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How-to: factor latent conversions into Facebook ad optimization

Published: January 30, 2017

Author: Vernon Johnson

We often track daily, weekly, and monthly conversion goals. We optimize off the data we have hour-to-hour, day-to-day, and week-to-week. However, many of us have set up 7- or 28-day click-through attribution windows, which adds a layer of complexity. So how much of a role do latency conversions play in your optimization strategy? Do you know offhand exactly how many latency conversions you get on a daily or weekly basis from that attribution window? Do you think about the latency conversion when changing bids?
Unfortunately, Facebook does not specifically tell us our daily or weekly conversion increase without tracking it separately and making us do some math. It may not be easy, but the benefit of putting in a little extra work can change the way you think about your bidding strategy – and let you have some fun impressing your clients.
When we began thinking about tracking our latency conversions for a client, our goal was to find out exactly where our CPA was landing after our attribution window and how conversions had increased when factoring in latency. We set out to do it for a week and soon realized that it had so many more benefits than we expected that we continued doing it. Here’s how we did it:

  1. Set up your tracking document

    • I set up mine in Google sheets so I could easily share it. I was working with a 7-day click-through window, so in total, that covered 14 days. Working with a 28-day click-through attribution window will create a pretty big spreadsheet, but with the way I laid it out, it should still be okay to manage.latency tracking doc
  2. Set up a report that emails you daily

    • I set this up in Ads Manager (see image below) using the columns I needed each day. I’ve found the daily report usually is sent out around 5 a.m. (ideally it’d be 12:01 a.m., but you can’t have everything).
      ad manager report
  3. Start reporting

    • The report does require you to do some manual work every day, but it should only take a few minutes. I take the emailed report and plug in the conversions and cost per conversion in the Google sheet. I then go back for the last 6 days and plug in the totals for those numbers, as they are in Ads Manager. The results look something like this:latency report

There is some added work to tracking latency conversions, but the overall benefit of knowing what your conversions look like at the end of your attribution window is incredibly powerful and lets you adjust bidding with much more accuracy. I would even advise starting out by tracking for the length of your attribution window at first to give you an idea of what the process looks like; if you find it valuable, you can continue it.
When we were finished, we were able to find out exactly how much our conversions increased and CPA decreased over the attribution window. We found a few patterns and correlations between spend and overall conversion increase as well as a few days that always proved better than others. It allowed us to make much more informed bids and budget updates, and the client loved being able to see exactly how much their conversions were increasing on a daily basis.

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