Doctor Digital, I just got a weird email that says 'Facebook analytics going away' is it spam, a scam or something more sinister?
Doctor Digital Says
You got that email too? Facebook has been quietly letting its users know of the impending demise of its analytics function Facebook Analytics. We've all got plenty of notice as it's not being decommissioned until 30 June 2021. The big question is, what does that mean for businesses, and why would Facebook tank their own analytics tool?
Regular readers would know that the Digital Ready coaching team and Doctor Digital are always banging on about analytics, and the importance of measurement to track progress. On first read of the news it is somewhat confusing and shocking that what would appear to be a key tool in the Facebook performance toolkit is 'going away', but the reality is, it has been superseded by some of Facebook's other business tools that do the same job. Here is the official announcement:
“Facebook Analytics will no longer be available after June 30, 2021. Until then, you will still be able to access reports, export charts and tables, and explore insights. To export data into a CSV file from Facebook Analytics on your desktop, click the arrow in the top-right corner of each chart or table.
What is it anyway? For those analytic newbies, Facebook Analytics is used to connect data from a Facebook page with data from the Facebook pixel. When the data is connected, Analytics can show a conversion path between a customer engaging with a business’s content and eventually making a purchase off of Facebook.
That data has recently become more difficult to track using any tool – with or without Facebook Analytics. That’s because of an update in iOS 14 which asks users whether or not they want to be tracked by apps on their phone.
If a user says they don’t want the Facebook app to track them, then it’s not possible for marketers to get the same conversion data from the user as they previously could. Facebook has been pretty tight-lipped on more than their bare-bones information about the shuttering of Facebook Analytics, and there is plenty of speculation on the interwebs that the changes to Apple's privacy policies are having a strong but silent influence on the changes to Facebook's analytics.
So what to use now? Facebook have offered the following business tool alternatives to consider:
- Facebook Business Suite The Business Suite on Facebook lets you manage all of your connected accounts across Facebook and Instagram from one place. You get access to a number of tools like Inbox, Stories, Analytics and Insights, Commerce Manager, Ads Creation tools, and more. The Business Suite is available for both desktop and mobile devices.
- Ads Manager is used as your command centre for Instagram and Facebook advertising. With Facebook Ads Manager, you can create, run, and manage ads for your Facebook and Instagram pages. It’s a holistic tool that lets you track your ad campaigns in one place and monitor their performance. Unlike Facebook Analytics, however, you don’t get access to see page stats from organic sources or traffic.
- Events Manager Facebook Events Manager allows you to see your web events data and depending on your configuration, they can be tied to actions on your website. An example of these actions is Conversion, or AddToCart (for e-commerce platforms). This is made possible by installing Facebook Pixels to your website.
Replacing one tool with three is somewhat unwieldy, but potentially gives more specific data depending on whether you are events focussed, use a lot of paid advertising, or are more interested in tracking your audience and content. Facebook has lofty goals to make Business Suite the only interface businesses needs to manage their activity on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. There’s one problem, however, which is Facebook Business Suite is only available to small businesses at this time. Good for Tasmanian business on the whole, but limiting as a broader business tool. You've also still got Google analytics to work with though, affording plenty of insights across your whole customers journey.
The upshot? The demise of Facebook Analytics is yet another demonstration of the impermanence of their features and the danger of being too attached to anything offered by the platform.
There are other third party tools that can be used, alongside good old Google who seem to have a more stable approach to supporting customers. The key message, however, is analytics are important to your business so you can measure whether what you are doing is making the impact you want it to, so check out the alternatives that Facebook suggest, and have a look around and see what else might be able to assist you from third-party providers like Hootsuite and Agorapulse. Mostly, don't forget to download your existing data in Facebook before 30 June 2021 when it turns into a pumpkin and will be lost forever.