A lot has changed in the digital marketing world over the past few years and more changes are still to come. Here are a few tips to help you address recent and upcoming changes in order to improve your ads on Facebook and Instagram in 2022.
1. Verify Your Domain and Configure Your Conversion Events
Since the iOS 14 update in early 2021, a few things have changed on Facebook and Instagram’s shared ad platform. Namely, conversion events must now be configured on the site itself using Aggregated Events Measurement in order for ads to be properly delivered to iOS 14 users who have opted out of cookie tracking.
“Aggregated Events Measurement” is a bit of a mouthful, so we’ll just refer to it as “AEM.” Basically, with AEM, Facebook configures the events on your site’s backend in a way that is compliant with Apple’s new privacy policies regarding data collection. This allows for ads to be delivered to those who have opted out of cookie tracking and also allows for sales that come from these users to be tracked, however, the caveat to this is that reporting may be delayed and much of the data will be anonymized to protect the user’s privacy.
In order to configure these events, however, you’re probably going to be required to verify your domain. This is essentially claiming ownership of your site and telling Facebook that you have the authority to configure and edit these events. Note: in order to verify your domain, you will need a Business Manager.
In some cases, Facebook will have configured these events for you based on past data that has been collected from your ad account. For example, if you run a Shopify store and your primary objective is sales, Facebook may have already configured the Purchase and Add to Cart events on your behalf. If you wanted to make changes to how these events are prioritized, however, you would still need to verify the domain.
In closing: if conversion events are not configured via the steps above, you may not be able to deliver your ads to iPhone users who have opted out of cookie tracking.
2. Review Changes to Targeting Policy, Plan Out New Strategies As Needed
Meta will be adding new rules for how ads are targeted in 2022. Four main audience categories will be removed as of January 19th:
- Health Causes (i.e. cancer awareness)
- Sexual orientation
- Religious beliefs, practices, and groups/organizations
- Politics beliefs, social causes/issues, political organizations, and political figures
Advertisers will no longer be able to target Facebook and Instagram users based on whether or not they have expressed interest in or affiliation with any of the topics above.
While these targeting methods will no longer be available as of January 19th, existing ad sets that already have audiences in these categories can still be used until late March. In the meantime, it might not be a bad idea to plan ahead and test out new targeting strategies prior to any existing ones being disabled in March.
In some cases, when no alternative targeting methods are able to narrow down your audience to the extent that you’d like, one option may be to use open targeting (no interests or behaviours included) or lookalike audiences based on existing customers, email contacts, or website visitors. From there, you can remarket to those that have expressed further interest in your ads.
3. Use Remarketing Audiences That Don’t Rely on Pixel Data
The Facebook Pixel is an incredible tool for tracking website conversions and remarketing to your top website visitors, which can be segmented by a variety of different actions taken on the site. However, in lieu of the recent Apple update mentioned above, the Pixel’s tracking isn’t as accurate as it used to be.
There is likely to be an increasing number of website visitors that you can’t remarket to using your Pixel alone and you may find that existing custom audiences have gotten smaller, which will have a negative impact on their performance in ads.
You may have already noticed that your ads seem to be generating an awful lot more link clicks than landing page views, meaning that Facebook is having trouble tracking the clickers from Point A to Point B.
While this isn’t to say that the Pixel is no longer a valid tool for remarketing, it certainly isn’t the be all and end all either. Facebook offers a wide variety of ways to retarget people who have engaged with your ads, as well as your page and its content.
Here are a few other options for targeting creating remarketing audiences on Facebook and Instagram:
- Email lists compiled from newsletter signups, leads, or customers’ contact info are a great way to reach some of your most engaged existing or potential customers
- Note: It is best practice to use a list of at least a few hundred people, but ideally over 1000, as these people then have to be matched to Facebook and/or Instagram users in order for your ads to deliver properly.
People who click on your ads
- If you can’t track the people who click on your ads through your website, track them through the initial click.
- The action of clicking on your ads is something that occurs on the platform itself, so it is not dependent on cookie tracking.
- Note: This method of segmenting your engagement audiences is only available on Facebook, so you will have to use a different option for Instagram.
- This type of audience can be used to complement your existing Pixel web audiences and does not have to be used as a complete alternative.
- After all, some of your website visitors will not have come from Facebook.
- Another added bonus to this type of targeting is that the retargeting period can be as far back as 365 days, which makes them very useful for lookalike audiences, as lookalikes are highly dependent on the size of the initial custom audience.
Facebook lead form engagement
- People who filled out a lead form
- People who have opened a lead form
- If you don’t have a large enough list of people who have filled out a lead form, target the ones who opened it
- Note: these audiences can only go back 90 days in terms of when the action was taken, so it is often better to use a customer list instead, especially when building lookalike audiences.
- General engagement audiences don’t tend to contain the highest intent users, but sometimes, any indication of interest is better than nothing.
All in all, it looks like Facebook and Instagram advertisers are going to have to get a bit creative in 2022, so hopefully you find these pointers helpful. If you’re still throwing your hands up in frustration, one final option will always be to leave it to the professionals.