Should You be Alarmed With the End of Facebook Analytics?
This is an article “Should You be Alarmed With the End of Facebook Analytics?” by Marc Primo Warren
Marketers from all over the world were quite shocked by Facebook’s announcement about the end of the social media giant’s analytics platform by the end of June this year. While there are still many reliable online tools to measure both search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) performance, many are wondering how much of an impact this development can deliver in terms of boosting online traffic.
The move coincides with how Facebook intends to consolidate its business tools after it positioned its analytics platform as an easy-to-use marketing tool that aggregates data from the platform’s business pages, ads, and both organic and paid content in other affiliate platforms such as Instagram and Facebook Pixel. No one can deny how Facebook Analytics has become one of the most useful tools wherein marketers can gain insights about user journeys on the two biggest social media platforms today. However, the tool wasn’t able to gain the traction needed to topple the likes of Google Analytics, Chartio, or Domo among many others.
Still, marketers are left wondering if some adjustments are needed to brace themselves for the upcoming shuttering by the end of the month. Here’s what you need to know:
You will still be able to access Facebook components
Though Facebook decided to discontinue its analytics platform, users can still check for various data insights via other existing in-platform services like Facebook’s Business Suite and Business Manager where marketers can create separate ad accounts, pay ads through various payment methods, and gain access to analytic reports. With such tools, marketers will still be able to measure ad performance across multiple accounts on the social media platform.
For companies that have opted to go with third-party marketing agencies that handle full-service marketing, the end of Facebook Analytics might not even create any impact at all if they have been running your ads via other available platforms.
Shifting to other in-platform analytics tools
Marketers who rely solely on Facebook Analytics will mostly be the ones who’ll need to make some changes in the way they do SEO and SEM. Small businesses who manage their own social data and marketing usually comprise this demographic and have only until June 30 to access and download copies of their Facebook Analytics reports and insights by exporting them into a CSV file to their desktops.
The end of Facebook Analytics, however, will not change how users can still access and gather information from the insights section of both Facebook and Instagram.
The number one social media platform still gives high priority to user experience for both organic users and marketers. Retiring Facebook Analytics doesn’t necessarily mean that dedicated users cannot rely on other in-platform tools that are available to gain helpful insights on their ad performance.
What the folks at Facebook recommend is transitioning to the platform’s Business Suite where they can manage their business accounts and access information on audience impact, content performance, and current trends. For marketers who wish to get reports on activities for their website landing pages, apps, and physical stores, Facebook Events Manager is still available which they can also use to manage Facebook Pixel and the Conversions API, while ad campaign insights and management can still be done via Facebook’s Ad Manager.
The Apple iOS 14.5 factor
Many have heard through the tech giant grapevine that Facebook’s decision to retire its analytics platform has something to do with the upcoming Apple iOS 14.5 update wherein users will be able to choose and bar the social media’s ability to gather data collection and app sharing features.
Recently, Facebook has publicly announced its reservation about Apple’s move to limit ‘ads personalization and performance reporting’ which can affect how advertising-centric companies like Facebook operate in terms of targeting audiences.
This becomes a more serious issue for advertisers as the update can stir up how the ad ecosystem works in a major way. The change has come a long way since Apple launched its SKAdNetwork API which would help advertisers measure the performance of their ad campaigns while still giving importance to user privacy when installing mobile apps.
For the upcoming update though, the Apple ad network can now restrict, aggregate, or delay all mobile app data from Facebook for up to three days after app installation on iOS smartphones with the 14.5 update. This means that advertisers will be restricted to up to nine campaigns with five ad sets each for every Facebook Ads account.
Aside from its updated ad network, Apple has also introduced its Private Click Measurement (PCM) protocol which can restrict businesses and platforms from further accessing user data. This means that iOS users who purchase items via Facebook or Instagram and into merchant landing pages won’t be logged or attributed so that businesses can track them. Facebook marketers can still track this activity, however, through its Aggregated Event Manager tool.
The Facebook solution
To remedy the 14.5 iOS update dilemma, Facebook momentarily stopped the collection of identifiers for advertisers (IDFA) on its platform and affiliated apps for Apple devices. Prompts that remind users that they have a choice whether to share data or otherwise on Facebook are also set in place as well as an off-platform feature that summarizes their business website activities and lets them choose if they want to unlink the Off-Facebook app from their accounts.
Acknowledging how the iOS 14.5 update can affect their audience network which depends heavily on app advertising, Facebook also released its own updated SDK version that’s compatible with Apple’s SKAdNetwork API. However, this limits the available data that businesses get when running campaigns on the platform, unless they create new ad accounts for running app-installed ad campaigns for Apple users.
At the moment, Facebook is boosting its ad ecosystem consultations to reach compromises on platform policies including talks with the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media (PRAM) which all aim to benefit both users and small businesses that advertise on social media.
While the end of Facebook Analytics won’t create a big impact on advertisers, Apple’s latest update will definitely affect the social media platform’s massive ad network, and advertisers can still expect a reduced capacity to monetize, target audiences, or measure their campaign performances despite Facebook’s best efforts.