommendations from our experts for keeping your Facebook media strategy on track while the story continues to unfold.



iOS14.5 adoption is picking up
  • FB’s Last Touch numbers are beginning to drop
  • Overall business metrics and Google Analytics metrics still stable
Facebook lift studies are reporting artificially low lift numbers
  • For now, not a fit for absolute lift measurement, but still good for relative last-touch like measurement
  • Geo-matched-market testing is the recommended approach (even according to Facebook).
7day CT conversions will be “modeled” from end of June
  • Anticipate 7day CT getting shored up from hitting the floor
Impact on Targeting
  • Retargeting - not seeing any major shifts in incremental impact yet
  • CRM/List-based targeting - match rates are still strong
  • Prospecting - some early signs of performance drop, mostly steady


Measurement Strategy
  • More change is coming, but don’t wait, start testing now. Insights you acquire now will help you navigate.
  • For FB prospecting and CRM, implement geo testing alongside FB testing to get a proper read.
  • For FB retargeting, implement a site-side retargeting experiment designed to measure contribution of the retargeting program.
Analytics Strategy
  • Ensure AEM is enabled for your primary conversion event.
  • Triangulate reported Facebook performance against other indicators (sales, leads, awareness, search volume, etc.).
Data Strategy
  • Add FB Conversion API (CAPI) to your site
  • Create offline conversions event sets out of your existing web and app conversions
Marketing strategy
  • Don’t significantly scale up or down your FB investments until there is a clearer view on incrementality.
  • In case of soft performance, explore alternative FB optimization strategies:
  • Optimizing to upper-funnel (eg: Add to Cart)
  • “Flood the zone” (reach optimization = lower CPMs)

While it is tempting to breathe a collective sigh of relief after months of data-tracking turmoil, the extended life expectancy of third-party cookies should not be an excuse to go back to business as usual. The latest plot twist from Google is just further evidence that platforms are going to keep evolving their stance on privacy - and marketers cannot afford to take a passive stance.

Instead, brands should leverage this gift of time to collect insights through continued experimentation and develop a future-proof measurement plan that is based on first-party assets and adaptable when faced with inevitable change.

Want more detail about what we’ve observed and how to implement our recommendations? Watch the full webinar on-demand with all the insider details:


Follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter for ongoing insights, guidance and details for our next live update on the latest trends.

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