Click Through Conversions vs. View Through Conversions– What’s the Difference?

September 21, 2015 | Facebook Marketing

Conversions are an important part of Facebook Ads– for many, those conversions are the ultimate goal, after all.

To best know when to scale your Facebook Ads and to evaluate the success of your campaigns, it’s important to understand the conversions you’re looking at, both the click through conversions and the view through conversions.

Facebook’s Ads manager, in general provides a lot of great information with a lot of details to help you accurately track and improve your campaigns. Their conversions metric, however, can be a bit confusing; advertisers have noticed that the conversion metric Facebook gives doesn’t quite match up with the numbers Google Analytics and other tracking tools will show.

There’s more to that metric that we’re seeing at a first glance, though; we hear about click through conversions on a 28-day window, and view-through conversions on a 1-day window, because that’s how Facebook defaults their conversions reporting. This type of reporting, however, doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story, and can even affect your reporting depending on what attribution model you’re using.

What’s the Difference?

Click through conversions and view through conversions are obviously two different metrics.

Click through conversions occur when a user is shown your ad, clicks on it, and converts in the 28 day timeframe (this can be a purchase, lead, etc. – whatever your conversion goal is).

View through conversions occur when a user is shown your ad (an impression), they do not click on it, but they later visit your site and convert.  This is why you’ll sometimes see that your number of conversions could even be higher than your number of clicks—people don’t need to click to convert in Facebook’s default reporting.

Both metrics are important, and Facebook combines the two into one metric for a total number of conversions under their default settings—they look at click through conversions that happen within 28 days, and view-through conversions that happen within 1 day, stick them together, and give you this metric.

Where the Discrepancy Comes In

Tracking conversions—and thus the success and strength of your ad campaigns—doesn’t lie purely in looking at click through conversions, because that’s not the whole story; it’s only a small part of it.

Tracking conversions is complicated because users aren’t just clicking to a landing page and converting; they’re likely interacting with your ad—and your business—along multiple touch points throughout the conversion. They’re seeing social content, displays, e-mails, paid search results, and more. It’s hard to pin down what’s actually triggering the conversion, making it difficult to find the best way to measure it.

This is why Facebook Ad’s conversion metrics and reports may not match up with other tracking and analytics sites, such as Google Analytics, which we’ve mentioned above. Google Analytics’ default setting is to report on a “last click” basis, meaning they give attribution for a conversion to the final touchpoints the user interactions with before converting. Facebook is reporting on a “first click” basis, meaning that the first touchpoint clicked will get the credit for the conversion. This will automatically have different conversion statistics turning up.

With different sites tracking conversions different ways, and no stats coming up reliably consistent across analytics platforms, the question at hand is how to get the most accurate assessment and conversion reporting to determine when to scale our ads?

Facebook’s conversion metric is only a fraction of the bigger picture; so how do we get the full story so we know when it’s profitable to scale on Facebook Ads?

What to Do

In order to accurately assess click through conversions and view through conversions (and thus to evaluate most accurately how you’re really getting those conversions), and see how they fit together in the big picture, there’s a few things I recommend doing.

1. Adjust & Track Through Google Analytics

Google Analytics is an incredible tool that all businesses with a website should have, and their tracking features are really second to none. As great as Facebook’s Ad Manager is for almost everything else, Google Analytics will give you the best information about what’s happening with the conversions on your campaign—once you adjust their settings.

As mentioned above, Google Analytics’ settings are defaulted to measure in on a last-click basis. This can be adjusted, and using either a Position Based or a Time Decay attribution model will allow for more factors to be considered.

With either of these attribution models, credit is given to different touchpoints that could have influenced the conversion along the way. You aren’t just looking at what was the first or last thing to get the ball rolling—attribution is given to what contributed. This will give you a much more accurate idea of what’s going on with your campaigns.

The Position Based attribution model automatically attributes credit based on the position of the touchpoints interacted with in the process of the conversion. 40% of the credit is given to both the first and last interactions (placing emphasis on what started the conversion path and what triggered the actual conversion); the remaining 20% of credit is then distributed evenly to all other touchpoints.

The Time Decay attribution model works as follows: the touchpoint closest to the conversion gets the most credit for it, and the second closest will get lesser credit. The cycle continues onward, allowing you to see what touchpoints were interacted with, what may have contributed, and what were the final touchpoints that ultimately led to the conversion.

While it does put emphasis on the last touchpoints instead of the first (should the first touchpoint not be considered that important if it may have triggered the user’s path to the conversion?), it’s still a good model that’s easy to follow and gives due credit to multiple touchpoints instead of just one.

I always recommend using Google Analytics to track campaigns in addition to Facebook’s reports; not only is it accurate, it can help prevent you from giving Facebook Ads 100% of the credit of a conversion when other marketing channels may have had a hand in it. You’re better able to see how your marketing efforts are working together and individually instead of having it all just contribute to a single Facebook Ad conversion number.

2. Temporarily Remove VTCs

Until you can run a PSA test, I recommend removing view through conversions from the picture on Facebook Ads—just temporarily. You’ll want to choose the Click Through window that aligns up with how you’re measuring the rest of your channels so that you’re getting a consistent read on things – I usually opt for a 28 day window. Know that you’ll be getting a “first click” analysis for your click through conversion stats, and keep that in mind.

3. Run a PSA Test

We know how to find the click-through conversion information, so now you want to run a PSA test to get an accurate look at your view through conversion stats. A PSA test will allow you to measure the “conversion lift” against a blank ad—think of it as an experiment with a control group taking placebos. Though some people will convert anyways, due to other marketing touchpoints that are in place, overall we’ll be able to determine if impression did, in fact, have an actual impact on conversions. This is the best way to get insight onto the accuracy of the view through conversion metric.

How do you make sure you know what’s really happening with your click through conversions vs. view through conversions? How do you get the most accurate insight to what’s happening with your campaigns? Leave a comment and let us know!

James Dickerson

Founder of CrushCampaigns

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