For many brands, whether retail or digitally native, Facebook is an essential part of your online presence. Their policies and business dashboard functions directly impact your business, so understanding recent updates is incredibly important to keep your campaigns performing optimally.
Two changes, in particular, have made headlines recently: Facebook’s recent implementation of domain verification and Apple’s iOS 14 (and recent 14.5) release — which added features designed to limit an app’s ability to track user behavior.
For brands that fail to pay attention to these changes, dashboard features, pixel tracking, and ad performance could be significantly compromised — regardless of their audience’s preferred device. Here is what brands need to know about these updates.
Domain verification was implemented in part as a response to the increased spread of misinformation on Facebook’s platforms. As Facebook explains, “Domain Verification provides a way for you to claim ownership of your domain in Business Manager. This ownership allows you to control editing privileges of your links and other content to prevent misuse of your domain and to keep bad actors from spreading misinformation.”
For most brands, this is applicable to the descriptions on links for ads that point to your domain. Without domain verification, an unauthorized individual could create an ad with an edited link description that completely misrepresents your brand.
Currently, Facebook allows business owners to verify their domains through either an HTML file upload or a DNS TXT record. Facebook’s developer tool then provides a meta tag that business owners need to add to the <head> section of their home page. Leaving this meta tag in place allows Facebook to periodically verify the domain, ensuring that your Facebook business account is legitimately connected to the site.
Verifying your domain gives you greater control over who can edit links pointing to your site, but it also ensures that you can continue tracking conversions and other important metrics related to your marketing.
That is, unless Apple has something to say about it.
Apple’s iOS 14 Release
The need for reassigning pixel events is another major change to Facebook that page owners need to be aware of — but this time, it’s not Facebook itself that is prompting the change. Instead, this is a result of Apple’s rollout of iOS 14. Though this is a change that currently only affects Apple users, it still signifies a major shift in how online privacy may be addressed moving forward.
In a nutshell, iOS 14 changes app installation by giving users a notification before they install the app, highlighting the variety of data a particular app (such as Facebook) may track when it is used on someone’s device. After the app is installed, users are then given a prompt asking if they will allow an app to track their information or not.
While this is being done in the name of privacy, it creates significant issues for brands that have used Facebook’s pixel tool to gain additional insights about their audiences and fine-tune their campaigns — especially because 79.9 percent of Facebook users only use the app on their smartphones.
As Susan Wenograd reports for Search Engine Journal, Facebook is responding to this by introducing what it refers to as “Aggregated Event Measurement,” limiting advertisers to tracking eight conversion events per domain.
“The 8 conversion events will be ranked based on priority when it comes to reporting. What does that mean, exactly? Let’s say you have both Add to Cart and Purchase as 2 of those 8 events. If a user does both actions, only the Purchase event will be recorded as the ‘higher prioritization’ metric.”
The Need For Pixel Event Reassignment and Domain Verification
As part of the changes being brought about by the iOS 14 update, Facebook pixels need to be tied to a verified domain. If a website owner wants to measure events or custom conversions, they need to have their domain verified with Facebook. In addition, because some pixel events will no longer be supported under the Aggregate Event Measurement setup, current pixels run the risk of being shut off once this change is implemented.
Facebook advises, “Ad sets that were optimizing for a pixel conversion event that is no longer available, will be turned off. In advance of this limitation, consider if changes will need to be made to your campaign or measurement strategy. You may need to consider if you’ll be required to optimize for upper funnel objectives like landing page views and link clicks.”
Reassigning pixels to track relevant metrics will be essential to continue collecting data from iOS users who don’t choose to opt out of app tracking entirely. That being said, many marketers do expect the overall effectiveness of pixels to decline, since many iOS users are likely to opt out of tracking for marketing purposes. Those who opt out won’t be able to be targeted effectively for remarketing campaigns or as part of a lookalike audience.
Stay Up to Date, Stay Relevant
Business owners should pay close attention to what comes from iOS 14. As Dan Levy, Facebook’s VP of Ads and Business Products recently wrote, “Our studies show, without personalized ads powered by their own data, small businesses could see a cut of over 60% of website sales from ads. We don’t anticipate the proposed iOS 14 changes to cause a full loss of personalization but rather a move in that direction over the longer term.”
While working on the backend of Facebook’s dashboards may not be as exciting as launching a new ad campaign, few things could ultimately prove more important for your pages. By verifying your domain and reassigning pixel events in accordance with these latest updates, you’ll be able to continue to get quality marketing results from your ad campaigns — even if iOS 14 makes that more challenging.
If you’re unsure of what these updates mean for your brand or want to ensure that your Facebook campaigns and pixel are performing and tracking optimally following these changes, Darkroom can help. Our top-notch paid media and development team will make sure all of the backend (and frontend) pieces of your Facebook ad campaigns are configured and functioning together seamlessly to drive optimal growth for your brand. Reach out at www.darkroomagency.com/consultation.