“Our main goal is to work with advertisers to get them to realize that the lift methodology is the right way to measure success,” Smallwood said. “And that can be a challenge in this industry because of the general difficulty that exists around measuring at scale. That’s why advertisers usually end up jumping to the least common denominator – the click – because it’s easy. But it just leads advertisers down the wrong path.”
And that path, said Smallwood, can lead to advertisers confusing correlation with causation.
For example, consider a retail location that places a sign in its front window beckoning potential consumers to come inside. When a bunch of people show up and enter the store, the store owner might think, “My sign must have really worked.” But attributing 100% credit to the sign as the last point of contact leaves out all of the other touch points they might have interacted with on their way to the store. Perhaps they were planning to come to the store all along and didn’t even notice the sign.
That’s like correlating the final click to the conversion.
“Lift testing allows you to ask and answer the question, ‘How much incremental value was created if I didn’t have a sign vs. if I did?’ In other words, what is the real value of the sign?” Smallwood said. “You can only know that by drilling down into why those people really came into the store.”
Existing Facebook advertisers can access the tool as a free managed service, although self-serve could be on the horizon. For the moment, Facebook sets up control and tests groups for the advertiser using either Custom Audiences or any of Facebook's other online targeting capabilities, afterwards placing a conversion pixel, tracking progress and running reports in Ad Manager. In turn, advertisers send their conversion data, which could include CRM or POS system data, to Facebook in order to make the matches for offline sales.
“The idea here is to provide marketers with a way to honestly evaluate how their campaigns are doing and help them figure out how to invest their marketing dollars better – that’s been a key part of the Facebook strategy for six years now,” Smallwood said. “That will likely lead to more spend on Facebook, but ultimately, it’s more about demonstrating business outcomes for advertisers.”
Several Facebook clients have seen success with the Conversion Lift tool already, including kids and baby clothes, furniture and toy site The Land of Nod, which was able to determine that a recent campaign generated a 12% increase in online sales lift, the majority of which was driven by an 8% lift in average sales per buyer.
Healthy snack site Graze used the tool to detect a nearly 10% online sales lift as the result of a campaign. By comparing those results with the results previously garnered through its last-click model, Graze also realized that it had only been detecting 72% of its Facebook-driven site signups, meaning that 28% has been left completely unattributed.