How can you best evaluate your marketing efforts? – The Facebook Attribution Tool could be your answer

For companies of all sizes operating in the digital landscape, the speed of change and the simply huge range of ways for you to reach your customer (and vice versa) can be bewildering. How can you tell whether your precious marketing budget should be weighted towards desktop or mobile, social media or sponsored ads? How do you understand where your most effective conversions happen, from a customer merely browsing, to committing to that all important sale?

For years, in conventional media, a business could only achieve that analysis post sale, and with agreement and significant investment of time from your new customers. Upon embarking on an exciting new relationship, launching an immediate interrogation on your ‘significant other’ is not necessarily the best way to establish a long term relationship in any field.

However, an exciting, powerful (but complicated) new tool has been announced by Facebook[1], which will allow you to do just that; understand where you get the most ‘bang for your marketing buck’ and where your strategy is performing weakly, wasting your prized money and time.


What is the Facebook Attribution Tool

The comparatively new Facebook Attribution Tool does what Google Analytics, and other such ‘stand alone’ attribution and analytical tools have been doing for some time, but its free to use, and allows you to leverage your other marketing platforms and streams. You aren’t limited to understanding Facebook, but can add over 30 other key marketing platforms including Bing Ads, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest.

The tool allows you to interrogate and analyse the different areas of your marketing strategy’s effectiveness, including how customers interact with your digital platforms to a degree of sophistication that  even the most Facebook ‘savy’ professionals are only just beginning to understand.

So, the Facebook Attribution Tool is a powerful and (on the face of it) effective tool to allow digital marketeers to understand better than ever before how to attract, convert and retain customers  what’s not to love?


How to get the most out of the tool for your small business

Primarily, and in common with most tools that give hugely powerful analytical capacity, the tool takes time to set up, and you will need to invest in understanding the base data you are entering.  However, rush the foundations and any conclusions you draw from the finished building could be utterly unfounded, burning money and relationships in misplaced pursuit of the wrong conclusions. So if you’re going to set up the Tool, take your time, allocate resource, and tread carefully in drawing too many ‘smoking gun’ conclusions too early in the process.

This neatly brings us onto the next key point. The tool only starts collecting the data from the point you have set it up, so don’t expect it to be able to pick up your previous transactions or data.  Whilst that’s not a good reason not to start, if yours is a business for whom digital traffic is slow, or with a small number of long term clients it could take you some time to build up sufficient behavioural data to draw conclusions. Like any market study, don’t be tempted to veer and haul radically on a limited data set – be evolutionary not revolutionary in your approach to employing the tools findings.

Finally, beware of confirmation bias! We all, to a greater or lesser degree, tend to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s pre-existing beliefs or hypotheses.  The beauty of digital marketing is that when employed correctly, tools such as the Facebook Attribution Tool, can provide a previously unprecedented understanding of how the public interacts with your business. But that only works if we can lessen our confirmation bias.  So, why not use an independent source or ‘trusted agent’ to set up your tool to ensure that you don’t skew the results from the start? And be careful, as your new tool begins to feedback that precious data about your business, be ultra-careful to understand what is actually being reported, and not just what you want it to say!