As a result of the Apple’s iOS 14 updates, some of the Facebook Ads delivery and action breakdowns are no longer supported in Facebook Ads Manager.

No support for breakdowns: For both app and web conversions, delivery and action breakdowns, such as age, gender, region, and placement will not be supported.

Source: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/331612538028890

This means that Facebook advertisers can no longer get specific breakdown insights for ad sets and ads in Ads Manager. These missing breakdowns include delivery insights such as age, gender, country, platform and placements where ads appeared and people clicked through and/or performed an action on your external website.

Delivery and Action breakdowns are no longer supported for campaigns linking to external sources.

Why are breakdowns important?

Breakdown performance data gives you as an advertiser valuable insights on what’s working to deliver results for your campaign. Breakdowns allow you to break down results by platform, placement and demographic data. If you want to know what platform works best, you need to see a detailed view by platform breakdown. If you want to know if your message resonates more with men or women, you need to see a detailed view by gender breakdown.

Due to tracking limitations, Facebook is no longer providing some breakdowns for campaings where people leave the Facebook app to visit your external website. If you run a Facebook Campaign optimizing for website traffic or conversions and you want to generate a breakdown report, you will be looking at empty results (ex. breakdown by platform):

Breakdown by platform

So, how many Landing Page Views came form Facebook versus Instagram or Messenger? I can’t tell when looking at this report. I can see most of the people I’ve reached are using Facebook, but how many Landing Page Views did Facebook generate?

Yes, I could add some columns, like the ‘outbound CTR’ to start calculating the results manually, but that will still not tell me how many real landing page views came from each platform source.

Breakdown by platform using Outbound CTR

The same goes for breakdowns based on demographic data such as gender and age.
Let’s see what happens when I create a breakdown view by age.

Breakdown by age

Same story… I can’t tell.

All is lost?

Luckily, no, not all is lost. Delivery breakdowns are still supported for campaigns that optimize for awareness objectives, such as ‘Brand Awareness’ and ‘Reach’ and campaigns optimizing for on-Facebook activity, such as ‘Engagement’ and ‘Video Views’. In the example below I am able to perform a breakdown by age and see the split in ThruPlays from my Video Views campaign.

Breakdown ThruPlays by Age

When users leave Facebook to visit a landing page or perform and action (ex. making a purchase on your web shop, filling out a web form) though, Facebook no longer supports breaking down results at the ad set or ad level.

How to recover lost breakdown insights?

This is where Google Analytics comes into play.

In this tutorial I want to analyze traffic coming from Facebook Ads to my website. Data from my website activity might be missing in Facebook Ads reporting, but it is still available in my Google Analytics account, I just need to extract Facebook Ads traffic from the overall data.

To get the breakdown insights I want to see, I will be using UTM Parameters and Google Analytics segments and filters.

Let’s get started…

Recover 6 missing breakdowns using Google Analytics

I’ll be Universal Google Analytics reports to get insights about 6 lost components:

  1. Platform: view ads session data by platform (ex. Facebook, Instagram) where people clicked your ad
  2. Placement: view ads session data by placement (ex. Desktop News Feed, Instagram Stories) where people clicked your ad
  3. Age: view ads session data by age
  4. Gender: view ads session data by gender
  5. Country: view ads session data by country where people live or were located when they clicked your ad
  6. Region: view ads session data by region where people live or were located when they clicked your ad

To get data about each of the six breakdowns above, we need to send some extra data to Google Analytics and use segments to get detailed reporting on traffic coming from your Facebook campaigns.

I will start include data about the platform and placement to Google Analytics using dynamic UTM parameters attached to my Facebook Ad’s website link.

I’m using the URL parameter builder. You can find this in Facebook Ads Manager at the ‘Ad’ level in the ‘Tracking’ section.

Build a URL Parameter at the Ad level in Ads Manager

Click on the blue ‘Build a URL Parameter’ link to open the URL Parameter builder.

Facebook URL Parameter builder

You can use this interface to build URL parameters for your website link.
There are four standard UTM parameters:

  1. Campaign Source: this field will identify the source of traffic
  2. Campaign Medium: this field will identify the advertising medium
  3. Campaign Name: this field will identify the campaign
  4. Campaign content: this field will differentiate the ads that point to the same URL

Facebook Dynamic UTM parameters

I want to discover on which platform and placement the user clicked my ad, but of course I can’t predict this when setting up the parameters. The solution for this is using a ‘dynamic’ parameter. This is a variable offered by Facebook that will dynamically output the current platform and placement that the user was actively using when clicking the ad.

You can place your mouse in the parameter field to show a list of available dynamic parameters you can use:

Facebook Dynamic parameters
  • campaign.id
  • adset.id
  • ad.id
  • campaign.name
  • adset.name
  • placement
  • site_source_name

I will only be using the last 4 parameters:

  1. site_source_name: this will output the platform name
  2. placement: this will output the placement of the platform
  3. campaign.name: this will output the name of the campaign
  4. ad.name: this will output the name of the ad

Campaign Source: Platform

Campaign Source parameter

The variable {{site_source_name}} will be converted into one of these 4 platform outputs:

OUTPUTPLATFORM
fbFacebook
igInstagram
msgMessenger
anAudience Network
Facebook dynamic site_source_name parameter

Campaign Medium: Placement

Dynamic UTM parameters like {{placement}} allow you to get a detailed view of your website sessions and conversions coming from different Facebook, Instagram or Messenger placements.

If you don’t want to change your default utm_source and utm_medium parameters setup, you could just add these extra dynamic parameters to other fields like utm_content. In this tutorial I will be using the utm_source and utm_medium fields though to provide a clear view on the results.

Campaign Medium parameter

The variable {{placement}} will be converted into one of the following outputs:

  • Facebook_Desktop_Feed
  • Facebook_Mobile_Feed
  • Facebook_Right_Column
  • Facebook_Instant_Articles
  • Messenger_Home
  • Instagram_Feed
  • Instagram_Stories
  • Instagram_Explore
  • Others

As you can see, the platform is also included in the ‘placement’ dynamic parameter.

This is my final UTM parameter setup:

utm_source={{site_source_name}}&utm_medium=cpc_{{placement}}&utm_campaign={{campaign.name}}&utm_content={{ad.name}}

The code above may result into the following url when clicking on the ad website link:

https://bram.social/?utm_source=fb&utm_medium=cpc_Facebook_Desktop_Feed&utm_campaign=ebook_2021&utm_content=ebook_visual_v1

Use Google Analytics to segment Facebook sessions

In this tutorial, I’m using a Universal Google Analytics account.

First thing to do in the Google Analytics reporting interface is to create a custom segment. I want to isolate website sessions coming from Facebook Ads, so I’m creating a new segment.

Remember that I’ve used the dynamic parameter {{site_source_name}} for my ‘Campaign Source’ field. Therefore I need to specify all possible outputs as the session source: fb OR ig OR msg OR an. I also need to include the ‘cpc’ (cost per click) as ‘Campaign Medium’ to filter paid clicks only.

This is the final segment setup that will allow me to only see data coming from my Facebook Ads:

Google Analytics Facebook Ads segment

Okay, now I’m ready to dive into the traffic details and recover some of the missing breakdowns in Facebook Ads Manager. The following screenshots will show data from my newly created ‘Facebook Ads’ segment only. I will be looking at session data, but you can use the same segment setup to see conversion data breakdowns.

Let’s breakdown the data in Google Analytics

Breakdown by Platform & Placement

This one is pretty easy. The UTM dynamic parameters I’ve configured above will now be attached to my Facebook Ads website link. That data is available in Google Analytics when people click my Facebook Ad. Now, let’s get it.

Select your ‘Facebook Ads’ segment you just created and select a date range for your Google Analytics report.

Click ‘Acquisition’ > ‘Campaigns’ > ‘All Campaigns’ and select ‘Source/Medium’ as your primary dimension. Then select ‘Campaign’ as your secondary dimension. You will now see details about the traffic coming from your Facebook Ads.

Google Analytics: Source/Medium report

In the example above, I can see that someone clicked my ad when browsing the Facebook Desktop Newsfeed. Source is ‘fb’ (equals Facebook) and Medium is ‘cpc_Facebook_Desktop_Feed’. From this report, I can now get a view on how many sessions / landing page views came from specific platforms and placement, data that was previously missing in the Facebook Ads report.

Use Google Analytics reports to get demographic insights

2 breakdowns covered, 4 more to go!
Now let’s see how we can get demographic insights from the Facebook Ads traffic.

Again, always start by selecting your newly created Facebook Ads segment and choose a date range for your Google Analytics reporting.

Breakdown by Country & Region

Select ‘Audience’ > ‘Geo’ > ‘Location’ and choose ‘Country’ as your primary dimension. Now select ‘Region’ as your secondary dimension.

Breakdown by Age

Select ‘Audience’ > ‘Demographics’ > ‘Age’ to see data split by Age.

Breakdown by Gender

Select ‘Audience’ > ‘Demographics’ > ‘Gender’ to see data split by Gender.

Conclusion

While this setup provides insights that are missing in Facebook Ads reporting, keep in mind that Google Analytics uses a last non-direct click model by default. Therefore, these reports don’t show the full picture or attributed results. That being said, you can use these reports to better understand which platforms and audiences work best for your Facebook campaigns optimizing for traffic and conversions.

Data will never be 100% accurate or complete, but you can still analyze and compare partial data to make informed optimization choices and maximize your Facebook Ads campaigns’ results.

About the Author

Bram

Bram Van der Hallen is an all-round Belgian Digital Marketer and Facebook Certified Professional with 13+ years experience in media planning and buying. Bram talks about Facebook Ads on LinkedIn. Click here to connect with Bram.

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