Facebook takes control of cookies to give advertisers better information

Facebook takes control of cookies to give advertisers better information

You didn’t see the coding change Facebook made in October but you should notice a better response to the ads you place on the social media network.

As you know, every internet company that sells advertising tracks customers who click on ads and make online purchases. Facebook, Google, Amazon and all the other companies use that information to try to sell you even more merchandise.

Until Oct. 24, Facebook had used other companies to do the tracking. The practice was referred to as a “third-party cookie option” because computer cookies are used in the tracking.

What the change means

Now Facebook tracks cookies itself and as a result can provide more detailed information to anyone who places ads on the platform. That’s because “first-party cookie options” face fewer restrictions from internet search providers and government regulations.

Facebook advertisers faced problems especially with customers who use Safari, which is owned by Apple and is the second most popular search engine behind Chrome. With the “first-party” option, Facebook removed those restrictions and can provide advertisers with demographic information about where customers live, their age and buying preferences; whether they are using a desktop or mobile website; and measurement of the ad’s effectiveness.

This information gives advertisers on Facebook more opportunities to sell more products. And that’s why businesses use Facebook.

Advertising terms you need to know:

  • A “pixel” describes the code that is used to track customer behavior and create cookies.
  • A cookie resides in your browser and tells advertisers about your buying preferences.
  • Retargeting: The practice of sending additional advertising to customers who have already viewed an ad and/or made a purchase from an advertiser.

When you visit a website, a pixel records the pages you view and any buying actions you take. The pixel deposits a cookie in your browser, where it is stored and can convey consumer information to sellers.

Customer protections

The changes in cookie tracking will not affect Facebook’s requirements for businesses to give visitors information about how cookies are used. So any business site you run should maintain or update the customer disclosure on how data is collected and shared. We wrote about the changes enacted by the European Union that also guide companies based in the U.S.

Note that businesses operating under restrictive disclosure rules – such as medical or financial firms – may be required to restrict their use of cookies to gather information.

Facebook has made the “first-party” cookies the default for advertising, but business owners can monitor and control the use of cookies on their ads by updating the pixel settings in Facebook’s Events Manager.

If you don’t want to spend the time learning more about pixels and cookies, Bingley Design can help you create and get the most out of your Facebook advertising. Contact Lauren at (203) 491-2814 or lauren@bingleydesign.com