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:

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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.

Move With the Times: 5 eCommerce Trends You Must Embrace in 2019

Right now, people love buying things online, and you can expect web-based businesses to grow. 

If you run your own company and want to keep up, there are certain eCommerce trends that you need to embrace. The more you learn about winning at e-commerce, the more success you'll get. 

Use these strategies so that you can use the 2019-approved strategies that will propel you. 

1. Embrace a Mix of Online and Offline Strategies

The lines between offline and e-commerce strategies will continue to blur in 2019. 

Expect department stores to have online initiatives that send people to stores. People will sign up for e-mail lists that offer in-store savings and will place online orders for same-day pickups. 

The more you think about ways to blur this line, the more successful you'll be as an e-commerce company this year. 

2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) Will Become More Important and Common

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the fastest growing forms of e-commerce. 

Not only does this technology help your company learn and adapt to new strategies, but it also improves your customer service. For instance, you can use AI to figure out which items you need to keep in high supply. This reduces your overhead costs and helps you to better provide for your clientele. 

Embracing AI also gives you the chance to incorporate chatbots that handle all sorts of customer service conversations. AI spending is expected to hit $7 billion soon, so getting ahead of the curve will be valuable. 

3. Voice Shopping Will Grow

People today are shopping now by using their voice. 

By using your phone voice search platform, you can scour the web for all sorts of information. Expect this to lead to streamlined shopping with a few voice commands. 

When you use this technology in your business, you make life easier for your customer, which can improve your sales. 

4. Content Becomes Incredibly Important

If you want to succeed with e-commerce, you need to also be creating content. 

By becoming an authority on the world you operate in, people will be more likely to shop with you. Something as simple as starting a vlog and posting to it faithfully can improve your sales margins. 

5. VR Will Be Useful

Finally, using virtual reality will be a great way to improve people's shopping experience. 

You can use it to help people envision themselves wearing outfits or adding a fixture to their household. This technology will keep taking off in the coming years, so finding a way to use it in your business will be valuable. 

Make Use of These eCommerce Trends

If you use these eCommerce trends you'll be taken care of. 

Expect technology and business practices to keep growing by leaps and bounds. The more you look into these trends, the easier it will be for you to make the changes that matter the most. 

Improving your company by hopping on these proven trends will help you get an edge on your competition. 

When you contact us, you can get all that you need out of your e-commerce. 

The Time Has Come: Bing Ads Has Taken Over Yahoo Search

As of April 1, 2019 Bing search ads took over all advertisements on Yahoo Search. For further details on the transition read our blog post from January Yahoo Search Ads: Where Are They Now? If you were of the small percentage of advertisers manager ads directly through the Oath Ads Manager (Verizon’s name for Yahoo Search Ads), this is a relief as you now have one less platform to manage. Not to mention Bing Ads is a far more advanced platform than Oath was.

The most recent data according to Statista is that Bing handled just under 25% of all search queries in the United States and Oath (formerly Yahoo) handled just under 12%. This now gives Bing a boost to handling search ads for roughly 35% of all searches in the United States. In International markets Yahoo is a bigger search engine than Bing. If you have run Bing Ads for countries outside the United States you know how small their market share was internationally. This should help give them a boost.

What Are Your Next Steps?

  1. If you were running search ads through Oath you should have already transferred everything over to Bing before March 31st with your account rep

  2. If you are still only running search ads on Google, this change will give Bing Ads more traffic and increase the value of taking the time to manage another platform. Read our blog about Bing ads if you are unsure.

  3. Look for both a potential dip in your Google search ad impressions and an increase in your Bing search ad impressions. Be ready for a potential 10-15% budget increase. Remember, Yahoo was using both Bing and Google prior to April 1, 2019 for their advertisements.

  4. If you run campaigns outside the United States on Google, but not on Bing because their international search volume was insignificant, it may be worth testing this out again.

In Bing Ads you can segment by network, but they combine Bing & Yahoo search together. Maybe now that they are taking over all of Yahoo search they will change this to allow for further segmentation and management across the two networks.

On the few test searches we’ve done on Yahoo since the transition this month, Bing is showing 5 ads above the organic results on many queries. Even when Bing shows 3-4 results they are showing 5 on Yahoo. We’ll continue to keep an eye on this as they will likely be testing.

If you have any questions or would like us to manage Google or Bing ads for your company, feel free to call or send us a message.

Bing Ads Custom Audiences: Worth The Effort For Some

Bing Ads recently rolled out custom audiences across all advertisers is most markets after nearly 2 years in beta. According to Bing:

Custom Audiences can help you anticipate your customers’ needs and reach them with the right message. You can bid more aggressively for those high-value customers, whether you’re helping them complete a purchase or you’re upselling or cross-selling. The more you know about your customers, the better you can target — and more precise targeting can help you achieve a greater return on ad spend (ROAS). Our pilot participants saw up to 18 percent higher click-through rates (CTR).1 The sky is the limit for how you can manage your own customers’ activity, purchases and behavior via CRM tools.

Bing took a different approach than Google Ads Customer Match significantly limiting the number of advertisers that can utilize their custom audiences. Where in Google Ads you can upload a list directly into your account, with Bing Ads you can only integrate through a DMP partner. Currently, there are direct integrations with Adobe Audience Manager, LiveRamp and Oracle BlueKai. What if you don’t now work with one of these three data providers? Well, you can’t use Bing Ads Custom Audiences unless you choose to start working with one of the DMP’s.

Why Would Bing Ads Take This Approach?

Forcing you to work with one of Bing’s DMP partners likely removes at least 75% of their advertisers from being able to use their custom audiences. The vast majority of changes Bing has made to their search advertising program in recent years has been to simplify the process to increase the number of direct advertisers that are on Bing.

The hot topic in the past year has been around data privacy. Facebook especially has been under a microscope when it comes to this subject. Unfortunately, this has caused them to make many changes to their platform to continue to be a trusted platform for their customers. With so much focus being on Facebook, Google and Bing have been escaping much of the scrutiny… for now. Bing most likely is approaching custom audiences in this way to avoid any data privacy questioning. Google and Facebook allow you to upload a list of contact information that in reality, you can get from anywhere. There is no verification that it’s actually your data to use. We can make a reasonable assumption that eventually Facebook and Google will have to tighten up their custom audience program to be more secure like Bing Ads is.

Custom Audiences Across Bing Ads & Google Ads Isn’t For Most Advertisers

Facebook has done an impressive job making advertising towards custom audiences work well for large and small audiences. Google and Bing custom audiences are mostly designed for businesses with tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of customers. Where Facebook can easily matchup 90%+ of your customer profiles and the only requirement for those customers to see your ads is they need to be on Facebook or Instagram, that covers a much larger pool of people. Google and Bing have much lower match up rates when you target a specific customer list. Not only that, once there is a match up, that person has to search for a keyword you are actively bidding on.

With Bing having a much smaller part of the search market than Google, you need an even larger customer base to capture those actively searching on Bing.

What Are The Next Steps?

If you’re currently working with one of the DMP’s mentioned above there are instructions for setting up the custom audiences in Bing Ads here. If you’re not now working with one of those DMP’s most likely it isn’t worth your time and effort to enter into this program. If you would to check it out the links above will take you to each of the partner DMP’s to get more information on the program.

Otherwise, feel free to send us a message for more information.

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 Ads Frequency Capping : Everything You Need To Know

Does it sometimes feel like you see the same Facebook ad over and over again? Do you wonder if other people feel that way about your Facebook ads?

If you’ve done any display or video advertising before, frequency is a commonly used metric and has been for many years. In the world of advertising frequency is the number of times a unique individual saw your advertising. The method Facebook uses to calculate this number is impressions divided by reach. Impressions is the number of times your ad is shown and reach is the number of people that see your ads.

At RelayPM, we work primarily with performance driven advertisers and while we monitor ad frequency, we don’t typically report this number to clients. However, if you’re running branding campaigns on Facebook this is a commonly used metric to track performance. Recently a client of ours was concerned our frequency was too high because it felt like they were constantly seeing their own ads. We put together this article to clear up the information.

Most of the research out there, and if you have ever taken a marketing or advertising class you would be taught this, is that people need to see an advertisement more than once. There is also a law of diminishing return where if you continue to show someone the same ad after so many times if they haven’t taken an action, they aren’t going to. Across all advertising mediums (not just Facebook) generally the consensus from research is somewhere in the realm of 3-7 ad exposures per person is ideal.

A study last year was done by Social Media Today where they looked at data across 10,000 ads and calculated cost per acquisition based on ad frequency. Their data shows the peak ad frequency is shown to be between 1.8 and 4 views on average. See the full article here.

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Can A High Ad Frequency On Facebook Negatively Impact You?

The primary place that ad frequency comes into play with your advertising is with the relevancy score. Facebook users can submit ad feedback on what they are seeing. If they see the same ads over and over again they may choose to let Facebook know. Negative feedback can impact your relevancy score which can drive up the cost you pay to advertise on Facebook. This is something you should keep an eye on in your account. If you see your relevancy scores declining as your frequency increases, you should definitely address this.

Can An Advertiser Control Their Ad Frequency On Facebook?

As mentioned earlier, if you’re used to running traditional video or display advertising, in the vast majority of cases you have complete control over your ad frequency. Unfortunately with Facebook this isn’t the case. If you look at the campaign objectives in Facebook, most of them you cannot control your ad frequency.

If you want to control your ad frequency you must run a reach or brand awareness campaign objective. The campaign types below show which you can control frequency on, but they are all part of the reach or brand awareness campaign objective.

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Here’s what the option looks like on your ad set settings:

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What are some ways to limit frequency for other campaign types?

Facebook’s primary responsibility is to keep their users coming back. If their users get annoyed by their feed, the may lose them. One of the ways Facebook helps with this is since their inception they’ve always limited the frequency of ads automatically. According to a Facebook rep: your page’s fans can see your ad up to 4 times a day, and non-fans could be exposed to an ad up to 2 times a day. Keep in mind this is per ad set. To help limit per advertiser, a person will not see ads from a single page more than once every 2 hours on Facebook and for Instagram a person won’t seen an ad from the same advertiser more than once every 3 hours.

Audience size also plays a major factor in your ad frequency. You’ll notice in most cases the small the audience you’re targeting, the higher than ad frequency will be. Facebook recommends targeting audiences between 1 and 3 million users to help limit frequency.

If you have any other questions about Facebook ad types or ad frequency, feel free to send us a message and we would be happy to help.

Bing Ads: Are They Worth the Trouble?

While Google is the most popular search engine on the web, believe it or not, a pretty good amount of people use other search engines as well. One of these is Bing.

If you're advertising your goods or services online using paid search marketing, also known as pay per click (PPC) advertising, then you may want to consider using Bing Ads for some of your efforts. Despite a lower user base, there are enough people using Bing to make it worth your while.

Bing also offers some advantages for advertisers compared to Google.

Below we'll tell you about some of the advantages of advertising with Bing and why it may just be worth the trouble after all.

1. Cheaper and Less Competitive

One of the best things about using Bing Ads is that not many other marketers are. This means that there will be less competition for you and it also means that Bing offers lower costs per click (CPC).

If you're a business that is advertising on a budget, then you'll likely find it much easier to manage your costs with Bing than you would with Google AdWords, which can sometimes be pretty pricey.

2. Higher Conversion Rates

Perhaps because Bing users are less computer savvy, higher conversion rates are common with Bing Ad campaigns as well. Users are more likely to click and convert on Bing Ads than with Google AdWords campaigns. Because of this, if you're serious about trying to optimize your conversion rates, then you may want to consider using Bing instead

This is a big benefit because even though there may not be as much traffic overall with Bing, the traffic that does see your ad will be more likely to convert or become a customer in the end.

3. Better Targeting Features

While Google AdWords does have quite a bit of targeting features and options for optimizing and tweaking campaigns there are places where Google could improve. Luckily, Bing picks up the slack exactly where many of the Google AdWords issues are.

For example, with Bing, you'll have much more control at both the campaign level and at the ad group level. You'll be able to target location, scheduling, language and network settings in both areas.

Additionally, with Bing, you'll also have more extensive options for choosing what devices to target and what search demographics you want your ads to be shown to. 

4. More Search Partner Control

With Bing, you'll also have more control over search partner settings. While Google gives you the option to show ads on search engine results pages (SERPs) only or on SERPS and search partners, Bing offers you the option to choose one or the other, or both.

This can be a huge plus for businesses who find that their ads fare well on search partner pages but not so well in search engine results.

5. A New Traffic Source

Another reason you may want to consider using Bing Ads in addition to Google AdWords is simply that it opens up new options for who you can target with your advertising campaigns.

Typically, the average internet user chooses a search engine and sticks with it. This means that if you've been running your ads on Google for a long time, many people will have likely seen your ad multiple times before. If you want to reach completely fresh faces, using Bing is a great way to do it since the audiences will overlap very little.

Deciding If Bing Ads Are Right For Your Business

While many businesses will want to use Google AdWords, there are cases where Bing Ads can make a good choice as well, particularly when used in conjunction with Google ads.

You'll want to consider the advantages listed above carefully when deciding if Bing is right for you. Make sure you do some testing and experimenting with both ad networks before you make the final call.

Looking for help with your eCommerce marketing strategy? Contact us today to learn more about what we can do for you.

Google Ads Smart Shopping: How Smart Are They?

What are smart shopping campaigns?

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On May 3, 2018 Google Ads announced a new type of shopping campaign, called Smart Shopping. Continuing on their path of releasing new products driven by machine learning, Smart Shopping campaigns allow you to hand over your shopping ad management to the machines. At the root of the product, what separates them the most from traditional shopping campaigns is that the ads don’t just run on Google search, they also run on Youtube, Google display network & gmail. As we continually see in eCommerce product touch points are increasing and this product takes advantage of that.

The second feature that separates Smart Shopping from traditional shopping campaigns is that they are fully automated. While there could have been an option for Google to expand shopping campaigns to enable the advertiser to choose to expand the networks the ads run on, they chose not to. We would love to see this feature added in the future.

The third feature is that because they also run on the display network, Google chose to include remarketing (with no opt out). The intention is that you no longer need to run Shopping and Remarketing campaigns, only Smart Shopping.

That all sounds pretty good doesn’t it?

What are the downsides to smart shopping campaigns?

Smart shopping campaigns are a black box. The advertiser gets no insight into whether the ads ran on search, display network or gmail. All you see is "cross-network” for placement data. There is also no audience data shared. How much of your budget is being spent on remarketing? No idea and no way to find out.

You cannot do any of the following with Smart Shopping campaigns:

  1. Add negative keywords

  2. Change location targeting (feed runs in country targeted in the merchant center)

  3. Adjust bids by device

  4. Change ad scheduling

  5. Do anything with audiences

What can the advertiser control?

The advertiser can still see product level performance data which is great, but there’s nothing you can do with the data. When you setup the campaign you get to choose your shopping feed, a budget and ad text. The default bidding type is maximize conversion value, but you can choose a target ROAS if you please.

Here is what the ad setup looks like:

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Can any advertiser run smart shopping campaigns?

The requirements to run Smart Shopping campaigns are:

  1. You must have conversion tracking installed and passing revenue data

  2. You must have the remarketing global site tag installed

  3. You must have at least 20 conversions over the last 45 days across existing shopping campaigns

  4. You need an audience lists of more than 100 users

How do smart shopping campaigns perform?

This is what we’ve all been waiting for isn’t it?

There are certain clients we have tested this on in the past 6 months. You have to be careful because smart shopping campaigns are shown before traditional shopping campaigns. Even though you technically can have both on at the same time, your traditional shopping campaigns will receive almost no impressions.

What we have seen is that half of the clients we’ve tested smart shopping with, we have continued to run long term. Here is one example:

smart shopping results.png

The results above are over a 30 day period. Traditional shopping campaigns ran for the first 15 and smart shopping for the ladder 15 days. As you can see the cost per conversion dropped from $47.60 to $19.06. What’s interesting is you see similar conversion rates, but the cost per click is dramatically lower on smart shopping. That’s because the Google display network is less expensive to run ads on.

We also have cases where the cost per conversion is almost the same, we have cases where the cost per conversion dropped the same amount, but we lost too much volume and we have cases where the cost per conversion increased. Just like any other advertising products in Google ads: test, test, test.

What else should you know?

The most difficult piece in a real controlled test between traditional shopping and smart shopping is the retargeting portion. At Relay PM, we all but phased out running display retargeting on Google for clients because we’ve seen much better performance with Facbeook ads. It’s difficult to factor that into the campaign performance. The analysis can get complex.

Conclusion

For many advertisers we highly recommend testing this feature. Be aware of all the pros and cons. Be aware it includes retargeting. Understand in most cases you’ll never be able to have a real controlled test. There are too many pieces of data Google doesn’t share.

As we’re able to bring in more data we’ll continue to update this article. Please feel free to message us with any questions.

If you’re looking to test shopping campaigns, let us know.

Yahoo Search Ads: Where Are They Now?

In recent years there’s been constant changes to how pay per click ads are served on Yahoo search. We frequently get the question from clients: what happened to Yahoo, can we still advertise there? For the past few years the short answer has been “you already are.” Yahoo has been serving a mix of Google and/or Bing search ads for the last few years. The caveat here is technically yes, Yahoo has had it’s own search platform where you could buy ads directly through Yahoo Gemini.

In the middle of 2017 Yahoo was acquired by Verizon. It took them a little over a year to make any major changes to their advertising and in the fall of last year they launched Oath. Essentially the combined Brightroll, AOL, & Yahoo advertising options into one. Visit Oath to see more information on their new opportunities. You now have native, search, DSP and exchange buying opportunities. The idea is to compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. Read more here about the launch of Oath.

At RelayPM, we tested a few advertisers directly on Yahoo Gemini in recent years, but each time we found that all we were doing was moving those placements from Google & Bing over to Yahoo. In the end we gained no traffic, in most cases paid more and had to manage a third platform. To top it off it was not an easy platform to work with.

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Currently, if you login to your Bing Ads account you can segment by network and see AOL along with Bing & Yahoo search for placement data. (see image). When Yahoo first launched Gemini and was separating from Google and Bing, they struggled getting enough advertisers to move over and it’s been a challenge for years. Like us, most advertisers didn’t see the benefit of managing an entirely separate platform for what we were getting out of it.

This week many in the pay per click advertising industry got what they were hoping for. Search traffic on Yahoo will be completely managed through Bing search ads. See the full press release below.

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This announcement should come as a relief to those in the industry. If you have any questions on this migration and are still running search ads through Yahoo Gemini/Oath please direct them to your Bing rep or feel free to message us anytime on our website. We’ll be happy to help. The migration will begin on March 15, 2019 so you still have plenty of time.

There will be a couple things to look for in the coming months especially if you are not currently running Yahoo Gemini/Oath or even Bing ads. Monitor your traffic on Google for any potential decreases. No one has ever really known exactly how much of Yahoo search ads were served by Google. If you are running Bing ads and Google ads, monitor for any traffic decreases on Google and check to see if you gain those impressions on Bing. Maybe the segment report will begin to break out Bing and Yahoo which would be ideal. It’s always been odd they separate AOL, but combine Bing and Yahoo search networks as one. It’s never made much sense.

Let us know what you see in your accounts.

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.