There have been many changes made to the most used online platforms over the past couple of years to combat some of the negative impacts of the internet and social media. These efforts have taken many forms, but most of it can be boiled down to transparency. Tech giants such as Google and Facebook are putting forth a lot of effort to make sure people can find out the source of the content that is shown to them in online ads. As part of that effort, Facebook is changing the requirements for authorizing the use of a Facebook Pixel.
Social media marketers use Facebook’s Pixel and offline event sets to track activity outside of Facebook (such as the visitors to a website) and then use that data to target ads to users on the platform. Though many businesses have these pixels on their site, the pixel itself was added and implemented by an ad agency or marketing firm. With this latest policy update from Facebook, agencies must now confirm their relationship with a business before they can begin using pixel-based tools for their client’s social media marketing campaign.
“In order to begin sharing pixel or offline event information with another business, you’ll need to define your business’ relationship with the business you want to share data with and review and reaffirm your compliance with our existing Business Tools Terms of Service,” Facebook explained in a post on its business blog.
While it may be a little annoying to add an extra step to adding a pixel, this change is something Facebook needed to do. In the current climate of GDPR consent requirements and the growing concern over privacy, Facebook wants business owners to be clearly informed when a pixel is added to their site, as well as the terms behind using that data.
While this change had the potential to be extremely annoying for sites that already have pixels, Facebook is only requiring the affirmation for newly created pixels. It would be very annoying if marketers had to go back to every current and former social media client to explain what the Facebook Pixel was and to reaffirm its use. Though that may be coming as part of Phase 3 in 2019.
As Facebook explained in the blog post, “As part of Phase 1, any advertisers who initiate a new share for either a Pixel or Offline event set, that haven’t declared a relationship in the past, will be taken through the sharing control flow. Once a relationship has been established between the 2 businesses, they will not need to go through the flow again.”
The process isn’t overly complex, but it will require several steps. First, the business needs to assign an advertising partner (if there are multiple users in the business manager) to the company that needs the pixels. The person creating the pixel will then be asked to “declare the type of business relationship with the company being shared with, choosing from the list of options or selecting “other” and adding an explanation of the business relationship.”
After that, the marketing agency will need to confirm that they are agreeing to the terms of service for using the pixel. Then, a request for confirmation will be sent to the admin of the business page that pixel was created for. Once the request to share is sent, a confirmation will appear. Then the marketer will have to wait for an admin from the business to accept and agree to the terms to have access to the data being shared. Ironically, since many businesses give their marketing agency admin rights, the marketing agency could be able to confirm the request on their own, which somewhat negates the purpose.
As was stated at the outset, this mostly about improving transparency and allowing Facebook to shield itself when third-parties misuse pixel data, since everyone would have been required to agree to the terms. It also helps business owners know when a pixel is installed on their site and what that entails.
This is only Phase 1 of Facebook’s plan so marketers should be prepared to see more changes in the future. For more recent online marketing news, read this article on Google Map updates that can help small business owners.