Are DPAs worth it - How many would have bought your product without ads?

January 30, 2021

It’s a great question and probably one we all ask ourselves from time to time.

But wonder no more!

By attributing your purchases correctly through dynamic product advertising in your remarketing strategy, you can know for sure (pretty much) instead of wonder.

The pitfall of failed attribution is that you can risk throwing a lot of money at the wrong channels, which can be expensive in the long run.

So, the time has come to cut down on failed attribution and gather some actual useful data.

Facebook is really good at attributing sales to your campaigns, but how many “new” purchases have you actually made? And would the user have purchased your product if you did not advertise to them?

It's impossible to answer 100% correctly, but there are ways to determine whether it is your Facebook ads that sold a product or whether the customer actually converted somewhere else along their journey.

Facebook’s angle

Facebook is obviously interested in you attributing as much credit for a sale on their ads.

This is no secret.

After all, it makes their platform appear to be the most effective part of marketing, and who would not throw money at the most effective channel or the ad that generates the most sales?

And they’re really good at this.

Which is to say, they certainly don’t make it difficult for you to attribute sales to their ads. And in all honesty, for many companies, it is an effective way to sell products, services, or ideals when done correctly.

But it requires the right setup, and not least the right combination of testing, monitoring, and analysis.

For this, dynamic product advertising, or DPA, are perfect.

This is why, in the following, we will give you an example of what a typical buying decision might look like and highlight how it can be a problem from an attribution perspective—and of course, how to set it best up so you get the most out of your ad spend.

Consider this:

Your neighbor, Peter, is relaxing on the couch one Sunday afternoon. In the background, a football match is running, and the freshly mowed lawn on the television makes him think that his own needs a proper trip before the summer begins.

Then it hits him: The old lawnmower is kaput!

He quickly snatches his phone from the coffee table and starts searching the Internet for a new lawnmower. 

He quickly finds the lawnmower he wants, but he just wants to wait to buy it until his wife comes home so they can look at it together from the computer.

While Peter waits for his wife to come in the door, he flips through his Facebook feed. Here he gets an advertisement for the lawn mower he has just been sitting and looking at and which he has decided to buy.

Who was really responsible for the sale of the lawnmower?

  • Peter's own search, where he decided that it was exactly the model he wanted?

  • or the remarketing campaign that showed him the product he had just looked at?

The solution

It can be difficult to figure out, and this is where many companies are going to misallocate some money that could have been spent even better.

So, bid welcome to the “Exclusion Test.”

It is a tool developed by Facebook that can help you with just this problem.

The way it works is that Facebook removes 10% of your audience that you have defined in the audiences to which you target your ads.

These people will not be exposed to your ads in the usual way, such as in their feed. 

This 10%, on the other hand, will be your control group. The remaining 90% will receive your ads as usual.

The breakdown is important when you want to see if your sales are properly attributed.

When the test is complete, you can see in the reporting above the ad how many of the 10% in the test group did not see your ads but still bought the product.

The same goes for the remaining 90%, which is actually the ad's active target audience.

This allows you to see how much of the sales of a given product your ad actually stands for, as well as how much of the sales actually come in other ways. It can be organic or through another type of advertising.

Where do you find the tool?

Under "Test and Learn" in your Business manager, you will find the tool under the name "Exclusion Test".

First of all, you have the option to perform the test on the entire account, or you can choose to target the test on one particular campaign.

For Facebook to provide you with a good portion of valuable data, you need enough people to draw on.

We typically recommend that you perform the test on your entire account.

If you only select, for instance, remarketing, you risk not reaching the minimum number of people that are the basis for your conversion data. This could be because your ad is underrated or you have not used enough budget.

Furthermore, consider running this type of test over an entire month. Once your test has started, you can follow the process and its results under the tab "Test Details."

Once the month is over, you will be able to enter "Test and Learn" again.

Here you can see the total number of conversions made based on the analysis setup you have chosen (the whole account or a single campaign).


Some bonus stuff worth knowing about attribution

By default, Facebook attributes purchases made within 28 days of a click, or one day after delivery, to your ad.

This means that if Peter buys the mower within 28 days after clicking on the ad, or within 24 hours of seeing the ad, Facebook will believe that it is to their credit that you sold the mower. 

Although the 28 days are standard in Facebook's setup, it does not mean that it is the right thing for all types of companies.

If you are selling a cheaper product that is typically not much consideration behind, you should probably change the attribution period to a shorter period. With Facebook, you can choose whether the attribution should take place after 1, 7 or 28 days.


Finally, how to understand the results of the exclusion test

If your exclusion test shows good results, you have nothing to worry about.

A good result is when the 10% in the control group have not bought anything from your ads but the remaining 90% have bought something.

This probably means that the control group has not seen your ads, and that's a good sign. 

If, on the other hand, you see that your test shows something else, go in and work on your attribution.

This means that there is something you can optimize.

As a quick side note, it’s rarely not unwise to always test your ads.

The exclusion test works really well for exactly the attribution issue dealt with here, but you will surely also find great benefit from splitting your ads with different images, copies, or CTAs.

This is at once an excellent way to optimize your advertising while also a great way to get to know your target audience.