Why Digital Marketers Are Raving About Facebook’s Resilient Signals

By Charles Duenas, Senior Expertise & Innovation Manager, fifty-five

The digital marketing industry has faced a number of drastic changes over the last few years. From the introduction of new regulations such as CCPA and GDPR as a result of increased concerns over consumer data privacy, to the death of the third-party cookie and the microscope digital marketing has been under in terms of data collection policies, the industry has been faced with the challenge of continuing its every day business without its usual tools to succeed.

The digital marketing industry, like many others, has relied on measurement strategies in order to evaluate a performance of a brand or campaign. However, these strategies have often relied on third-party and first-party data collection. With new policies in place that make it difficult, and sometimes impossible, to collect the necessary data for measurement purposes, the industry needs alternatives. Facebook has found its solution with resilient signals, or users online navigation information that won’t be affected by any technical modification appended by any player such as tracking regulations.

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The challenges facing digital marketing

With new regulations and technical changes, the volume of available data tying an individual action to a purchase is becoming smaller. Even more importantly than keeping volumes, marketers today struggle to know what is measurable and what is not: did this user not convert, or can I just not measure its conversion? Measurement reliability, significance and stability is key, in the short term to keep using comparable data, and in the long term to avoid conducting less and less relevant analyses and making suboptimal marketing decisions.

There are three major “cookie restrictions” that are decreasing the types of cookies and other available trackers. The first is legal restriction in both the US and EU. Regulations such as the GDPR which is Europe’s latest regulation on personal data collection enacted in 2016 and enforced in 2018, aims at unifying legislation across the EU and gives power back to citizens regarding the use of their personal data. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), gives consumers the right to know about the personal information a business collects about them and how it is used and shared, the right to delete personal information collected from them, the right to opt-out of the sale of their personal information and the right to non-discrimination for exercising their CCPA rights. These legal restrictions, among others, have posed a great challenge to digital marketing.

The second restriction we see is technical. Third-party cookies are already being blocked by popular browsers including Safari and Firefox, and Chrome slowly following their path. First-party cookies have also been subject to strong limitations on Safari, and it is not a far leap to assume on other browsers in the future. Additionally, with its policy updates on iOS 14, Apple acts as a regulator and subjects online tracking to an explicit, unbiased opt-in. Related to this is the third restriction facing digital advertisers which is a change in consumer behavior. Consumers are more aware than ever before of their privacy online. They are taking back the control from digital marketers and using things such as ad blockers to fight against tracking online.

The benefits of Facebook’s resilient signals

The aforementioned challenges have forced digital marketers to get creative in the way they collect data and measure performance while respecting consent regulations and users expectations. One of the solutions that has surfaced are Facebook’s resilient signals, or signals that won’t be affected by any technical modification appended by any player such as tracking regulations. Thanks to new tracking methods and leveraging its unique people graph, Facebook offers signals that will be key over the coming months to help keep marketing efficient.

 Facebook’s resilient signals offer three main benefits for digital marketers. The first benefit consists in maintaining a significant volume of online data by tackling existing cookie limitations. Post-click measurement has been impacted by first-party cookie restrictions on Safari. This can be solved using server-side tracking thanks to Facebook Conversions API, which acts as a safe, advertiser-owned channel for consumer data between websites and Facebook. Post-view measurement, impacted by third-party cookie restrictions, can be solved through the use of unique, pseudonymized personal identifiable information tracked with Facebook Advanced Matching or Facebook Conversions API.

The second benefit of Facebook’s resilient signals is that they offer new predictive signals by enriching online data with offline data in order to help marketers base analysis on KPIs closer to actual business generation. When based on pseudonymized people data, as is the case with Facebook Offline Conversions, it will overcome cookie limitations for said conversions. The resilient signals also offer a benefit of iOS 14 specifically. When consent to tracking is not granted by the user in Apple popin, Facebook does offer a downgraded but resilient measure to help digital marketers keep some partial, aggregated data for reporting and campaign optimization and to have Facebook consolidate the data with “regular” consented data with modelling.

While Facebook’s resilient signals can offer a wide range of benefits for digital marketers, it is critical that marketers know which resilient signals will benefit their campaigns the most.

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Knowing the right signals for you

There is no one-size fits all for resilient signals. In order to choose the right resilient signals for you, digital marketers must first examine their business objectives and media strategy.

On the one hand, companies may have their online marketing oriented towards branding and websites towards product discovery, with users only converting offline. In that case it is key for them to keep measuring anonymous on-site engagement with server-side (Facebook Conversions API), and reconcilie online and offline (Facebook Offline Conversions, or Facebook Conversions API)

On the other end, companies that rather focus on performance campaigns will generate identified on-site conversion (leads or purchases) and are interested in the quality and actual transformation into sales of those online actions. They should rely on the people’s data collected online and match it with Facebook using Advanced Matching or Conversions API, and enrich the quality information with offline statuses also with Conversions API.

Finally, knowing their blindspots is crucial in determining the right resilient signals for digital marketers. For instance, if marketers have high-end users, navigating on Apple devices and underweighted in a brands site and app tracking because of first-party cookies and iOS 14 constraints, it is then key to treat their measurement properly with Facebook’s Conversion API and Facebook measures for iOS 14. If marketers know that they historically had a lot of post-view conversions, which are now shrinking swiftly because of third-party cookie constraints, they should consider adding tracking based on pseudonymized personal information available on the site or app with Advanced Matching.

Digital marketers have faced a number of challenges over the last few years when it comes to the collection of third-party and first-party data, and it does not seem like they are easing up anytime soon. With the challenges, marketers should now look for alternatives that allow for them to collect data that is necessary in evaluating campaign performance while simultaneously protecting the online privacy of consumers. While Facebook’s resilient signals might now answer all of the questions and problems around data collection, they will certainly help.