Understanding Facebook Advertising Attribution Loss

Crowdfunding, Ecommerce

Advertising your business on Facebook? Understanding how changes in privacy settings and customer behavior affects tracking for your advertising campaigns is tricky. That’s why we set out to help our clients get a fuller picture of their investments. Learn why your dashboard might not be giving you the full picture, and how to get a more accurate ROAS figure.

Understanding Facebook Advertising Attribution Loss in Crowdfunding Campaigns

Let’s talk about the powerful use of Facebook ads for crowdfunding campaigns. You know advertising can bring traffic to your campaign, but how can you understand how your ads are performing? In the ever-changing world of marketing, it’s important to know the different ways to track and assess performance so you get the most out of your money. For crowdfunding projects, Facebook Advertising has proved to be one of the best sources of traffic. Enventys Partners follows a proven process for driving results based on years of crowdfunding experience, but we’re not going to lie, the new iOS 14 update has really thrown a wrench into tracking performance. Our team developed a formula to determine ROAS while factoring in attribution loss created by the changes with iOS14. 

Before we share the formula and how you can calculate it yourself, we need to talk about what attribution loss is, why it’s happening and why it is SO IMPORTANT for the success of your campaign to look beyond the direct trackable ROAS you can see.  


What is Attribution Loss?

Simply put, attribution loss means funds or revenue are not properly attributed to the correct source. This usually happens because tracking parameters are dropped from the URL.

Attribution loss from Facebook for crowdfunding campaigns isn’t new. Especially if those campaigns are run on Kickstarter. The new iOS update merely increased this attribution loss. Before the iOS 14 update, campaigns lost an average of about 20 to 30 percent of tracked sales coming from Facebook ads.

For example, if tracked conversions resulted in $10,000, the ads in those conversions were likely actually responsible for $12,000-13,000. Advertisers generally agree that the percentage of attribution loss has only increased with the new iOS changes, but the exact figures haven’t been fully understood. For that reason, we’ll continue using the 20-30 percent figure for our calculations. That amount has increased since the release of iOS 14, but because the update is still new and marketers everywhere are still figuring out the effects it has on their specific businesses, we will stick with the 20 to 30 percent for our calculations.

What Causes Attribution Loss?

There are five main factors causing attribution loss.

The iOS 14 Update

Facebook and Instagram apps must now ask for permission to track private user data. This privacy shift alone is a big deal when reporting conversions and revenue in Facebook because it will not be able to show conversion metrics for anyone who opts out of being tracked.

There is also a 3-day delay for what conversions and revenue Facebook can report. This means your ad spend will show up in real-time but your conversions are delayed. Within Facebook’s reporting, ROAS will automatically look lower than they actually are. For more details on how the iOS update affects ads and proactive steps, visit our in-depth blog.

Pixel Implementation in Kickstarter

Kickstarter does not have the ability to implement a Facebook tracking pixel directly into your campaign page. Most marketing agencies have some kind of workaround built for this but even with workarounds, this causes attribution loss. Indiegogo used to allow relatively seamless integration of the Facebook Pixel with campaign pages, but the new iOS disrupted that. They recently announced a patch to restore pixel function.

User-Level Tracking

Google Analytics and Kickstarter don’t track on the user level. This means if someone clicks on a Facebook ad on their phone, then pulls it up on their computer a little bit later, that user isn’t tracked. In this case, the backer will show up as a “direct” conversion with no referral source.
The same applies if a person clicks on an ad, goes to the campaign page, but decides to leave the page. If they later Google the campaign from their desktop and convert, that conversion will show up as “Organic from Google.”

Kickstarter Mobile App

If a user has the Kickstarter mobile app downloaded, the app will open up when they click on a Facebook ad on their phone. Because the mobile app doesn’t hold tracking, the conversion will also show up as “direct.”

Follow Campaign Button

Sometimes people click on an ad but aren’t ready to back a campaign, so they opt to “follow the campaign” by selecting that option on the page. These backers generally like to watch a campaign’s progress before committing their own money. Those people will get an email 48 hours before the end of a campaign from Kickstarter as a reminder that it is ending. These conversions will show up under a Kickstarter email source, even if the reason for their original interest was a Facebook ad.

Other Ways to Gauge Performance

Now that we have talked about the ways Facebook ads lose attribution let’s talk about how you can determine if ads are working, outside of ROAS.

Campaign Ranking

Kickstarter ranks campaigns, in part, by the traffic they receive. The more high converting traffic you send to a campaign page, the higher it is going to rank in Kickstarter.

Why is this important? The most successful campaigns see roughly 50 to 60 percent of their total funding come organically through the Kickstarter platform. How? Because they rank high in popularity within their category.

Daily revenue increase

Take note of your total daily campaign revenue. You should see a direct correlation between ad spend and your daily revenue increases. Even if your ROAS doesn’t directly show it, if you increase ad spend your daily campaign funding should also increase.

How to Calculate ROAS with Attribution Loss

Here’s how our team at Enventys Partners calculates ROAS while taking attribution loss into account.

STEP 1: Calculate Tracked Advertising Revenue

Start by figuring out how much revenue your project has brought in from Facebook ads. Only use what you can track. Let’s use $28,000 as an example. Most agencies use a tracking link or a UTM code to distinguish their effort from others. Enventys Partners links include go2.fund.

Look in the dashboard and add up the conversions from every source with a tracking link.

Tracked Advertising Sources

The image above is intended only to showcase what a tracked referral source would look like. For the purposes of calculating ROAS, refer to the numbers provided, not the image above.

STEP 2: Calculate Direct Traffic Revenue

Continue with the Kickstarter dashboard and calculate the revenue from direct sources. These should be sources with the referrer names listed below (remember traffic from Facebook ads directly affects the ranking of a project on Kickstarter). These include:

  • Search
  • Direct traffic no referrer information
  • Kickstarter categories like Advanced Discovery, Recommendations (Discover), Discovery popular, Product Design (Discover), Discovery category, Kickstarter homepage, Projects We Love (Discover), Category home, etc.

For this example, let’s use $25,000.

KS Dashboard Direct Sources

The image above is intended only to showcase what a direct referral source would look like. For the purposes of calculating ROAS, refer to the numbers provided, not the image above.

Be sure to go through all pages of referrers in the dashboard.

STEP 3: Find Advertising Spend Total

In your Facebook business manager, find your total ad spend to date. For this example, we will use $7,600.

STEP 4: Calculate ROAS with attribution loss and Standard ROAS

Because attribution loss in advertising is typically between 20-30% we will use 25% in our calculation.

ROAS with Attribution Loss

Calculating ROAS without attribution loss is straightforward. Simply divide your Facebook Advertising revenue by the amount spent on ads.

Standard ROAS


The attribution loss ROAS is calculated like this:
$25,000 * 25% = $6,250
$6,250 + $28,000 = $34,250

ROAS Calculation

In the example above, the ROAS we can directly track is 3.68 and the ROAS with attribution loss is 4.50. That is almost a full 1x increase. You can see how that could greatly affect your perception of the overall campaign’s results.

For argument’s sake, let’s say directly trackable standard ROAS is 2x and your bottom line ROAS is a 3x. Without taking attribution loss into account, you could make the decision to turn off ads for your campaign. But you wouldn’t be looking at the full picture and could make a detrimental mistake. If the ROAS with the attribution loss is higher than your bottom line, you’d want to keep going because THE ADS ARE WORKING!

Compare standard ROAS and Adjusted ROAS to get a fuller picture of how your advertising campaigns are going. By understanding the effects of attribution loss, you’re empowered to make smarter decisions that will ultimately lead to a more successful campaign outcome.

Let Enventys Partners help you with Facebook advertising

Effective Facebook advertising isn’t easy, and tracking the updates in privacy are only making things more challenging. That’s where expert advertisers can help you succeed. If you’re looking for additional help in deciding the right advertising plan for your business or in executing Facebook ads, we’d love to work with you. Reach out to us today!

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