Red Hot Thoughts | Rebuilding your remarketing audiences


Back in May, we discussed the impending release of iOS-14 and the impact on social advertising. (Click here to view) Whilst much of the blog was hypothetical at that point, 6 months on, we have now begun to see the impact and decline of the Facebook pixel. Since the Apple update took effect, a company’s Facebook pixel is gradually receiving less and fewer data. Thus, creating huge hurdles for digital marketers.

Whilst remarketing has had a place in marketing strategies for many years, it has recently become the subject of intense scrutiny, due to its perceived intrusion on individuals’ privacy. In its simplest form, it gives you an opportunity to reclaim those would-be conversions you almost closed — and to capture those visitors who showed a high intent to purchase your products or services.

For example, let’s say Ross is browsing your website. As he moves through the website his intent data is being captured at every level. When Ross finally leaves the website to browse Facebook, ads are displayed within Facebook reflecting the products Ross has viewed, plus similar items that either the marketing department or Facebook deems to fit within Ross’s intent calculations.

The benefits of remarketing for consumers are clear. In today’s world, where consumers are looking for the simplest online shopping experience, remarketing can provide a personalised feel to your browsing. Ensuring that you are served appropriate adverts for your shopping habits when it suits them the most.

Albeit not everyone sees the benefits, and some people are uncomfortable with their data being used in this way. This led to Apple requiring all users to opt into data sharing via its mobile devices rather than the previous opt-out approach, and Google also announced that it would “phase out” third-party cookies in its Chrome browser by 2022.

Furthermore, when discussing this challenge with Red Hot Penny’s Head of Insights Dan Coleman, he believes that we are heading towards a “cookieless” internet within the next few years.

“The cookie era is coming to an end and companies must start their future-proofing process now. Whilst Google is still set up well to collect your data; mainly through its Android and Chrome users, platforms like Facebook are at risk of suffering the most”

Dan believes that despite this future, there is an opportunity for brands. We have recently begun working with a premium lingerie brand to implement Facebook Conversions API, which is designed to help negate the problem caused by the iOS update and the general move away from cookies. Within this sector particularly, consumers are often geared towards having the latest updates and handsets. This has led to the rapid decline of their remarketing audiences.

So, what is the fix?

Dan suggests there are two ways in which to fix declining remarketing lists.

“Firstly, we need to focus on gathering data without the use of cookies. Implementing a native conversion API integration offers one solution. Although this relies on huge development resources as well as new technologies and skillsets amongst developers. Alternatively, we can build a server-side GTM connection using Facebook’s tag template.”

What is the Facebook Conversion API?

Whilst Facebook pixel is a browser-side tool, Facebook Conversions API is a server-side tool. Whereas pixel tracks data through the users’ browser, the API tool allows companies to track events through the websites’ servers. The benefit of this tool is that is does not rely on cookies. That means visitors’ browser settings and performance don’t have an impact on what is tracked.

In turn, this provides valuable data to be used in ad targeting (custom audiences and retargeting), dynamic ads, and conversion optimisation. Whilst it also includes specific versions designed for apps and offline sales.

Dan suggests an implementation strategy alongside GTM and GA4.

“As well as providing advanced analytics with a more user-centric view, GA4 provides more intelligent tracking in readiness for a cookieless internet.

We’ve known as marketers that since GA4 was announced we’d need to make the switch at some point, but now there is a far more compelling reason; with a small modification, you can use your GA4 data streams for Facebook’s Conversions API.

This allows us to kill two birds with one stone, makes more efficient use of the technical implementation resource, and saves us an additional project when we inevitably find ourselves with no option but to switch to GA4 in future.”

By implementing this data strategy, you should see an improvement in your Facebook ads retargeting as well your attribution, giving you better data to analyze, and allowing you to make better decisions about how to allocate your ad budget. It is also anticipated that the additional data from the Facebook Conversions API alongside your legacy pixel, can serve ads more effectively to qualified users, reducing your CPA.

Talk to Red Hot Penny today.

Red Hot Penny are one of the only agencies in the UK that can bridge the gap comfortably between your developers and marketers. Our Insights and Analytics department speak natively to both stakeholders and can thus remove friction in the process. In addition, if required, our team can fully scope the project, build the brief, and either own the implementation or work closely with your team.

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