Facebook creates cookie to improve its Ad Tracking

Facebook is improving its ad tracking technologyIt is essential for brands to know the ROI of what they spend on advertising. Technology and social should make this easier by tracking clicks and so forth, but the science is not yet perfect. More importantly, people may be prompted to take an action or make a purchase because they saw something, although they didn’t both to click on it.

Facebook is trying to build products that help solve this problem, and give more value to their advertising products. They are rolling out further a “View Tags” cookie, which was rolled out as a small beta test last year. The idea is to make sure Facebook adverts get the credit for purchases made due to ads they have displayed, instead of Google.

Techcrunch explain how the system works:

“Advertisers can generate cookies and work with approved partners to make their View Tags ads drop them. The cookies remain on a user’s browser until they’re cleared or naturally expire after a few months, though they can last upwards of years. Initially, they help advertisers tell what anonymous demographics of users have seen their ads, and how many times. Then if a viewer makes a purchase, signs up for a service, or takes some other conversion action on the advertiser’s site later on, a pixel installed on the site recognizes the cookie and informs Facebook which user converted.  Advertisers can then check their Facebook ad analytics to see which ad led to the conversion.”

Facebook confirmed with Techcrunch that the product had thus far only be rolled out on quite a limited basis, but over the summer members of Facebook’ sPreferred Developer Consultant club  had been able to run View Tags campaigns for advertisers.

There has long been a problem that Facebook was not getting credit for many of the sales that it was actually driving. People might see an advert on Facebook and go on to purchase the product, but because they had not clicked the ad Facebook did not get the credit. Instead, the sale was attributed to another product, notably Facebook’s rival Google. This new product looks to redress that.  Apparently one campaign using View Tags showed that 87% of purchases are the result of impressions (seeing the ad,) as opposed to clicks.

As ever with Facebook, the success of this advertising product must be balanced against privacy concerns. Many users are already uncomfortable with how much data Facebook stores and passes onto advertisers, and may object to another cookie being place on their profile and tracking their shopping habits.