You might not have heard of F8, but the bespectacled architects behind some of your favorite ad platforms, plugins, and neat toys sure have. It’s Facebook’s annual developer conference where, for two days, people far smarter than me listen to other people far smarter than me talk about all the neat new things Facebook is working on.
While the mainstream media has quickly latched onto Facebook’s Match-killer (the online dating juggernaut’s stock tanked yesterday when Zuck and co.’s relationship-centric app was announced) and improved functionality aimed at removing instances of bullying / subversion of the democratic system, there were a handful of exciting announcement that could very well impact the way you market your business.
Let’s dive right in.
Track Performance (Even on the Go) with Facebook Analytics
“People-first analytics for an omni-channel world.”
Gosh that sounds neat.
Facebook Analytics (check out the microsite: even if you don’t feel like reading through it right now, it sure is cool to look at) is a new tool from Facebook designed to help companies gain an understanding of how people interact with their business assets (website, Facebook page, app) for the purposes of, you know, optimization. While some of the features highlighted aren’t new but, rather, repackaged under the Analytics umbrella, they are incredibly useful for paid and organic social ads.
A caveat: because it’s 2018 and there was that whole Cambridge Analytica thing, this data is aggregate-only.
Per Facebook, “Analytics features are carefully built to protect people’s privacy. We don’t share individually identifiable information such as email addresses or phone numbers… All of the metrics you see in Facebook Analytics are based on aggregated, anonymous data.”
This is no different than the Google Analytics data you’re probably already working with, only here, you’ve got the benefit of 2 billion people wading around in a pool rife with demographic and psychographic badassery.
The new features from Facebook Analytics highlighted at F8 were…
- A new mobile app. Review key metrics on the go from your overview tab and custom dashboards.
- Auto-detected funnels. Use machine learning to find recurring paths people take within your site, app, or Facebook properties before becoming a customer, helping you break bottlenecks and double down on the most-effective segments of your customer journey.
- Custom insights. Add events within Analytics to generate custom insights, like sections of your site that correlate with purchases within a particular demographic or the relationship between promo codes and average order value, to aid in your optimization efforts.
In addition to these shiny new toys designed to help you better understand outside of the standard last-click attribution model, Facebook Analytics will also give you the ability to create funnels, dashboards, segment prospects into cohorts to view the progress of their journey from first contact to closed deal, and a million and one other features I haven’t stumbled upon (yet).
To start leveraging these tools and the ones Facebook already offered, all you need to do is install the Pixel on your website…
…and bounce over to the “Analytics” tab in your Business Manager account.
A New “Clear History” Feature Could Screw Up Your Audience Targeting
Again, improved privacy features rear their head!
Facebook is working on a new tool called “clear history.” Its function is pretttttty self-explanatory.
According to Erin Egan, Facebook’s VP and Chief Privacy Officer, “This feature will enable you to see the websites and apps that send [Facebook] information when you use them, delete this information from your account, and turn off [Facebook’s] ability to store it associated with your account going forward.”
While that sounds like a win for humanity, it could really mess with how we target people on Facebook, particularly when using custom audiences. While you’ll still have access to basic demographic data, there’s a good chance the more valuable, granular targeting parameters you rely on could see a dip.
The Facebook experience for any individual user is augmented with feedback the platform receives from actions and behavior both in-app and on other websites. If a user decides to clear their history, Facebook will lose the information it uses to provide a customized experience; the decision will effectively make Facebook worse, especially when it comes to ads. Facebook isn’t going to stop serving ads to people who clear their history. Instead, they’ll just see less relevant ads. Which could very well mean less engagement or costlier CPCs.
The good news?
This tool isn’t rolling out for a few months, and most of the general public values convenience over privacy; the fact that clearing history will automatically log individuals out of websites and apps they access via their Facebook credentials means that most people won’t do it very often.