facebook

Facebook Info & Ads Tab: Where Did It Go?

If you’ve been doing Facebook Advertising in the past year or so you like have seen or at least heard about the Info & Ads tab that was added to all Facebook business pages. If you’re not familiar with this check out Facebook’s post about it from June, 2018 here. Adding the Info & Ads (see image on right) was part of their ongoing “transparency” kick they’ve been on since the Cambridge Analytica scandal in 2018. I’m not sure how exactly that helped, but from a competitive research view point it gave us Facebook advertisers a way to see any ad another company advertising on Facebook was running. Of course, yes it also showed anyone the ads we were running as well.

Facebook Info & Ads

When you viewed the Info & Ads tab you would see all active Facebook ads that brand was running. This was amazing for competitive research, which before this was incredibly difficult with Facebook. The one other usage I heard which was interesting is that you could check a brand for any coupon codes they might be running (great tip).

Well it’s been at least a month since I’ve used this tab and as I went to check out a competitor last week I quickly found the button removed. In a panic I checked multiple Facebook business pages and to my continued surprise it was completely gone. I must say I’m pretty good at following industry news and didn’t see anything about this. As I quickly jumped onto Google and searched for information, all I found was a Reddit thread about it. Interestingly, I couldn’t find any news articles about it.

Facebook Transparency

In a few minutes I quickly was relieved. The Info & Ads tab wasn’t removed. It was only moved. There was a new Page Transparency section added on the right side of a business page. Once I discovered this and completed a Google search there was a few news articles out there about it. Along with the current active ads a business page was running there was more information added to the Page Transparency section.

  1. The date the page was created

  2. The primary country locations where the Page is managed.

  3. The number of people who manage the Page in each country.

  4. The Page's previous name changes.

  5. Any Page merges that happen on or after September 6, 2018.

Here’s what you’ll see when you click See More:

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Facebook Ad Library

When you click on Go To Ad Library you’ll see all the active ads that were previously on the info & ads tab. In addition it also shows you the exact date the ad started running which is interesting as well. You can see if an ad has been running just a few days or a few months. To simplify the process you can go directly to the new Facebook Ad Library and search for the brand you are looking for. This will take you directly to the ads they are currently running.

No need to worry, the info & ads tab didn’t get removed. It was only moved to a new section. Given that Facebook continues to lead the internet industry in what they call transparency this new transparency section will likely be around a while and if anything have more information added to it. I would regularly keep an eye on the section to see if any new information gets added.

So go start looking at your competitors ads again. It’s a great way to get new ideas. Keep in mind, just because they are running a particular ad doesn’t mean it’s working. They could just be testing. Also, you can’t see if it’s re-targeting or prospecting and you have no idea what audience it’s directed towards.

If you need any help running Facebook ads for your eCommerce company, don’t hesitate to reach out and setup a free introductory call with us. We’ll show you how we can help grow your eCommerce brand like we’ve helped dozens of others over the years with Facebook & Instagram ads.

Facebook Ads Cost Controls: What Are They?

Last month Facebook released a new cost control option for their ad set level Optimization and Delivery. Wait, what are cost controls? I’m glad you asked. Many Facebook Ads users didn’t know these existed in the first place.

When you’re creating a new ad set in Facebook Ads, when you scroll towards the bottom you’ll see a box that says Optimization & Delivery. The following options are in this window:

facebook optimization and delivery.png

Depending on the optimization for ad delivery you choose will determine which cost controls are available. Since we most commonly use “conversions.” we’re going to focus on that.

The cost controls option has been there for years now, but in April, 2019 Facebook added a new option. Previously the two options were either bid cap or target cost. Well technically the third option is not choosing any of these as they are optional. In fact most experts (us and others we’ve spoken with) recommend not choosing any of these and letting Facebook maximize conversions at the lowest cost.

What’s The Difference For Each Cost Control?

Target Cost

Target cost is recommended for the most consistent cost per conversion goals. Facebook will aim it’s bidding on hitting your target cost as your average cost per conversions. Some conversions may come in lower and some many come in higher.

Bid Cap

A bid cap is different because it doesn’t necessarily take into consideration anything that happens on your website. Facebook is using this to determine what CPM it bids in their auction for your ad to show. Regardless of whether they convert well or not. If you’re particularly concerned about what your paying for your ads versus your goals, this bidding option is for you.

Cost Cap

The latest edition is cost cap bidding. Facebook claims this is very similar to using the recommended method previously which is not choosing Target Cost or Bid Cap, but it at least gives Facebook some guidance on the goal you’re looking to hit as your cost per acquisition. Their goal here is to get you the most conversions at or below your cost cap. It sounds very similar to Target Cost, but isn’t supposed to limit your conversions as much.

We’ll update once we’ve further tested this bid strategy. If you have an eCommerce company and are looking for help with your Facebook ads strategy and management, feel free to reach out and we’ll be happy to discuss further.

Don't Forget To Tag Your Facebook Ads!

There are currently more than 28 million websites using Google Analytics. With all likelihood, you’re one of them. Yet time and time again we get into a potential client’s or new client’s Facebook Ads account and none of the ads have ever been setup to track properly in Google Analytics. Unless you properly tag your ads in Facebook Ads Manager, all of your Facebook traffic will be mixed together between paid and organic in Google analytics. Not to mention you won’t be able to drill down any further than source.

What Is A UTM Tag?

UTM stands for urchin tracking module and is nothing more than the format used by Google to track unique URL’s. If you’re using Google Analytics for your website every time you setup something that has a clickable URL, you should be tagging it with the UTM tags. For more information check out Google’s URL Builder. If your organic Facebook post has a link, tag it. If you send out an email, tag all the links. The naming convention is entirely up to you, but these are the UTM parameters Google reads (what you do with them is your choice):

Campaign Source: Required field and used to identify where the click came from (Facebook, Google)

Campaign Medium: Used to identify the type of source (email, CPM, CPC)

Campaign Name: Used as the first layer of identifying the traffic source.

Campaign Term: Intended to track the keyword in paid search, but can also be used as a second layer from campaign to further identify the traffic source.

Campaign Content: Used as a third layer for identifying the traffic source

Here’s what a UTM tag looks like:

utm_source=source&utm_medium=medium&utm_campaign=campaign&utm_keyword=keyword&utm_content=content

The initial UTM can start with either a ? or a & depending on your URL setup. This is where it can get a little confusing and where mistakes are made. If there is already a ? in the URL somewhere, the first UTM start with an & just like the following UTM’s. If there is no ? in the URL before the UTM tag, start with ? before the first UTM.

How To Add UTM Tags To Facebook:

First, all your URL tracking in Facebook will be at the ad level.

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View Tag:

If you’re running a tracking system like Doubleclick or another attribution software that will track ad impressions, there is where you would put the tag.

URL Parameters:

This is where the UTM tag will go. There are two ways to do this. Either you can build it yourself or you can use the Facebook “Build A URL Parameter.” If you click the link you’ll see the following to build your URL parameter:

Last year Facebook introduced dynamic parameters to help with the tagging. These work similar to value track with Google Ads. If you click into each one of the boxes you have the choice to either pick a dynamic parameter or enter your own. To the right are the dynamic parameters you get to choose from. As you fill in the boxes on the bottom you’ll see what it looks like. You also have the choice to add your own parameters if there is another tracking program you uses. Maybe you use Salesforce to keep track of your leads and have custom parameters setup.

One thing to note that we’ve learned the hard way. For any other source you typically add the ? or & to start your UTM tag. Do not add that in Facebook. For some reason they automatically take care of this. If you add it yourself it won’t track properly. if your used to setting up UTM tags regularly this can be challenging to break your normal habit. I know it has been for me.

Conclusion:

Be sure and track all your marketing channels correctly in Google Analytics. This allows you to gain deeper insights into where your sales and leads are really coming from. Don’t just remember UTM tags in Facebook. Remember them for all marketing channels. The better your tag, the cleaner and more accurate your data will be in Google Analytics.

Why Am I See This Facebook Ad?

Facebook is continuing its momentum in the area of transparency for its users. Over time they have been adding more information on what and why advertisers are doing and why ads are being shown to certain people. Now they are expanding the same functionality to organic posts.

Why Am I Seeing This Post?

Back in 2014 Facebook released a “why am I seeing this ad?” tool. For any sponsored post in your news feed you can click the three dots in the upper right side of the ad and click why am I seeing this ad? On March 31st Facebook announced updates to this tool and the addition of “why am I seeing this post”? Facebook is rolling out the same transparency for why we see certain ads in our news feed to why each post is in our news feed.

Here’s what it will look:

Here’s what you’ll be able to see according to Facebook:

Why you’re seeing a certain post in your News Feed — for example, if the post is from a friend you made, a Group you joined, or a Page you followed.

What information generally has the largest influence over the order of posts, including: (a) how often you interact with posts from people, Pages or Groups; (b) how often you interact with a specific type of post, for example, videos, photos or links; and (c) the popularity of the posts shared by the people, Pages and Groups you follow.

Shortcuts to controls, such as See FirstUnfollowNews Feed Preferences and Privacy Shortcuts, to help you personalize your News Feed.

Why Am I Seeing This Ad?

Since Facebook launched this took back in 2014 you’ve been able to see basic demographic details, which interests and website visits contributed to the ads you are seeing.

Here’s what it looks like now:

 
facebook ad information
 

Now Facebook will be adding additional details like when the advertiser uploaded the information used for a lookalike or customer audience as well as information about the advertiser or if the advertiser worked with a marketing agency to run the ads.

Here’s what the update will look like:

what-am-i-seeing-this-ad-v1.png

What’s Next For Facebook?

Since Facebook has been under intense scrutiny for their data handling, they have been leading the charge on internet transparency. In the past year they have been removing and updating advertiser targeting options, removed all third-party data providers, and have been giving more information on why ads and posts are in your news feed. This is likely to continue across the web and Google and Amazon will likely start to follow.

Update: Instagram Release, Now You Can Add Polls To Stories Ads

Roughly two years ago Instagram released the ability to add interactive elements to Instagram Stories. According to Instagram, now 500 million Instagram accounts are using Stories every day. If you’ve been running Facebook or Instagram ads for any business recently, you’ve likely tested running stories ads. Well 60% of businesses every month are using interactive elements in their organic stories posts. Now these businesses have the opportunity to expand their exposure to these interactive elements using Instagram ads.

What are Interactive elements In Instagram Stories?

The interactive elements according to Instagram are poll stickers, @mentions, or hashtags.

Poll Stickers

Polls allow you to write a question in the story and have answers the viewer can choose from. When you post your followers can vote and you can see real time results. There are a lot of uses for these that are fun and engaging. We’ve had multiple clients use them for product votes. For example, two t-shirt brands we work with run these to decide which t-shirt designs they should produce. They will design between 3-5 variations and let their followers vote for which they like best. The winning design will move onto production. Being able to run ads to these polls will be a great way to increase the number of votes and build exposure to the products.

According to Instagram In 9 out of 10 beta campaigns, the polling sticker increased 3-second video views

Hashtag Stickers

When you create your story you can choose to show multiple hashtags directly on the story that are interactive. When viewers watch the story they’ll be able to tap the hashtag you enter and view the page for that hashtag.

@ Mentions

@Mentions work just like hashtag stickers. Integrate them into your story and users can tap the mentions to go directly to the page.

For more information on Instagram Stories for business check out Instagram.

Contact RelayPM if you’re interested in Instagram Story ads and we’ll work with you to make them successful for your business.

Facebook Pixel Update Explained: What Is A First Party Cookie?

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If you run any Facebook advertising you've likely gotten an email in the past few weeks with information on a pixel update.  Here's what it says:

Important Facebook Pixel Update

Hi Tom,

On October 24, Facebook will begin offering businesses a first-party cookie option with the Facebook pixel. This change is in line with updates made by other online platforms, as use of first-party cookies for ads and site analytics is becoming the preferred approach by some browsers.

Businesses have long relied on cookies to serve ads to relevant audiences and understand visits to their sites. Up until now, Facebook has used its pixel — powered by third-party cookies — for website analytics, ad targeting, and ad measurement. This new option will also help advertisers, publishers, and developers continue to get accurate analytics about traffic to their websites.

Businesses can opt out of first-party cookies by updating their pixel settings in Events Manager.

The controls people have over ads on Facebook in Ads Preferences will not change. Our Business Tools Terms also still require businesses to clearly disclose how they use cookies and share data collected on their sites with third parties, so we recommend businesses review their cookie-related disclosures. To learn more about this update, visit the Help Center.

You are registered as an admin of these Facebook Ad Accounts which have Facebook pixels:

None. You aren't registered as an admin of a Facebook Ad Account that owns a pixel. Please check any pixels associated with your Business Manager account.

Thanks,

The Facebook Ads Team

What does this mean for you?

For years now since the inception of cookies most ad and analytics platforms use third-party cookies, but recently certain browsers have blocked or announced plans to block third-party cookies because of all the data privacy concerns that have been circulating.  Facebook's latest update is not only in line with their privacy issues, but also on popular browsers.

Let's start from the beginning.

What is a browser cookie?

A cookie is just a small text file that is dropped on your device (typically browser) when you visit a website.  There are many uses for cookies: saved logins, shopping carts, game scores, user profiles, analytics, advertising, ad frequency capping, ad targeting and retargeting.  There is nothing inherently wrong with cookies, but they can be used for shady purposes in regards to user data.  Imagine every time you add a product to your shopping cart on an e-commerce website, you then close your browser and open it back up.  Without cookies you would lose what was in your shopping cart every time.  Imagine logging onto your email app and every single time typing your user-name and password.  That data is all stored through the use of cookies.  

Cookies simplify and customize your web experience.  This also allows advertisers to better target products and services.  This can be as simple as only showing ads regarding pregnancy products to women vs men.

What is the difference between a first-party cookie and a third-party cookie?

From a technical standpoint there is no difference in how they work or the data they can track.  First-party cookies are issues directly by the website a user is visiting while third-party cookies are created by someone else.  For example, if you visited amazon.com and they cookied your browser to track your shopping behavior that would be a first-party cookie.  If they were using a Facebook pixel, historically a Facebook owned cookie would be dropped in your browser.  That's a third-party cookie because you visited Amazon.com, not Facebook.com.  

From a user standpoint, it's difficult to know who's doing what with your data.  Cookies can be blocked as well through private/incognito windows, Safari and Firefox by default blocks third-party cookies, most browsers allow you to customize cookie settings, software to block cookies, and ad blockers.  Relying on third-party cookies is becoming more of a challenge as these blockers are increasing in usage based on the media bringing light to privacy concerns and not necessarily doing the best job in explaining.

Because cookies store user data they have been recognized as a threat to user privacy.  Recently there was a lot of talk about the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Europe which took effect on May 25th this year.  You'll notice a lot of websites you go to now have a privacy/cookie policy announcement which is as a result of this initiative.  

Now back to Facebook the and recent notification all advertising account admins are getting about the latest pixel update to first-party cookies.  The primary driver of this changes is Safari and Firefox changing how they handle third-party cookies where they are automatically blocked, but you can manually opt into them.  This potentially resulted in a lot of lost data for Facebook advertisers.  Facebook switching to first-party cookies eliminates that issue as well as many privacy concerns users may have.  Google and Microsoft already made the change earlier this year.  

How does the Facebook first-party cookie solution work?

When a user clicks on a Facebook served ad a unique string gets added to the URL.  If there are pixels on the website that are opted in to share first-party cookie data with Facebook, the URL parameter will get written into the browser as a first-party cookie.  In the events manager on Facebook ads you'll be able to manage this setting and opt out if you'd like.  This officially launches on October 24th. For the vast majority of advertisers receiving this notification, there is no further action needed.  You may even see improvements in the retargeting data.



If you’d like more information on this or any help with Facebook advertising and pixel management calls us or send us a message. We’re here to help.

Final Notice: Facebook Partner Categories, Less Than 2 Weeks Left

The final notification has been sent and the days are numbered with less than 2 weeks left to use Facebook partner categories.

Facebook partner categories announcement.png

For those Facebook advertisers that have either been living under a rock for the past 6 months or have just pretended the announcement didn't happen, we're officially only days away from partner categories being completely gone from Facebook advertising.  Facebook gave us until August 15 to create new ad sets using these targeting options, but as of October 1, no ad sets will deliver to partner categories.  

Since 2013 Facebook has provided access to customer data provided by a select group of third-party partners.  Here is the official list pulled from Facebook:

  • Acxiom, which can provide data from Australia, France, Germany, the UK and the US

  • Acxiom Japan, which can provide data from Japan.

  • CCC Marketing, which can provide data from Japan.

  • Epsilon, which can provide data from the US

  • Experian, which can provide data from Australia, Brazil, the UK and the US

  • Oracle Data Cloud (formerly Datalogix), which can provide data from the UK and the US

  • Quantium, which can provide data from Australia

While there were hundreds of different targeting options that came from these, some of the most popular were: in-market car buyers, purchase history, financial data (income and net worth), likely to move and job roles.  Depending on what you advertise on Facebook you will hear of varying degrees of success.  For example, if you are an auto dealer you are likely feeling this the most. You could literally target people in marketing for a new Honda.  That's going to be difficult to replicate.  If you are a real estate agent or mortgage broker, while you could target those likely to move competition was extremely high and the performance wasn't always great.  

One thing many advertisers didn't know about the third party data is you were paying for its usage.  Just like when you mail postcards or run programmatic advertising using this data, there is a data fee Facebook is passing on. One advantage you might see now is lower CPM's when you are unable to use the partner categories.

No matter what level of success you did have, it will soon be over.  Here are your 3 options moving forward:

  1. This data is still available for programmatic advertising through many vendors, but more than likely you will have a hard time getting anywhere near the results that you had on Facebook. 

  2. There are ways to buy this data from Acxiom, Experian and Oracle, but it gets expensive.  To get a list of 100k people which would be a small list compared to what many advertisers were targeting on Facebook, will cost anywhere from $15-25k.  Could that be the last resort?  Yeah, likely. 

  3. The best option (our opinion) now and that's testing other targeting options within Facebook.  Many advertisers using third party data targeting have already begun this process as soon as the changed was announced by Facebook.

If you've started testing with limited success or you haven't begun yet, before you panic.  Let's start with a simple question.  Facebook as a company is driven entirely by advertising revenue.  If Facebook thought there was going to be a mass exodus of advertising dollars would they have voluntarily done this?  Probably not.  Their data likely shows a couple of different things:

  • A small portion of Facebook's overall ad revenue was from advertisers campaigns using third party data targeting

  • Their targeting options have improved enough since 2013 when they added third-party data targeting in the first place that they don't see the same need anymore

  • Facebook's algorithm has improved (which we know it has) to find the right target audience for advertisers and continue increasing performance based on that

Yes likely some advertisers will leave Facebook, but not many and mostly just smaller advertisers and many that were either self-managed or managed by marketers that don't really know what they were doing.  Now it's time to think outside of the box.

Here are some ideas:

  • If you were targeting "Likely to move" here are just a sample of other options for Facebook interest targeting: Mortgage calculator, Keller Williams Realty, House Hunting, Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia.  There are dozens more just as good.  Think in terms of "if I were looking to buy a house, what else would I be interested in?"

  • If you were targeting in marketing car buying behavior here are some options for Facebook interest targeting: used car, car dealership, consumer reports, Honda (plus a variety of exact models), Motor Trend.  Again, what other things would you be interested in while doing research to buy a car?

Facebook targeting options.png

While there are many more to get into, my goal is really just to spark a mindset change from the obvious to the less obvious, but just as good.  Yeah, wouldn't it be great if we knew the exact people that are today looking to buy a Honda Accord.  You also have to think that every Honda dealer you compete with also has access to the same targeting.  We have to get more creative as marketers which will separate the experts from the followers and also drive a competitive advantage that you didn't have before.

At RelayPM we were only using partner categories for about 10% of our Facebook budget and we only have one client using them still, but we've already honed in on some other audiences that work just as good.  If you need any help with your advertising and would like us to review please reach out.  

Which Facebook Metrics Are Going Bye-Bye?

Some of you may have recently noticed a little information bar running across the top of your screen in Facebook Ads Manager and Power Editor

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Initially, Facebook’s phrase "removing some metrics" comes off as a bit of a surprise. However, no one should really be alarmed. Yes, they are taking away some metrics, but only ones that are redundant and can still be measured by other metrics remaining in Facebook. Below we will go through each metric Facebook is removing and discuss what alternative we recommend. 

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Actions, People Taking Action, Cost per Any Action:

The Actions metric is a composite of various actions and events such as engagement, clicks or conversions. Recently, Facebook has been adding more and more actions that people can take on an ad. Therefore, the Actions metric is becoming less relevant. We recommend customizing your own composite metric reflecting actions that are meaningful to your business

Amount Spent Today:

We recommend using the dynamic date selector on the top right of Ads Manager and Power Editor. You can then click on "Today" and use the Amount Spent metric. 

Button Clicks:

Currently, this metric shows the number of times people clicked the call-to-action button on your ad. These clicks are also reflected in the Link Clicks, Event Responses and Offers Saved metrics. 

Canvas Component Time Percentage:

Overall, this metric hasn't been very popular. However, if you do use it, Canvas View Time and Canvas View Percentage metrics can be a helpful alternative. 

Carousel Card:

Now, this one comes as a bit of a surprise. Facebook says "We're no longer supporting the Carousel Card breakdown for conversion metrics (ex: Website Conversions) and for any calculated metrics such as CTR because these insights have been infrequently used." When running a carousel ad, we do like to reflect on which cards are performing better by looking at the highest CTR or most purchases, etc. Facebook is leaving the ability to see Link Clicks by each Carousel Card, and you can still see overall conversion results without the card breakdown. 

Link Click Destination:

Facebook has had some trouble with deep links and backup link destinations. Alternatives are Outbound Clicks and Landing Page Views that can measure which clicks lead people to destinations off Facebook.  In the future, Facebook plans to explore other ways of providing more granular app deep link or app store destination insights.

Mobile App Actions Conversion Value:

We recommend using specific app event conversion values such as Mobile App Purchase Conversion Value.

Page Mentions, Cost per Page Mention:

Because these metrics are not as relevant anymore, they are not very helpful to understand positive or negative sentiment towards your brand. Alternatives to seeing the success of a Page Likes campaign are Page Likes and Page Engagement.

Page Tab Views, Cost per Page Tab View:

This metric measures the number of views of tabs on your Facebook Page that are attributed to your ads. Similar, to Page Mentions, there is a better way to see success of a Page Likes campaign and that is through Page Likes and Page Engagement.

Positive Feedback, Negative Feedback:

This metric is already incorporated into the Relevance Score metric. Instead of breaking them out positively and negatively, which can sometimes be confusing, Facebook is just sticking with the Relevance Score. 

Social Reach, Social Impressions, Social Clicks (All), Unique Social Clicks  (All):

These metrics show the number of people who saw an ad when displayed with social information. Facebook has said "The Social Reach metric isn't meaningfully different from the Reach and Impressions metrics and the insights provided aren't actionable, since advertisers don't have control over when ads are/aren't shown with social information." Overall, we’re not losing too much on this one. We recommend forgetting about the social aspect and sticking to Reach and Impressions to evaluate campaign performance. 

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How do you feel about losing some of these Facebook metrics? Is it just a healthy Facebook update? Or are you dreading the start of July 2018? 

Our team at RelayPM understands the impact of this update, especially if you are using these metrics for analysis and reporting. 

We are excited to see the forward direction Facebook is moving. “Measure What Matters” is a program Facebook is launching in March to help marketers learn more about measurement principles. One track will offer programming for branding oriented campaigns and another will focus on measurement for direct response campaigns. This program will be offered on the Facebook Business website and on Facebook Live and in-person events.