In Q1 my Facebook Pixel basically broke and I had to fix it. It was a learning experience I’d like share. Just in case you use one. It’s a lesson in what may be around the corner in terms of needing to be more careful about how our users private data is used responsibly.
First a little look behind the curtain.
As a SME business, my online offerings are across different online service providers. Including… my blog on a managed WordPress site with WPEngine. And my learning portal on Kajabi. My Facebook pixel and Google Analytics tracking sits across all.
As part of IOS 14, Apple introduced that users, by default, will have to opt-in to being tracked across apps and websites by third parties. Apps will have to ask for this opt-in. The capability is being introduced now and will be mandatory for Apps running on IOS in a future release. You likely have been seeing these asks in Apps you use.
What this means for Facebook is that it can’t easily identify users who are on iPhones, and there is likely to be an impact to audience sizes in the future.
The immediate response by Facebook was to introduce stricter measures and limits for it’s ad clients reporting user’s private data to Facebook. Facebook Pixel users need to verify owning reporting domains. And to register possible events reported.
It was how mine broke. It was the push to finally register a custom domain for my learning portal https://www.valuestklearning.com. I couldn’t verify the “valueSTK.mykajabi.com” domain. Because I use FB ads for basic lead generation, the events were easy to register. For now it’s probably okay. Though a large segment of my leads are women on Instagram using an iPhone. But that’s a worry for the future if a lot of that segment doesn’t opt-in. Or I want to do more with ads than lead generation.
Now for a wider view that came out of a discussion in the Kajabi FB user group.
Another course provider posted she was advised to also setup the Facebook Conversion API, not just register the events of the FB Pixel. She was lost. Kajabi didn’t have an integration for the Conversion API and it needed custom coding. (It has the integration now only a month later. Shows you how new this all is.) She was concerned she would lose being able to attract IOS users. And didn’t know what to do.
My initial response was the knee jerk reaction from my tech training. I asked… what are your advertising goals and what data do you need to pass to Facebook to accomplish that. Meaning do you really need the FB Conversion API.
Not being familiar with Facebooks Conversion API, I went googling to learn more about it.
FB ads receive user’s private data related to an event in two ways. One is the Facebook Pixel. It triggers inside the browser and sends data about the person visiting the website. Things like they viewed the page, opted in as a lead, initiated putting something in a cart, made a purchase. The basic FB Pixel integration Kajabi provides does set up these events automatically. My understanding is the event will still be tracked; you just won’t know a lot about who did it.
The FB Conversion API on the other hand is a server-to-server communication. Which is why it needs changes to back-end code. It doesn’t occur in the browser. It happens after the user provides you with information because they opted into your list or made a purchase. Lead and Purchase events after they converted. It’s you collecting information, as the first party about your customers, and then sharing it with Facebook. And really only needed if you are running remarketing ads to your customers. Or wanting to create look-alike audiences that are similar to your customers.
Which is why, in the FB Partner Integration list the primary list is eCommerce sites (like Shopify and Magneto). The businesses that sell and resell to an existing customer base. Other partners are website builders (like Kajabi), CRM (like Hubspot and Salesforce), integration services (like Zapier), Tag Management and Mobile Platforms.
Which takes me back to that first gut reaction.
I believe what is important that you understand your goals and then decide what user private data is needed to accomplish those goals. It’s important to consider the full flow of that data about your customer through your systems. Maybe you want to use the Conversion API when you create the entry in your CRM and not on your website.
It reminds me of the quote with great power comes great responsibility. (Popularized in Spiderman, but it’s older than that!)
Privacy is moving towards being a first-party responsibility. There is great power in being able to use our customer’s data for our business purposes. But we need to use that power in efficient and effective means. And be responsible for it.
As to the discussion in the Kajabi user group. I didn’t comment back with the findings of my googling. I’m not sure if the person did in the end get the Conversion API working. The thread drifted down into the feed. Or If she uses FB ads for re-marketing, rather than just lead generation.
What I do know is it’s not going to solve the issue she first mentioned… of not being able to track IOS14 users if they don’t want to be tracked. We have to respect if they don’t.
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