Facebook, the app that is the dictionary definition of a love-hate relationship, has finally figured out how to monetize its free-to-use service.

One of the techniques they are using to fill their coffers is evidenced by the proliferation of ads and sponsored posts that populate our news feeds. Some of them are actually spot on, well targeted to personal interests and foibles. Honestly, they are a vast improvement over the dreck that used to appear on the far right column of the screen. Those ads just looked like trouble.

Now comes news Facebook is taking another step to help advertisers get more mileage out of their advertising investment. Beyond just providing advertisers with garden-variety analytics, the company just announced that it now track ads that result in conversions (sales) across devices.

"Today we're launching cross-device reporting for Facebook ads, enabling advertisers to see for the first time how people are moving between devices - across mobile apps and the web - before they convert (buy)," the company wrote in a blog post.

The blog post then cites the example of a Facebook user viewing an ad on the timeline, while waiting on line at a bank. The user is not likely to "convert" or buy on the mobile device right then and there. But, later, in front a desktop computer, the user completes the transaction.

Facebook has now developed a method for tracking that purchase across whatever devices took part in the process from first look at the ad to consummation of a purchase of the product advertised.

Facebook says that the ability to measure conversions across devices provides advertisers important insight into how well their marketing efforts are gaining traction. The company revealed that, for example, 32 percent of users who viewed an ad on their mobile device "converted" via their desktop computers within 28 days.

Interestingly, the pattern of conversions across differing devices does not indicate a predilection for impulse buying. Conversion rates of only 11 percent on a one-day turnaround and 22 percent on a seven-day interval between view and purchase say that buyers are more likely to wait before completing a transaction on their mobile devices.

Josh McFarland, CEO of TellApart, Facebook Preferred Marketing Develop, defined the value of cross-device conversion tracking, saying "Tracking click and conversion data deterministically across devices has confirmed what we know to be true; mobile ads drive commerce everywhere. This new reporting from Facebook has been a game-changer in our ability to help clients like Neiman Marcus and Sur La Table correctly value and invest in their mobile ad efforts."

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