You may have heard, as I did last week, that Facebook Analytics is shutting down. The original announcement came a couple of months ago. But with the multitude of changes happening in the digital marketing world, you can give yourself some grace for missing this change in the midst of the fanfare. And, in all honesty, the Google algorithm changes are much more impactful and far reaching, and will continue to affect all of us.
Depending on who you talk to, the ending of Facebook Analytics is equivalent to the end of social media marketing as we know it – or about as important as Google+ going away. It’s probably somewhere in the middle, akin to the end of Adobe Flash. It was great while it lasted, but it ain’t as much fun anymore. Already some of the lesser-used features were stripped away.
Interestingly, the timing seems to imply that the dumping of Facebook Analytics is in the same vein as the Google algorithm change rolled out last week (with a second update coming in July). Both are predicated on Apple’s new iOS 14 uber-privacy settings.
If you’ve been using Facebook Analytics – and you really should have been, especially if you’re running paid ads on Facebook – you should take the time to download the data available. You have until the June 30th termination date.
The Past is Prologue
Around the same time that Facebook purchased Instagram for $1-Billion and launched their IPO, they quietly began adding certain tools for better business use. Presumably, they hoped to offer business users similar – or even more complex data – than Google Analytics had been able to offer.
This worked – sort of. Unfortunately, it would eventually backfire. People started asking how exactly Facebook was gathering and could profit from, all that information. The short answer was that nobody read the Facebook digital disclosures and user agreement before they clicked approve. And the lawyers designed it to be understandable… barely.
As both Facebook and Google (and Amazon) jockeyed to prove that they weren’t taking advantage of their users, a lot of the more powerful pieces of information were yanked. Facebook Analytics became less powerful, and/or significantly more generic. The value that the data once had was waning. I’m simplifying a lot of this, of course. For a detailed description of the data being collected from your online presence every day, you can check out this article.
The crux of it is not enough businesses – regardless of size – were using the available Facebook Analytics for much. Some used it to confirm what they learned from Google Analytics and other third party apps. Some just never embraced it. Or were afraid to admit that they had.
Either way, the tools were less valuable for the end user, making them less valuable to maintain for Facebook. The Apple privacy changes are just the final shovel full of dirt piled on the casket of Facebook Analytics.
But it’s not all gloom and doom for analytic information on the social media giant. While Facebook Analytics is going the way of the dodo, portions of it – some even improved upon – will live on in some of their other business-sided tools.
Creator Studio, Audience Insights, Business Manager, Events Manager, Ads Manager and Facebook Page Insights all still live on. They can be very useful tools in your arsenal for finding and tracking your customers’ interests and journeys. Even better, they can add valuable insights into the profile of the ideal customer you should be targeting. A lot of them are now better integrated with Instagram as well, adding cross-posting value.
And I would look for a significant update to Facebook Business Suite on or around June 30 – granting all businesses entrée to the “one-stop-shopping” account access small businesses have gotten a nice preview of for the past nine months.
The biggest loss we’ll see? The “accessory” data that Facebook probably wasn’t supposed to be gathering anyways. And some of that is still available on Google Analytics.
The More Things Change
The real story behind the death of Facebook Analytics is that we shouldn’t rely too much on any technology to assist us with our digital marketing needs. Yes, Facebook is a social media behemoth. One that we can’t afford to ignore or not have a presence on. But Facebook and social media marketing are simply tools within your digital marketing strategy. Likes aren’t sales.
Your strategy must be your guide. How much social media do you use? How much you engage with your customers – present and potential – on whatever platform? Everything must be factored out of your digital marketing strategy.
And you must have a strategy.
You also have to use it. Knowing who your ideal customers are does you no good unless you’re targeting them. Contacting them, updating them, sharing your business story. You have no one to blame but yourself if you know who your customers are, but don’t make an effort to connect with them.
While algorithms and platforms and tools may change, the principles of strategy don’t. In fact, we’ve seen over the past 20 years that the more those tools change, the more relevant and impactful our approach is.
The same philosophies and codes we taught entrepreneurs and small business owners back in 1998 are still valid. We helped hundreds of business owners through economic downturns – even recessions. The principles were so effective that Michael Pink, Zig Ziglar and his organization, and more, invited us to share our message with their teams and clients.
Now It’s Your Turn
We would love to help you too. Our website has plenty of articles on how business strategy and digital marketing work and can be used for your success. But some folks want a more hands on approach. If that’s you, I encourage you to reach out. We’ll give you 25 minutes of our time, free of charge, to look at your options.
We’ve built our business, educating and serving other small businesses and entrepreneurs and I know we can help you too. Let’s Grow the Dream together!