Facebook confirmed that it quietly provides its top advertisers with a special conversion tracking program. This downstream system enables Facebook to keep track of both direct and indirect conversions in order to provide its top advertising clients with the figures of users who have seen their advertisements as well as those who clicked through their ads in their return on investment reports.
Instead of drop cookies or tracking pixels in advertisements, Facebook utilizes its own pixel for a particular advertiser’s conversion page. This is done through a signup success or an ecommerce checkout page. Then, Facebook logs those who have seen the advertisements as references trigger the pixel.
There is a limited concern over privacy because the data is solely seen by Facebook but on the side of advertisers, there are those who find this program unfair because only chosen advertisers are given the luxury of such significant data wherein the advertising industry prioritizes on measuring actual social media ROI.
In the public eye, the company ended its conversion tracking feature offered to advertisers since September of last year. Brandon McCormick, Facebook’s communication manager for monetization mentioned that the company does not intend to make this program widely available. He added that a handful of “prominent advertisers” are part of the private program.
The 2010 beta version of the program provided advertisers with the option to make their tracking pixels via the Ads Manager. This can then be placed in their website’s code. However, advertisers found the feature “confusing” that brought out miscalculated and poor performance impressions and so Facebook terminated the feature.
Facebook allowed third parties to provide direct conversion tracking via URL tracking tags. This identified whether the client’s website visitors are from Facebook advertisement click-throughs. But then this method did not function as well as how the Facebook system works‒that can also track indirect conversions, which involve users who saw the advertisements but did not click through them. Therefore Facebook started implementing its own tracking pixels in order to assure clients with accurate results.
McCormick said that Facebook does the analysis and then presents their findings to advertisers who are part of the private system. Basically the figures include those who saw the ads and those who bought the client’s products.
He added that advertisers sign a confidentiality contract wherein the data should be used for ROI analysis only in order to protect Facebook users.