How to future-proof your Facebook marketing against the latest news feed changes (Jan 2018) with the pixel and other optimizations

How to future-proof your Facebook marketing against the latest news feed changes (Jan 2018) with the pixel and other optimizations
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When it comes to Facebook Marketing as well in life, there are things we can and cannot control. This article will go into a few technical aspects on how to future-proof your Facebook marketing efforts. The following tips are ideas to consider to ensure your technical Facebook marketing fundamentals are strong to help weather any external changes on the platform outside of your control.

There is a lot to be said for creating engaging content, fostering conversation and providing value to the system (as Jon Loomer explores in his post), but I will talk more about the technical aspects that could give your site/content an edge by using/implementing:


Introduction

On Jan 11th, 2018,  Facebook announced changes to its News Feed ranking system to support Mark Zuckerberg’s vision to “help people stay connected and bring us closer together with the people that matter to us” which ultimately means we can “expect to see more from your friends, family and groups.”

Over the next few weeks, Facebook’s news feed will start showing fewer news articles, and less marketing content and ads – Fortune Magazine

To account for these changes to the newsfeed we need to ensure that our site and approach to Facebook marketing is optimal.  We need to look into:


High-Quality Signals (Pixel and App)

When you add the Facebook Pixel to your site, you are providing signals to Facebook to help you track and optimize your ads. These signals (i.e. pixel events and App Events) increase the efficiency of your ads by providing Facebook machine learning algorithms with food/data to deliver the most relevant ads to the best people. This means that there is less “wastage” of your marketing budget and should lead to lower costs for the marketer.

Putting: the Facebook Pixel onto your site (e.g. providing PageView events) and App Events (firing events within your native Android/iOS mobile apps) is a good first step in providing signals and ensuring that there is tracking on your site for your ads.

This is, however, not providing the highest-quality signals possible to Facebook to help its algorithm learn. Using Standard Events in the right places on your site to track people’s behaviour is the best way to provide the highest quality signals.

As of the date of writing this article, there are 9 Standard Events (for the pixel) and 13 App Events (Mobile Apps):

9 Standard Events – Pixel13 Standard Events* – App Events
  • ViewContent
  • AddToCart
  • Purchase
  • Lead
  • AddPaymentInfo
  • AddToWishlist
  • InitiateCheckout
  • CompleteRegistration
  • Search
  • ViewContent
  • AddToCart
  • Purchase
  • AddPaymentInfo
  • AddToWishlist
  • InitiateCheckout
  • CompleteRegistration
  • Search
  • Level Achieved
  • Tutorial Completion
  • Rate
  • Spent Credits
  • Achievement Unlocked

*actual names vary based on the SDK or API you will use. Refer to the docs

I recommend looking into key areas of your site that people take key actions and use these events (in addition to the PageView) to supplement your tracking when these actions are taken. These events must be applied within your Facebook Pixel code within your site/tag manager. For example, consider implementing:

  • ViewContent (when a person views a product), AddToCart (adds the product to the cart) and Purchase (buys the product) in your e-Commerce flow.
  • Search event on the search results page of your site
  • Lead on the confirmation page after a person enters their information to request more information from your company

For a broader discussion on this, see:


Advanced Matching

Part of Facebook’s strength is its people-based measurement where it is able to identify users across devices, browsers, platforms and channels. One way the pixel does so on desktop is that it is able to identify whether that the particular user visiting your site is logged into Facebook (via cookies), then it can tie that user back to any marketing activity.

If the user is not logged into Facebook, traditional methods (i.e. firing the PageView event) will not be able to tie it back to a particular user. For this use-case, we can use Advanced Matching: what this feature in the pixel allows you to do is pass in an identifier via the pixel as a parameter (the FB Pixel JS code will hash it with SHA-256 then transmit it) then it will try to match the user this way, irrespective of whether the user is logged into Facebook.

To increase the match rate among users and to provide the best signals for your marketing, Advanced Matching is highly recommended.

we have observed over 10% increase in attributed conversions and 20% increase in reach of retargeting campaigns – Facebook Marketing Blog

As of the date writing this article, Advanced Matching is pixel only.

For a broader discussion on this, see:


Facebook Delivery Optimization Products

Once the fundamentals are in place (e.g. optimal signals), using Facebook products that take advantage of these signals is key to unlocking value on the Facebook platform.

Each of these products warrants its own discussion (and there are more products that are being released by Facebook), but as a starting point look into:

  • Conversion Optimization: instead of optimizing for link clicks, it is highly recommended to optimize towards the conversion/ behavior people to take
  • App Engagement/App Event Optimization: “Facebook App Engagement ads help you increase actions in your mobile app. They’re designed to help you reach the people who have and use your mobile app, so you can encourage them to come back and take actions such as shopping, playing or booking travel. From an App Engagement ad, you can send people to a specific area in your app, such as a product page, travel search or the start of a game.”
  • App Install Ads: “Facebook App Install ads help you connect with the people who are more likely to install your app – and get more people actually using it”
  • Dynamic Ads: Facebook dynamic ads automatically promote your products, get leads or app installs to people who have expressed interest in your website/apps. Dynamic Ads is a broad term to describe a suite of products that Facebook is creating which relate to E-commerce (selling your products), Travel (Dynamic Ads for Travel sells hotels, flights, packages etc), Autos and more

For a broader discussion on this, see:


Optimal Placement

I am certainly not an expert in the practical aspects of this as it can vary for your business needs; however, choosing the optimal placement is important to reach the best people and run effective marketing campaigns. It is recommended to let Facebook choose the placement automatically, but in some cases, you may want to modify these setting manually in your campaign if you have a great deal of experience or are certain of the change.

Check out Advertisemint’s: A Guide to Facebook’s Ad Placements for a more detailed treatment of this topic.