5 min read

"It's A Feature!" - Facebook Edition

"It's A Feature!" - Facebook Edition

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If you have seen a recent surge in conversions being reported in Facebook, you may have fallen victim to experienced a relatively new feature in Facebook - Automatic Events.

As many advertisers know, when you setup Facebook’s tracking pixel on your site, you define a handful of conversions. This typically include checkouts, abandoned carts, newsletter signups, etc.

Now, in their infinite wisdom, Facebook is taking it upon themselves to define their own conversions in addition to those you have defined. For advertisers, that means the conversions you see in your reporting could be the conversion you defined or they could be conversions defined without your knowledge or input.

Perhaps users frequently visit your FAQ page…Facebook may automagically create a conversion for page views of that page. That could easily lead advertisers to put more budget behind campaigns thought to be driving transactions, but in reality driving FAQ page views (or some other unavailable action).

To make sure your conversion definitions are still relevant to your brands, visit Events Manager > Data Sources > Your Pixel > Overview tab > Breakdown option.

And better yet, to turn off this feature entirely, visit Events Manager > Data Sources > Your Pixel > Settings > under Event Setup toggle off ‘Track Events Automatically Without Code’.

Thanks a lot, Facebook.


🔎 Search

Google to switch completely over to mobile-first indexing by September 2020

Google has announced that by September 2020 all sites will be crawled and indexed by Google using mobile-first indexing. We reported early that this would happen by end-of-year but this blog post from Google says this change will happen by September.

Google said, “To simplify, we’ll be switching to mobile-first indexing for all websites starting September 2020.” Most sites have moved over already and you can check if your site has moved over by logging into Google Search Console.

To check if your site has already been moved to mobile-first indexing, check out Search Engine Land’s guide.


🗣 Social

Last week we talked about LinkedIn adding Stories to its network. This week it is Twitter’s turn. Allow me to introduce you to “Fleets”:

Twitter Is Finally Doing Stories

Today, Twitter is finally changing its tune. It’s testing fleets — its try-hard name that mashes together “fleeting” and “tweets” — in Brazil, according to a company blog post.

“People have told us in early research that because Fleets disappear, they feel more willing to share casual, everyday thoughts,” Twitter said on Wednesday. “We hope that people who don’t usually feel comfortable Tweeting use Fleets to share musings about what’s on their mind.”

Fleets cannot be retweeted or liked, the company said. They support text, GIFs, videos, and photos.

Facebook’s Campaign Budget Optimization is not required…yet. Date for requiring CBO pushed, again.

In Q1 of 2019, Facebook announced that their Campaign Budget Optimization (CBO) tool would be required in September 2019 with no way for advertisers to turn it off.

September 2019 came around and Facebook announced that making CBO mandatory would be delayed until February 2020.

Now, coming up on their latest deadline, we have gotten word from Facebook that this date has been pushed again with no firm timetable in place.

I don’t know any Facebook advertisers who were excited about CBO becoming mandatory. But public outcry has never stopped Facebook from proceeding with changes before. I wonder why this entirely-too-prematurely announced change continues to be delayed.


Facebook Messenger ditches Discover, demotes chat bots

Chat bots were central to Facebook Messenger’s strategy three years ago. Now they’re being hidden from view in the app along with games and businesses. Facebook Messenger is now removing the Discover tab as it focuses on speed and simplicity instead of broad utility like China’s WeChat.

The changes are part of a larger Messenger redesign that reorients the People tab around Stories as Facebook continues to try to dominate the ephemeral social media format it copied from Snapchat. The People tab now defaults to a full-screen sub-tab of friends’ Stories, and requires a tap over to the Active sub tab to see which friends are online now.

I have always been bearish on chatbots, especially those which were intended to replace human interaction. Although helpful as a faux phone tree, AI is no where near the ability to fake a human in a support setting. And it seemed odd that Facebook would gamble one of its properties so heavily on a developing technology.

RIP chatbots.


📈 Reporting & Revenue

This whole report is packed full of good, high-level data. I will highlight a few takeaways here, but definitely check out their report for the whole story.

Despite all of the buzz, Search is still king.

Display & Remarketing are the channels where spend is declining the most.

56% of eCommerce marketers are not advertising on Amazon.

36% of eCommerce marketers said that Audience Targeting was the most important aspect of the digital advertising industry over the last 12 months.

44% of eCommerce marketers are investing in Video Ads.

🛍 Marketplace

Apple now lets apps send ads in push notifications

As spotted by 9to5Mac, Apple updated its App Store guidelines today with a change to its traditionally strict restrictions around push notifications. Apple has long banned apps from using notifications for “advertising, promotions, or direct marketing purposes,” but that changes today. Apps can now send marketing notifications when “customers have explicitly opted in to receive them.” Users must also be able to opt out of receiving the ads.

The change follows a couple incidents over the past two years in which Apple bent its own rules by sending out push notifications that read a lot like ads. Since other companies’ apps could be banned or have their push notification privileges revoked for that behavior, the moves were criticized as another example of Apple getting away with special treatment because it controls the platform.

Apple’s intention has generally been a good one here — no one wants to be spammed with notifications, especially not marketing messages they didn’t request. But the flat out ban led to some ambiguities that this new policy may be able to clear up. Can a retailer use a push notification to tell you about a sale, if you’ve already installed their app? Can Amazon encourage customers to buy a new phone through its app, as it recently did? Some of these notifications might be useful, and Apple’s new policy could let them through while giving customers control over whether they actually see them.

From the ‘news only advertisers are excited to hear’ files, Apple’s own desires are undoubtedly the driving force behind this change. But now that it is here, perhaps your brand can take advantage of the temporary gold rush to implement it.


🛠 Tips & Tools

In a Tweetstorm of tips for Instagram Stories, [@litterstflorian](https://twitter.com/litterstflorian/] shared one tip I especially liked:


To revisit a rumor from late last year:

Instagram is testing in-app reminders for merch drops

The reminder works similarly to one users can already set for more general launches in Stories, although this new sticker brands and creators can use is more specific and launches Instagram’s in-app shopping feature. The reminder will show up the day before the drop, as well as fifteen minutes before launch. Although this is just a test, it makes sense for Instagram to explore, given that artists and brands already use the platform to tease limited-edition merch drops. Right now, people have to set their own alarms to remember.

I have recently experienced one of these new stickers in the wild, albeit from one of the ~20 brands that received early access to the new feature. This seems like it could be incredibly powerful for online retailers. As an advertiser, I’m excited to see it roll out to the masses.

🤷🏻‍♂️ Just For Fun

👋🏼 Holla!

Questions, comments, inquiries? I’d love to hear from you! Email newsletter@robbettis.com.