How to Track Conversions Outside of 7 Day Window

January 29, 2021

Changes to website conversions' tracking introduced in IOS 14 and WebKit browsers in 2020 affected many businesses with longer sales cycles. Luckily, their impact is limited and improved sales attribution allows to keep reporting sources of sales correctly in most cases, even when conversions happen weeks or months after the initial website visit.

The nature of the changes meant that all tracking cookies are cleared by browser after 7 days and in some cases, such as when a click id is present in the URL, only 24 hours. Reducing maximum cookie lifespan to 24 hours for all tracking cookies is considered by browser vendors.

This change shocked many businesses with longer sales cycles, which relied on conversion tracking to measure ad effectiveness and identify customer segments that perform better.

However, impact of this change can be reversed in majority of well-designed sales funnels. It can be done by  understanding interactions with customers and prospective customers who have expressed their consent by providing contact information instead of traditional privacy-invasive tracking using browser cookies.

While browser tracking using JavaScript pixels and tags has been a golden standard, its doesn't provide website visitors control over their personal data and, effectively, allowed advertisers to de-anonymise them without consent, prompting counteraction by browser vendors.

Following its commitment to provide entrepreneurs an ability to acquire paying customers more efficiently, Formsable solves this problem, allowing advertisers to understand what campaigns and adverts result in conversions to purchases, regardless of whether it happens a week, a month or three months after the initial contact.

Just to be clear, this approach doesn't circumvent browser privacy controls. On the contrary, its goal is to focus on exploring life cycles of customers who have expressed interest and consented to interact with the advertiser.

Formsable solution constructs 360 degree view of the each customer's life cycle, regardless where it happens. It starts in a browser, where a traditional tracking is used to attribute leads to website visitors and continues by associating data in the back-end systems - CRM, payment providers, custom web apps etc with the lead. Once a conversion to purchase occurs, it is then attributed to the original visitor and reported back to the ad platforms and analytics services such as Google Analytics.

For example, a customer life cycle begins with a visitor clicking on an ad and accessing landing page. When a visitor completes the lead form, the contact details are associated with the lead source and available visitor and click ids. Such first-stage conversions happen during the first visit in the most funnels, therefore making it possible to track sources of the conversions to lead.

In many funnels, this is the last conversion event that is tracked. In Formsable funnels it's only the first.

After a lead is captured, Formsable receives all back-end events from other systems, such as a deal closed in a CRM or a first subscription payment in Stripe. It attributes it to the Google Analytics user id of the original visitor that converted to the lead, as well as ad click ids related to it and sends the purchase event that is attributed to the original session to Google Analytics and other APIs  when each sale is made without requiring the customer to visit the website again and therefore not relying on the presence of the tracking cookies.

This allows to report on the purchases made by the visitor even if they happen months after the visit when no cookies related to the original visit are available. It also improves tracking in multiple-stage multiple-device funnels such as when a lead conversion happens on one device and the purchase is completed afterwards on another.

Combined front-end and back-end tracking as described above, is a reliable privacy-friendly method of understanding of what drives revenue.