Facebook says changes bad for small businesses
Apple says they're "standing up for users." Facebook says an upcoming prompt in Apple's iOS 14 is bad for small businesses. Regardless of which side you think if self-serving here, if you advertise on Facebook, you need to understand what's happening because you have some homework to do to prepare.
Kurt Elster: So, occasionally I read the news, and I subscribe to a few newsletters of actual news, a literal newsletter, and in one I saw last weekend it said that supposedly there is a personal battle going on between Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, and Mark Zuckerberg, famous CEO of Facebook/only living Android on the planet. And supposedly Zuckerberg said in a quote, “We need to inflict pain on Apple.” Now, why in the heck would Zuckerberg want to inflict pain on Apple? Well, because Facebook’s core revenue source, advertising, has suddenly been threatened by Apple. I don’t know what the beef is. I don’t know who said what about who. But they’re mad and it is spilling over. It is affecting us as merchants, as advertisers.
And I’m of course talking about the iOS 14 update and the impact that’s had on your Facebook pixel, because it is so technical, and so crazy, and so like Silicon Valley fighting with each other ridiculousness… I don’t get it. Truly, I don’t. So, I need to get someone smarter than me. Kurt Bullock, Facebook master, is going to join us. Yes, we’re going to talk FB with KB. There you go. I just named your YouTube channel. Mr. Bullock, A, number one, tell us why you are qualified to discuss with us Facebook updates.
Kurt Bullock: It’s because I believe it’s all I do every day. So, I’m deep in this with all of our clients, trying to figure out this iOS 14 mess, and I’ve figured out a few things. A lot of it is there’s lots of technical gotchas. You need to be an admin there, or you need to have this window open, so hopefully I can help solve some of your problems as you guys are trying to get this set up on your end.
Kurt Elster: What’s the beef? Why are these two tech giants going at each other?
Kurt Bullock: A lot of it’s just gonna be sort of hearsay, right? And just trying to figure this out based on little things people have said. But the big beef really is that right now, Apple has made some big changes that are making things more difficult for Facebook. The reasons, part of the reason is that Apple has branded itself and sort of adopted this stance of being very privacy focused, and so they’re trying to push that out and make that sort of a pillar of their brand. They have sort of a righteous position in protecting privacy, right? And so, I think that is what they are selling to the marketplace.
Kurt Elster: Okay, so Apple’s new positioning as… I think they see the writing on the wall legislation wise, and are trying to get ahead of it, and they’re trying to position themselves, because they have this massive war chest of cash, so they can afford to do it. Say, “Hey, we have good corporate values.” They have made increasing strides in sustainability, and now privacy, as well. You’re right. They’re very pro privacy is their thing. What are they doing to be pro privacy? Like the idea that my phone was not private before is a little concerning. What’s changed here with iOS 14?
Kurt Bullock: So, iOS 14, again, there’s a lot of technical stuff that comes out with this, but there’s really three big parts that they introduced. So, the first is what they’re calling the data nutrition label. Take a guess what that means.
Kurt Elster: I’ve seen the phrase data nutrition label before, and I thought… Are they being smarmy? Is that a joke? What is a data nutrition label?
Kurt Bullock: Yeah. So, the data nutrition label is if you go to the app store, and now you scroll all the way down to the bottom, I’m not sure if it’s a separate tab, but there is… They’re requiring that all the app developers disclose how data is being used. So, that includes things like if we track your purchases, if we track your email, if we track your web browsing history. All these sorts of things are now supposed to be disclosed in the app store for all apps.
Kurt Elster: So, what’s this thing look like? I’m Googling data nutrition label.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah, if you pull that up you’ll see it’s essentially it looks like a checklist with items. I think as app developers, they want to have that list be as small as possible, but… So, it’s essentially just an awareness, kind of like you’re looking at the back of your cereal box. You know, what’s in this thing, what can I expect from this?
Kurt Elster: Okay.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: And it really appears to be, at least in some of these I’ve seen, like the ad industry’s proposed version of it really does look like a nutrition label. But it says stuff like branded name, audience description, data transparency… Eh, this is confusing to me already.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: All right, so number one, well, is this live now? Like if I go look in the app store at Facebook, does it have just like one unending list of what they do with my data?
Kurt Bullock: I believe so. I’m not sure if everybody can see it, but I have seen screenshots from it, so I’m assuming that it’s live for everybody.
Kurt Elster: Okay.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah, so that’s the data nutrition label. The next thing, and this is what scares a lot of people, Facebook and advertisers, primarily-
Kurt Elster: I was gonna say, because that nutrition label didn’t sound so bad. And it doesn’t sound like suddenly this thing’s gonna break all my ads.
Kurt Bullock: Well, that’s a really good point. So, I think that the direction that this is going is good, right? I think privacy is good. I think that there has been an overreach on the part of the internet, right? In looking into all of our things. So, this is good, and this is part of a trend towards privacy. We’ll talk more about this later, but a trend towards getting rid of the pixel, as well, because the pixel has all kinds of problems in terms of privacy and moving to this sort of server-side processing, so we’ll talk more about that. That’s part of all of this stuff.
But I think that’s good. The data nutrition label, good. App tracking transparency prompt. So, this is the big one that’s scaring people. One of the big ones. And that is going to be this label. If you Google it, you’ll see, or you’ve probably seen this Twitter image that Tim Cook shared where we’re prompting people or… So, Facebook is requiring that apps prompt people and say, “Hey, would you like to opt in to be tracked,” essentially. And you have to agree to that. And so, they give Facebook a couple lines to describe why you should want this. For instance, the quality of personalized ads are good, because you’re gonna see more targeted content, more targeted ads. Without it, you’re still gonna see all the same number of ads. They just won’t be targeted, right? And so, they won’t be as relevant to you and your interests.
So, that is… The reason that’s scary is because they did that with geolocation, and so like if you have maps apps, or like a Garmin app on your phone, there’s all kinds of apps that were tracking your location. Facebook rolled this out a handful of months ago and the opt-in rate was, if I’m not mistaken, less than 50% or around 50% of people said, “Yes, I’d like you to track my location in the background.” And there were some other options where you could say just while this app is running, or all the time, or never, and so we’ll see exactly what that looks like with this, with Facebook and other apps.
So, people are afraid that everybody’s going to say no, and if that says no, that affects our visibility into the campaigns. We can’t see as much. And it will affect retargeting audiences, because we can’t track all of the product pages they look at. We can’t track if they added things to cart, that sort of thing. And then the next part of this is… It’s all very related. The next part of this talks about reporting, and what we can see, and what that looks like. So, there were three things. Data nutrition label, the second one was app tracking transparency prompt, and then the third one is going to be what they’re calling… I’ve called it aggravated so many times, actually I just said it. It’s aggregated event measurement.
And that is essentially a new protocol that… Let me just think about this in simple terms. So, in simple terms-
Kurt Elster: Let’s back up.
Kurt Bullock: Okay.
Kurt Elster: So, Apple makes changes. And now when I open up the Facebook app, it says, “Hey, you gotta opt in to letting us collect all your data.” And it does it in very plain language. And so, it sounds like it’s 50/50 right now, about half the people go, “I’m good,” which… I’m one of them. I go, I say no, and my reasons are not altruistic. My reasons for doing this are I want my ads to be more generic and less relevant so that I’ll spend less money on stupid shit. It’s just that simple. And it’s very practical reasons.
I don’t really care if Zuckerberg tracks my location or not. You know, some quality of life convenience features, maybe I sell my soul for those. Those are the people on the other side who go, “Yeah, I’ll agree to it. It’s worth the trade off.” Okay, so but in doing that, we… We’ve broken some advertising metrics. So, our retargeting audiences decrease, and now we can’t see events. Why is that? Do these things still work on desktop but not on mobile?
Kurt Bullock: Good question. So, there’s a lot of ins and outs, but we’ll focus on this first. So, there is iOS 14 and people that opt out, and then there’s everybody else. We can just start with those big buckets. It’s a little bit more than that.
Kurt Elster: Oh. Okay.
Kurt Bullock: But, so for everybody that opts out, that’s where all the restrictions really come into play, and initially we just thought, “Well, if they opt out, then we don’t get to see any of those events.” It turns out that we actually do get to track one event, even if you’ve opted out, which is interesting. I didn’t expect that. And so, Facebook is gonna have us rank our events in order of priority, and we get to… So, for instance, purchase will probably be your highest priority event, right? If somebody purchases, that’s what we’re gonna see.
The next one might be added to cart or initiated checkout. If they don’t purchase, then that’s what we’re gonna see. So, essentially somebody goes to your website, they’ve opted out, we’re gonna get one event out of them, and it’s gonna be whatever the highest priority event is. If all they did was visit your product page, then you’ll get a product page event that fired for you, right?
Kurt Elster: Oh, okay, so previously we tracked a series of events, which was viewed product, added to cart, reached checkout, purchased, right?
Kurt Bullock: Yep.
Kurt Elster: And those are the relevant events for eCommerce, anyway. And someone visited the site on… They clicked through an ad, they visit the site, and every time they trigger one of those events, all of them get tracked and reported.
Kurt Bullock: Exactly.
Kurt Elster: So, we’re able to then make remarketing audiences, and better marketing decisions, based on these events. Now, if I say, “Don’t allow,” there is a loophole. Facebook can send a single event per visitor. Right?
Kurt Bullock: Yep.
Kurt Elster: Okay, but it doesn’t have to be the same event each time.
Kurt Bullock: Correct.
Kurt Elster: But I’m just limited to one. Okay, so then I prioritize them. These are what’s most important. And then when their session ends, then it just picks the one that was highest on the list that they triggered and then sends that back to Facebook.
Kurt Bullock: Essentially. Yep.
Kurt Elster: Okay. All right. This is making more sense. I got it.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah. So, that’s not as bad as we thought. It does screw up our metrics. I mean, we used to do things like look at the ratio of add to carts to purchases, right? To figure out how many people go from add to cart to purchase. If we don’t get to see add to carts, even when there is a purchase, those ratios make a little less sense, right? And this is what we use for a lot of our decision making. So, Facebook is saying, “Well, we’re gonna start doing sort of like modeled data and we’ll let you know when it’s modeled, but we’re gonna sort of fill in some of the blanks based on what we’ve seen previously and what we’re seeing across the industry.”
So, they’re gonna give us some numbers that just sort of fill the spots, potentially. We haven’t seen it yet. This is all gonna happen. So, Facebook’s been doing this huge setup and they’re just waiting for when iOS 14 requires these changes. Then, all of our dashboards are gonna change, and a whole bunch of things are gonna swing into effect.
Kurt Elster: Do we know when this is? Like when’s our drop-dead date here?
Kurt Bullock: So, we don’t know. I don’t know. It’s supposed to be sometime in March, I believe, so they said Q1, end of Q1. I’ve heard talk that maybe it’s gonna be kicked back a little bit farther, depending on… I don’t know. There’s a big back and forth between Facebook and Apple, obviously. So, March, though, is sort of what I’m looking at. And we’ll see if that gets-
Kurt Elster: To the point where I heard another rumor that… I don’t know if it’s a rumor anymore or if it’s confirmed or not, but that Facebook was looking into trying to go after Apple for anti-competitive practices.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah. Slippery slope, right? Because they’re Facebook, as well. They can be…
Kurt Elster: Right. That’s a two-way street.
Kurt Bullock: Exactly. So, that was I’m sure a decision that they did not take lightly, but yeah, as far as I know, that is all in progress. And that’s happening. So, we’ll see what happens from that, but in the meantime, they have had us… Facebook is having us do all these preps. And so, these preparations include like changing our attribution window, so they rolled that out in January, so that we start looking at things differently. We have to prioritize these events. There’s a lot of safety things that they’re calling brand safety, so we have to verify our domains, they have to be tied to a pixel, and they have to be tied to an ad account. So, all these things are sort of being tied together and they’re wanting you to verify that you own all those assets. And in many cases, potentially related… I’m not totally sure, but they’re asking advertisers for their identification, as well. Photo ID uploads, that kind of stuff, so they’re really putting a focus on trying to figure out who you are, tie it to your business, and then make sure that everything is connected. They want full visibility into who’s doing what. Whereas before, it was a little more the Wild West.
Kurt Elster: Yes. And is this in response to the madness of the last two presidential elections?
Kurt Bullock: Definitely. It’s part of it. So, that’s a big part of it. The other part of it is that we were kind of running down this path already of abandoning… So, this is a separate, but I guess a tangential issue, is the Facebook pixel and just pixels in general, right? Browsers are moving towards more privacy. A lot of them are blocking pixels sort of out of the gate. There’s pixel-blocking software so that you can’t be tracked.
And so, we’re moving towards a pixel-less browser environment, and so this has been the time where… You may have heard this acronym. CAPI. And that stands for the Conversion API. Essentially, this is, “Hey, we’re gonna transition out of using the pixel and we’re just gonna send that data directly server to server.” So, from your Shopify store server to the Facebook servers, and that way the browser can’t intercept and shut this down. Plus, there can be more privacy measures put into place, like all of these rules that we’re describing, and there’s actually a little bit more to it if you want to get into more of the effects from this aggregated event measurement. I just call it AEM.
Kurt Elster: I would love to know… Are you scared? Are you worried? Should I be worried?
Kurt Bullock: So, my fear levels have gone up and down. When this all came out, I was quite worried. As it came, more information came out, learning that hey, we are gonna get one event at least, even if you opt out, that’s much better. Still, there’s been a big reliance on retargeting. We’re gonna have to sort of rethink maybe the way that we’re approaching our retargeting, so I’m feeling more calm right now. I still think that it’s gonna be a big deal. What we’re gonna have to do is reevaluate our metrics and the way that we are thinking about if our campaigns are successful or not. We’re not gonna be able to see all the same data in Facebook, so there’s a movement towards looking at store revenue, right? Just looking at your revenue. Is your revenue going up day in and day out compared to your ad spend? So, anyhow, I’m not-
Kurt Elster: So, a very literal version of return on ad spend. We compare just straight ad cost to top line revenue.
Kurt Bullock: Yep. You’ll hear it called MER. Media efficiency ratio. It’s really just…
Kurt Elster: Media efficiency ratio. Okay.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah, right. I think we’re back to the days of like Direct TV and that kind of stuff, right? Where they say-
Kurt Elster: Oh, no!
Kurt Bullock: Yes.
Kurt Elster: Oh, no! I don’t want to go back to that kind of advertising.
Kurt Bullock: No. I don’t think that any advertisers do. That’s for sure. And store owners. So, that is… We’re not gonna go all the way back to those days. We still have much better tracking. But we are taking a few steps back for sure in terms of what we could see. So, let me give you a couple other things that are changing. No age, gender, region, or placement breakdowns after… for aggregated event measurement. I said aggravated again. Aggregated event measurement data.
Kurt Elster: What am I giving up here? What did I lose?
Kurt Bullock: Yeah, so being able to look at those iOS 14 users by age, gender, so your campaign, if you run a campaign and you say, “Who was it that bought from us? Let’s just split it out by age. Let’s split it out by Facebook’s reported gender. Region.” So, where do they live in the U.S. or across the world? Or even placement. Was it on Facebook or Instagram? Was it the Instagram story placement or was it Instagram news feed? These things are going away as far as we can tell for people that opt out of iOS 14 tracking.
As far as I know, those things will be in place, though, for people that have not opted out. So, we’ll see what this actually looks like when it comes down and Facebook implements all these changes. Right now, we’re still sort of in prep mode for much of it. But one thing that’s already changed is the attribution window. And that’s a big deal. That changes a lot of things. So, attribution window is the amount of time that we are looking after… and it used to be after an ad was viewed or clicked on. How long are we gonna measure and look for a purchase to come through, right? And so, the default has been 28 days after a click and one day after a view. That was our default attribution. So, you view an ad and as long as you purchase within 24 hours, that would be counted. If you click on an ad, as long as it happens sometime in the next 28 days, that would also be counted. That’s now changing to seven-day click and one-day view. No more 28-day attribution window.
Kurt Elster: Which attribution window did you prefer?
Kurt Bullock: Well, I think they have different roles. The juiciest, biggest attribution window is gonna be the biggest and longest, right? The 28 day. But that’s not always the most useful for decision making. For decision making, I actually will look at a one-day click a lot of times, just to see what are the direct results of this ad today as I’m running this ad. I’m spending this money today, what’s happening today? Knowing full well that there’s gonna be other purchases that happen over the coming days, right?
I think that seven day is a nice, happy medium there, but your ROAS is gonna look worse, and so that’s one of the things that we’ve done for all of our clients, is we’ve built spreadsheets comparing all of last year, broken down by month. What was our default? Or 28-day, one-day view attribution, and then what’s our seven-day one-day view attribution? For each month, and the year in total, so that we can look at the differences, right?
So, hey, if this had all happened last year, this is what our numbers would have looked like with seven-day attribution. Going forward, this is what they will look like if we performed like last year, right? And that sort of… You have to reset your baseline and your expectations for what it’s gonna look like in Facebook, because that’s how you’re determining if you’re gonna keep running an ad or a campaign or not. In truth, it may be performing just as well as it was before. You just can’t see those purchases coming in after seven days.
So, take for instance… I have a client that sells furniture. Long conversion window, right? Because you see this piece of furniture that you want on their store, or on Facebook, and then you need to do things like measure your room. There’s all kinds of steps as you’re deciding. And so, if you have a long conversion window, this is gonna hit you a little bit harder and you may need to look at other metrics to help you make decisions.
Kurt Elster: One thing I noticed that changed not long ago is in the past, I wanted… If you wanted to add your Facebook pixel to your Shopify store, you pasted in the ID, and saved it, and that was the end of it. And now, there’s a whole process where you have to connect it to Facebook. Is that related to this? Was this some attempt to prepare for this?
Kurt Bullock: This was all super related. Yeah. So, now… So, we talked a little bit about CAPI, right? The conversion API. That is tied into this Facebook sales channel app, and that’s what you’re just describing is that Facebook app that you download in Shopify. And so, there’s a lot of components in there. One is that it will… That app will now be what is firing your Facebook pixel. So, you can go back to the other area in your Shopify store and remove that from your preferences tab after you have set up this Facebook sales channel app. The other thing it’ll set up is CAPI for you.
Kurt Elster: Oh, okay.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah. So, those are both tied in-
Kurt Elster: I think that brings us to our to-do list. It sounds like there’s some stuff I need to do to be prepared and be compliant, and we already touched on… You touched on the first one. Walk me through it. Or one of them. Walk me through my action list, my to-do list.
Kurt Bullock: Okay. So, Facebook has told us there’s a few things that they recommend for all stores, so the first one, the simplest one, is just verifying your domain. And so, in order to do that you have to have a business manager. Hopefully, you’re all running your campaigns, your ads manager is connected to a business manager. And so, you’ll go into your business manager, it’s under the brand safety tab, and you’ll just hit add, and then there’s three ways to verify. You can use a DNS record, upload an HTML file, or just use a meta tag. The meta tag is the easiest. So, just copy and paste that meta tag, put it in the head section of your Shopify theme, and then hit refresh a bunch of times until Facebook finally recognizes it.
Kurt Elster: Yeah. That is truly the critical component there. Hit refresh several times. Another easy mistake with this one is if like you paste it in an… Let’s say you say, “I’ll just send this to my developer.” You send it to them, and it doesn’t work, can’t figure out why. A few times, I’ve seen a scenario where the quote… The simple quotes in the verification tag, the meta tag, got turned into the curly, fancy quotes in Microsoft Word, or Outlook, or whatever, and that will completely break it, but it won’t be obvious looking at it. So, be mindful of your quotes if you cannot figure out why in the heck this thing won’t verify.
Kurt Bullock: Yes. That has happened to me. Now, I just take it direct. I just copy it and paste it directly in there if at all possible, so I don’t mess that up. Yeah, so that’s domain verification. And then one-
Kurt Elster: All right. That’s easy. Okay.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah. One last step though, remember to… There’s an assign assets tab, or connected assets tab, you want to then connect your Facebook page to that. Now, you’re gonna sort of see a pattern here. All these things, you’re linking them all together to form this big chain of authenticity, right, so they can authenticate who you are. So, that’s the last step on domain verification.
The next big step that all advertisers need to take is this event selection. So, that’s prioritizing those events. If you don’t, Facebook will just look at the events that have come through in the last 28 days and they’ll choose for you. In most cases, that is okay. They’re usually saying that purchase is gonna be your number one event, but I’ve seen after that there’s no add to cart, initiate checkout, or anything else. There may be a view content in there if you’re lucky. So, you want to go in there and verify it yourself. To make that happen, you jump into your business manager. So, for both of these, I didn’t mention this but for domain verification and your event selection, you have to be an admin on the business manager. So-
Kurt Elster: Okay. Well, all right. That makes sense. How would you arrange those eight most important events?
Kurt Bullock: The way I’m doing it is I’m doing purchase, and initiate checkout, add to cart, and view content. And then that leaves us four more events. So, there’s value optimization for purchase, so what that means is that Facebook can learn what the conversion value is and start to optimize for higher conversion values, right? So, for your higher priced products. Because of this, all this data restriction, it takes up four events in order for you to use that, so that takes up the other four events if you turn on value optimization. And really, what that’s doing is Facebook, behind the scenes, is creating four buckets. So, let’s say you have products, range from $1 to $500. Well, let’s just say $400 to make it easier. There’s gonna be a bucket for $0 to $100, $101 to $200, et cetera, right?
And so, it’s not actually gonna be coming back for value optimization with the exact purchase amount. It’s gonna say it was in bucket A, B, C, or D. And you can actually choose more than four events if you want to be more granular with that. That’s as much as I know in terms of how those event buckets will work. Once this all starts happening in the next couple months, we’ll probably see, because apparently you can sort of manually change the ranges on those buckets and that kind of stuff. But anyhow, that’s how I would arrange them, and I am turning value optimization on for most of my ad accounts. So, that-
Kurt Elster: I mean, I like the name. Value optimization. Who does not want to optimize for value in just about everything?
Kurt Bullock: It sounds good. The issue is that value optimization campaigns don’t always work the best. Depending on your store, right? I mean, if most of your products are in a similar price range, that’s not gonna be a big… It’s not gonna have a big effect for you. Also, when you change these things, Facebook gives you… There’s a three day like cooldown period, so they can wait for all this data to be resent through the system. So, let’s say you change from purchase without value to purchase with value, or you change the order of those events, the priority, then Facebook will say, “Okay, hold on now.” They pause your ads, actually, for three days if you’re using that conversion event, and then they let you turn them back on. And that is due to two things.
One, so they can switch it in their systems, they’re giving you one day for that. And then the other two days is because as part of this aggravated… aggregated event management. As part of the AEM, data is being randomly reported over a 48-hour period. So, that’s another thing that happens for people that opt out on iOS 14. You don’t-
Kurt Elster: Oh, geez. They’re really not messing around here.
Kurt Bullock: Right. They’re trying to make it anonymous, so that you can’t correlate the time that a purchase happened with a person, so they’re reporting it in a randomized 48-hour window.
Kurt Elster: Wild.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah, so that’s a lot of-
Kurt Elster: Because otherwise, like if you knew someone logged in at this time, you could associate it.
Kurt Bullock: Right.
Kurt Elster: Wow. Okay. So, they’re just… Before anyone has a chance to abuse that loophole, they’re shutting it down.
Kurt Bullock: Yep. Yes. So, but you know, really, I think I’ve made all the event selections sound more complicated than it is by talking about all the value optimization stuff. Really, you’ll just go into your business manager, it’s underneath when you find your pixel, so you go to where your pixel is in business manager, you just select your pixel, and then you’ll go to a tab called aggregated event management, and that’s where you can select those eight events, and then you’ll hit submit, and then you’re good to go there.
Kurt Elster: Okay. What’s left?
Kurt Bullock: Well, so then there is making sure that you have CAPI installed and the Facebook sales channel, right? And so, we talked about that briefly, but for this, let me just give a few pointers. I talk with a lot of other people that are involved with agencies or running agencies. This has to be done by the Shopify store owner. An agency employee cannot see this unless they have admin access. So, this is sort of complicated, because we’re trying to guide clients through this process, but we can’t actually log in and see if they’ve done it all properly very easily unless they-
Kurt Elster: Oh, geez.
Kurt Bullock: … because it’s invisible.
Kurt Elster: And it’s not… like the merchant doesn’t want to do it. They’re like, “Look, I hired you. You handle it.”
Kurt Bullock: Right. So-
Kurt Elster: You have to say, “It’s not actually possible. You have to do it.”
Kurt Bullock: Yep. So, we’ve just created a Loom video, and sent it, and walked them through the process, and then if you can… If they’re comfortable giving you an account with admin access, then you can go in and see those things afterwards and make changes and that sort of stuff. Hopefully, this will all change in the future, so that it doesn’t need to all be… You know, so it can be interfaced with an agency more easily. But right now, the store owner needs to do most of this stuff, so you would want your agency to give you instructions if at all possible. Videos.
All right, so to finish this thought then, setting up CAPI, you install the Facebook sales channel app and then it’s gonna basically walk you through this process of connecting your accounts, your business manger, your pixels, your catalogue, your Facebook page, all of this. Then there’s gonna be under your settings tab, and I’ve seen this in two different ways, but just to keep it simple, under your settings tab for most people there is going to be a place where you can specify how much data is sent over by Facebook, and there’s three options there. I think it’s like standard, enhanced, and maximum. You want to make sure that you have set it to maximum. That’s the only time when you’re actually fully engaging CAPI, and really what that means right now is just that you send a purchase event server to server. In the future, hopefully they will include add to cart and all of those other events, but right now it’s just purchase.
Okay, so that’s CAPI. And the way that you want to verify that this is happening is then you go to your pixel, go to the overview, and you’ll see that all of a sudden a new line appears. They’re your old pixel events. Now you’re gonna see a green line that’s your server events. You want to start seeing those come through. Give it 24 hours or so for that line to show up. But that’s how you can verify that it’s working.
Kurt Elster: Okay. It’s a lot of work so far. Did I do everything? Am I done yet?
Kurt Bullock: Not quite.
Kurt Elster: Oh my gosh!
Kurt Bullock: So-
Kurt Elster: Tim Cook’s really screwing me here.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah. There’s a lot going on. So, this last one is basically to sort of make sure that all the boxes are checked, so if you go to your ads manager, there’s a new tab. It’s the resource center tab. And on the resource center tab, it’s gonna go through and check things like are all of your ads using the pixel that you’ve associated with all of this stuff you’ve just done, right? With those events. Have you selected your events and are there any of your ad sets that are optimizing for an event that is not part of your list? If you have a custom event that you’ve specified or something like that.
And what I’m seeing happen a lot of times is that if you had two pixels and maybe you were using one pixel for some and then later you transitioned, it’s gonna tell you, and it’s gonna show you all the ad sets that you need to fix, so you can go in and make sure that your pixel’s showing up. If there’s events, again, it’ll highlight those for you. If you’re using the wrong product catalogue that’s tied to a different pixel, I’ve had that error. It’ll tell you about it. And then finally, it’ll tell you about automated rules if you’re using any of them to go through and make sure that those are using the new seven-day attribution instead of 28 day and that sort of thing.
So, that will get you… Once you’ve gone through and checked all those boxes, then you’re good to go as far as the technical setup. You should be set.
Kurt Elster: All right, so I’m done?
Kurt Bullock: You’re done with that. There is-
Kurt Elster: Wait, there’s a but.
Kurt Bullock: There is a but. There’s always a but.
Kurt Elster: No!
Kurt Bullock: It’s, “Yes, and.”
Kurt Elster: Zuckerberg!
Kurt Bullock: Yeah, so then there’s all this… You’ve probably heard about Facebook shops, and Instagram shops, so technically as far as the iOS 14 stuff, you’re done, right? So, that’s good news. But there are… So, because we’re seeing less data, Facebook is pushing us towards using these Facebook and Instagram shops. Have you seen those?
Kurt Elster: Yeah. A little bit. Mostly I just get frustrated emails from merchants like, “This thing keeps declining my products for stupid reasons.”
Kurt Bullock: Right. And I can’t control which products are being sent to the store. All kinds of things like that. So, yeah, so there’s that. The good thing is, though, you may have seen recently like the Shop Pay integration that’s coming to Facebook. Did you see that announcement, that video?
Kurt Elster: Yes. That’s a big deal.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah. So, the great thing about that, and then there’s also just sort of Facebook’s checkout, which is very similar to that. You can use Shop Pay, or you can use this Facebook checkout. The good thing about using those is that we don’t lose this data. You can’t opt out of in-app data. So, when you say, “No, don’t track me.” Really, what you’re saying is don’t track what I do from this app to other properties, from this app to other apps, from this app to a website, et cetera. But Facebook can still track what you do while you’re on Facebook, and so the strategy here, or the thinking is that let’s just move everything to Facebook and then we can see everything, including the checkout process.
So, we won’t lose that data, and then we’ll have more retargeting audiences. Now, is this a good idea? I’m not totally sure yet. I haven’t been able to test it very reliably and I haven’t been able to set it up the way that I wanted to. Too many… As you and I know, right? If we’re working on mutual clients, there’s too many… It’s too hard to control some of the products that are going in there, and so we’re still working on getting that all refined before we dive into trying to checkout on Facebook. Which, by the way, you have to set up a new merchant account, essentially, through Facebook. Tie your bank account information to it.
Kurt Elster: Oh, geez.
Kurt Bullock: You know, all of that information, so it’s one more thing to look at. Another merchant account. But the good thing is if using Shopify, the backend is tied in there, so orders will still go through there. Your inventory levels will be adjusted, shipping, all that other kind of stuff. So, it should be a good integration.
Kurt Elster: When do I have to do this? Do I have to drop everything, do this right now? Do I have a little bit of time? Should I wait and see? What should I do?
Kurt Bullock: So, I would do the first steps before the applause right away. The post-applause steps, these are things that you can do in time, and this is not directly related to the iOS 14, although it can help with some of those issues, right, that’ll give us more data. So, there’s that.
And then another complicating factor to all of this that they’ve introduced is this thing called the commerce manager, and when you set up the Facebook sales channel app, it’s gonna create a commerce manager for you, which by the way is not… You can’t get access to it through regular business manager channels. You have to be added like in the old days. You have to assign it to people individually using their email address until Facebook can connect it to business manager permissions.
Kurt Elster: So, there’s a lot here. Probably I can’t digest all of it in a podcast. Where do I go for more info? How are you staying on top of this?
Kurt Bullock: Yeah. I mean, it’s a community effort. On Twitter, a lot of people are diving into what they’re seeing and posting all of this. If you stay plugged into Facebook announcements, they’re putting a lot of announcements on the top of your ads manager, and so they’ll tell you when different things are happening. They’ll tell you if you are at risk of having your campaigns turned off because you don’t have the right events prioritized yet. They’ll tell you some of these things, and so they’ll sort of walk you down these steps.
But also, I’m gonna put together a resource page. We can include a link in the show notes that has links to a lot of these instructions, as well as like a Loom video that will walk you through some of this process.
Kurt Elster: Wonderful. Where do I go to find that?
Kurt Bullock: That is really the setup. I think that the next sort of framework to think through is like, “Okay, what are you gonna do now?” How does this affect what you’re doing on a day-to-day basis?
Kurt Elster: What’s the core question to ask myself?
Kurt Bullock: So, I think it’s how are you going to make decisions, right? How does any of this change the way that you think about things? And we’ve talked about this before, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty around this when I talk with clients. And so, we talked about going through and comparing your new attribution, the seven-day attribution, to the old attribution, just so that you’re aware of what the changes are gonna look like. So, that’s one thing.
We talked about that media efficiency ratio, essentially looking at your spend and revenue, right? Comparing those two. Taking your revenue, dividing it by your spend, and just looking at that ratio over the past month, so that you have a feel of where it normally is, and then going forward when you don’t have as much visibility, you can look back and say, “Well, am I on track compared to where we’ve been historically?” That’s another thing that will help you.
Kurt Elster: Okay. Good advice. Where can I learn more about you?
Kurt Bullock: If you visit… I post about this all the time on Twitter. My handle is just @KurtBullock. Or you can visit our website, ProduceDEPT.co, and I’m gonna have a resource page on there as well with a lot of these links.
Kurt Elster: Excellent. Okay. Well, I’ll make sure I put that in the show notes, as well, so people can find it easily. Thank you for demystifying the iOS 14 Facebook cold war that’s currently going on. That’s what it sounds like.
Kurt Bullock: Right.
Kurt Elster: It could… I mean, if they go after Apple for anti-competitive practices, no longer a cold war. It’s been kind of interesting to watch it in the news.
Kurt Bullock: Yeah.
Kurt Elster: All right, Mr. Bullock. Thank you as always. You are my Facebook ads guru. All Facebook ads questions go to you. I appreciate the help.
Kurt Bullock: It was a pleasure. Thanks for having me on the podcast.