Discrepancies with Facebook Mobile Ads Dashboard

Introduction

As any two major players in the mobile user acquisition eco-system, AppsFlyer and Facebook differ in their attribution models. This may cause discrepancies to occur between Facebook and AppsFlyer's dashboards.

While we work closely with Facebook to minimize these discrepancies, advertisers should be aware of the following causes for them.

Differences in Attribution Models

Cause Facebook AppsFlyer

Click Attribution Lookback Window

28 days

7 days by default, but can be configured to be 1-30 days

View-Through Attribution Lookback Window

1 day

1 day by default, but can be configured to be 1-48 hours (keep this default value)

Install Record Date

Facebook records new installs on the Click/View Time.

AppsFlyer records new installs on installation time (the very first launch of the app)

Multi-Channel Source
Attribution

Facebook attribution works as specified above regardless of other sources. 

AppsFlyer uses last click attribution (more information about AppsFlyer attribution available here)

Cross-device Attribution

Facebook attributes its users that click and install on different devices, e.g. iOS/Android/desktop

AppsFlyer attributes single devices, which perform both the engagement and the install

Click-Through and View-Through Attribution

AppsFlyer supports both Click-Through and View-Through attribution. To minimize discrepancies between the Facebook and AppsFlyer platforms, ensure both the Click-Through and View-Through Lookback windows are the same.

To compare the click-through and view-through attribution windows on Facebook with those on AppsFlyer, visit Facebook. We recommend to configure the attribution windows on AppsFlyer according to Facebook's values as they are shown in the following screenshot:

 Example

Suppose that Facebook's click lookback window is configured on AppsFlyer to 7 days for your app com.greatapp, while on Facebook it has the default value of 28 days. Users that click on greatapp's ad on Facebook, but launch the app for the first time after 8-28 days are attributed as organic users on AppsFlyer, while Facebook self-reports these users.

In-App Events Differences

The differences between platforms may also be present with post-install events (e.g. in-app purchases), that are displayed on Facebook and on AppsFlyer. The following table describes the most common reasons for these differences and advised on how to minimize them:  

Cause Description AppsFlyer's Tip

Installations discrepancies

Events that are performed by users that are attributed on one platform, but not on the other, are also under discrepancy by default. 

Minimize the installation discrepancies according to this article to lower in-app events discrepancies as well.

Different life time definition The users life time on Facebook is up to 28 days, meaning FB doesn't show events if they take place more than 28 days after the ad click.
Facebook users life time on AppsFlyer is up to 180 days. 
When assessing the value of users from Facebook campaigns from more than 1 month ago use AppsFlyer's data to get the broader picture.
Unmapped events AppsFlyer gets SDK originated events, but they are not mapped to Facebook, and therefore aren't sent. Make sure to map with Facebook all the in-app events that signify users' quality (see capture below).
Unsent value AppsFlyer gets revenue or other event values from the SDK originated events, but they are not sent to Facebook.  Make sure the Send Value boxes of the in-app events are always checked, e.g. the purchase event in the capture below.
Missing event values on Facebook AppsFlyer sends parameters and values to Facebook as part of the events mapping, if they have the correct structures.  Build your SDK in-app events according to AppsFlyer's recommended structures to fully map the event values with Facebook.

Installs from Re-Engagement Campaigns in My UA Dashboard?

A re-engagement campaign can cause users to open an already installed app(re-engagement). Alternately, when AppsFlyer recognizes a previous install of the app existed on the same device, AppsFlyer may refer to that conversion as a re-attribution.

If, on a re-engagement campaign, Facebook targets new users or users that have installed the app for the first time after more than the set re-attribution window following the original installation, these users are recorded as new user acquisition installs on AppsFlyer, which belong to a re-engagement campaigns on Facebook.

On the other hand, installs that take place within the set re-attribution window following the original installation, are considered as re-attributions and appear on the retargeting page of AppsFlyer, while they may be appearing as new installs by Facebook.

 Note

While Facebook shows all installs of a retargeting campaign in the same place, on the AppsFlyer dashboard, installs are divided between the Overview page (new installs) and the Retargeting page (re-attribution and re-engagements).

Cross-Device Attribution

Facebook reports on cross-device attribution. This could sometimes cause issues where a campaign for one platform (iOS/Android) shows installs on another platform.

 Example

Linda clicks on a mobile ad of GreatApp on Facebook using her Android phone. Facebook records the click done by Linda under the original Android targeted campaign "Android Females". Linda decides to install GreatApp on her home iPad. Upon first launch, AppsFlyer asks Facebook for the origin of this iOS install, and Facebook answers with the campaign "Android Females".

Validation Rules and Protect360

If you use AppsFlyer's Validation Rules, results may differ between AppsFlyer and Facebook when there are rejected installs that originally come from Facebook. In these cases Facebook self-reports installs to itself, while AppsFlyer rejects the same installs. 

Similarly, if you use AppsFlyer's anti-fraud solution, Protect360, there may be installs since Facebook self-reports, while AppsFlyer rejects.

 Example

Jeff, the UA manager of GreatApp, creates a campaign called SPNA, which targets only Spanish speakers in North America. To verify this Jeff defines a validation rule, that accepts users from Canada and the US only.
When a Facebook user from Spain clicks and installs, Facebook self-reports the install, while AppsFlyer rejects the install that doesn't pass the validation rule. 

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