New capabilities for cross-platform activity reporting on Facebook will enable marketers to better understand how online ads viewed on one device might lead to purchases made on another device. For example, companies advertising on Facebook will now be able to see that a customer who bought something using their Web site had clicked on and viewed an ad for that product using their smartphone several days earlier.
The new system for cross-device reporting was announced Wednesday in a product news post on Facebook's business blog.
Facebook noted in the post that the system allows advertisers "to see for the first time how people are moving between devices -- across apps and the Web -- before they convert."
Removing Marketing 'Guesswork'
Up until now, understanding how customers move from viewing ads to making purchases when they use multiple devices has involved a certain amount of guesswork, said Dennis Yu, chief technology officer at BlitzMetrics, a Minneapolis-based Internet marketing firm.
We reached out to Yu to ask how Facebook's new reporting would affect online marketers and their customers.
"My role is to make sure we're leveraging everything Facebook makes available," Yu said. "This cross-channel piece is very important."
Yu gave the example of an event company client that might first reach potential participants through a Facebook ad viewed on a mobile device. While a person might be interested in signing up for a coming event, Yu said, "you're not going to register on your phone -- that's ridiculous." Inputting all the information typically required to register for an event is too unwieldy on a mobile device, he said, so would-be customers would probably wait until they return home and can sign up using their laptops.
Enabling marketers to view such behavior across devices is "a critical problem that Facebook has to solve," Yu said. The new reporting capabilities, he continued, are "a great thing."
Yu added that the cross-platform reporting shouldn't raise any new privacy concerns, since it applies only to users who are already voluntarily logged into Facebook via their different devices.
In its announcement of the new reporting capabilities, Facebook noted that it "already offers targeting, delivery and conversion measurement across devices. With the new cross-device report, advertisers are now able to view the devices on which people see ads and the devices on which conversions subsequently occur."
A recent analysis of advertising campaigns, for example, found that of people who viewed a mobile Facebook ad before making a purchase, more than 32 percent converted -- in other words, bought something -- within 28 days using a desktop device.
Third-party analytics tools such as Google Analytics haven't been able to account for such cross-device activity, the Facebook post noted. That's because activity tracking on Web sites is handled differently -- using cookies, for example -- than activity tracking on mobile devices.
By seeing how customers move from viewing ads to making purchases, whatever device they're on, marketers can better prove their returns on investment in Facebook advertising, Yu said. They'll also be able to provide more personalized marketing messages to target customers' specific interests, he added.
"The average marketer, when they want to measure ROI, they want to see sales," Yu said. With the new Facebook data, he added, "You're going to see automatic optimization of ads."
Posted: 2014-08-15 @ 2:56pm PT
FB was smart to go down this road. They are DESTROYING Twitter as a mobile advertising mover and shaker. From their ad network to their efforts in native mobile advertising (where top ad networks like Airpush are opening the floodgates of opportunity) Facebook is finally firing on all cylinders here and its exciting to watch, especially since so many thought they would never "get" mobile advertising.