How advertisers can get around Facebook Ads Aggregated Event Measurement

The Apple’s iOS 14 updates have made advertisers using events for conversion optimization or call-to-action such as the sales of tickets to a Coke Studio Live concert), to switch to the Aggregated Event Measurement with a caveat that one can have only eight events (such as a concert or the release date of a particular product like Vanilla Coke) per domain (a number which was previously unlimited). Events are used to create custom audiences on the basis of actions users have taken on an app or a website. These audiences can then be targeted with ads relevant to them when they visit Facebook. Let us see how we can continue to use Facebook ads well even after the iOS 14 privacy update.

Remove irrelevant events: If you have events which are unused in current ads when you see the Results or Optimization Events columns in Facebook you can choose to remove or skip these events from the new Aggregated Events Measurement setup. Doing so will save you a lot of time and optimize your ads.

Combining events: When you don’t have more event spaces left try and combine events which are similar in nature. For example, two different product launches which would have the same call-to-action can be clubbed. Content events too, can be clubbed as one such as blog views, guide views, video views etc. You could also club events for seasonal actions in one place. While on your Aggregated Events, when you use custom conversions with the combined actions, only one event is created, instead of a lot of events with limited slots.

Using what is there: Though there are only eight spots for optimization and conversion tracking, one can still make any number of events. If the events you have set up are not in the top eight for Aggregated Measurement, you can create audiences to use for ad set targeting (in other words a group of customers shall be targeted for a particular event). When you create audiences you can choose from the eligible events to be used as audience source and create retargeting ad sets on the basis of particular event actions to try and get the user or your probable customer to the final conversion action.

Not all of these strategies may work in all events but some may work in certain situations. It will take a bit of trial and error before we arrive at what works best for us. What we would also like to say here is that one must make use of specific targeting options while they’re still available but also to prepare for what lies ahead. Broad targeting using Facebook’s ad delivery system helps find potential customers one would not have known about otherwise. Targeting expansion can help improve the advertiser’s campaign performance by allowing Facebook’s system to reach a wider spectrum or group of people than what is chosen by you in targeting selections. Both broad targeting and targeting expansion may be good strategies to begin with!

Meta Makes Way around Apple’s Data Privacy Move; Releases Ad, Shares Tips

Meta is still coming to terms with the aftermath of Apple’s data privacy move which it rolled out with the iOS 14 update. Losses to the tune of approximately $10 billion in 2022, users cut off from data tracking, and limited sharing of insights with ad customers, are some of the ways Meta has been hurt with the iOS 14 update. Meta’s new dual-edged ad campaign attempts to take yet another dig at Apple while also trying to get small businesses to advertise with them.

Meta has released another ad for its ‘Good Ideas Deserve To Be Found’ series  (a campaign celebrating small business ideas and helping people understand how personalized ads enable the discovery of those ideas) in which it tries to reiterate the importance of customized ads for SMBs and how to get their businesses to reach those customers who are genuinely interested in their product. While announcing the new ad, Meta said, “Personalized ads have been a lifeline for small businesses through the pandemic, helping them find new customers and grow when it was difficult for people to be in person. In fact, 74% of SMBs using personalized ads reported that these advertisements were important to the success of their business.”

The messaging is aimed at stopping users from opting out of data tracking from apps.  Garnering sympathy for small businesses is its way of telling people how data is important to businesses. This has been Meta’s strategy since even before Apple rolled out iOS 14 update when a Meta blog post read, “”We understand that iOS 14 will hurt many of our developers and publishers at an already difficult time for businesses. Many of these are small businesses that depend on ads to support their livelihood.”

Meanwhile, Meta also gave out tips to help SMBs go through this mega change. It asked SMBs to work towards short ads suitable for mobile phones for better engagement on its platforms like Facebook and Instagram as mobile users watch more videos. It also advised SMBs to use  Conversions API to help create ‘a reliable and privacy-safe connection between your marketing data’. For first-party data collection, Meta suggested the use of Instant Forms and other lead generation tools.

The jury is still out on whether Meta’s move will turn its own saviour.

How Apple’s move to protect user data cost Facebook ads dearly

Unregulated data can be dangerous as brands get access to user information, but the tables were turned when with a clean sweep (or 14.5 update in 2021) Apple empowered its users to protect their privacy if they so wish. This is done using a simple opt-in prompt on every app and allows users to give or withhold consent to third-party sites such as Facebook to track their user data. What the feature essentially does is that it blocks tracking of their info resulting in less data in the hands of advertisers and thus less revenues. This also means that targeted advertisement (tracking who is the brand’s TA and targeting them instead of the entire spectrum) would take a massive hit. We have earlier delved into how AI helps brands in leveraging user data. But what followed Apple’s data privacy move was the inability of the advertiser to know if the Facebook users visited their site, made a transaction or purchase, and ultimately in measuring the quantum of effectiveness of the ad campaign they ran on the platform. As per Facebook the data protection features launched by Apple have impacted its ad revenues. Facebook even went on record saying the impact of this feature on ad investment has been much more than expected by advertisers and said it would now be harder to measure ad campaigns on the platform besides increasing the cost of achieving business outcome via Facebook ads.

Technicalities aside, how businesses got impacted is a grave tale. According to data from AppsFlyer’s Performance Index 14 comparing H2 2020 to H2 2021, a quarter of total budgets shifted from iOS to Android due to Apple’s move. The shift in average ad spend dip was between 10% to 15%. One look at the numbers shows how big the impact has been. As per analyst Michael Nathanson, Facebook is bound to generate USD 129 billion in ad revenue in 2022 implying an ad business growth of just 12 % this year, as agaonst 36 % in the previous year.

Facebook’s response to the situation to make things right for the advertisers is what it calls ‘aggregated event measurement’ till a better fix is found. While Facebook will still not be able to tell advertisers which individuals clicked on a link or downloaded an app upon seeing an ad, it can tell them what a larger group of users did. What Facebook does in future, remains to be seen.

Meta Releases New Self-Supervised Algorithm data2vec

Meta AI, known earlier as Facebook AI, has launched what it calls as the “first high-performance self-supervised [machine learning] algorithm” called data2vec. data2vec is aimed at achieving self-supervised learning beyond specific use cases. Hitherto, self-supervised models were such that they could solve only a specific problem. A self-supervised language model could not solve a visual problem and a self-supervised visual model could not solve an audio problem. How data2vec will be different is that it will use the same algorithm to solve distinct problems , and move a step forward towards generalized artificial intelligence. A single model can now see, read, and listen, and comprehend rules across all these inputs. According to Meta AI, ‘through self-supervised learning, machines are able to learn about the world just by observing it and then figuring out the structure of images, speech or text.’ This approach is more effective for machines as they can now complete tasks of greater complexity like understanding the text for more and more spoken languages. With data2vec, Meta AI claims to be getting ‘closer to building machines that learn about different aspects of the world around them without having to rely on labeled data.’ We are nearing a future where AI could be able to use videos, audio recording, and articles to learn about even complicated subjects such as a game of chess or soccer, thus making AI more adaptable. Meta AI also claims that data2vec ‘outperformed the previous best single-purpose algorithms for computer vision and speech and it is competitive on NLP tasks’. The main idea behind data2vec is to enable machines to perform unfamiliar tasks as well. This will also bring computers a step closer to a world wherein computers will rely on less and less labeled data to complete their tasks.

The new algorithm works on a teacher network and a student network. The teacher network computes tasks from text, audio, or images and then the same is masked to repeat the process for a student network, which is entasked to predict representations of the full input data, while being given just a part of it. The prediction comes from internal representations of the input data, hence removing the dependence on a single modality.

One can access the open source code here.

If you are looking forward to machines with less reliability on labeled data or want to talk about data2vec contact us at [email protected] and subscribe to our newsletter

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