Facebook is testing yet another feature that might elicit mixed reactions by its users. TechCrunch has reported that Facebook is using a new feature called ‘View Tags’ that allows advertisers to drop cookies on people who see their Facebook ads and track if they buy something later.

Josh Constine from TechCrunch reports that “the first View Tags results showing up to 87 percent of conversions can come from views.” He believes this could help Facebook claim responsibility for sales that are generated through ads on its site. The View Tag program was first rolled out privately but Facebook has allowed more advertisers to make use of it over time.

This feature is slightly different from the one Reuters covered last week that allowed advertisers a similar tracking tool. That tool relied on the advertiser’s site detecting the user ID of someone who converts, Facebook then cross checking against the list of who saw what ads to establish attribution.


Facebook makes use of cookies for 'View Tags' (Image Credit: Tech Crunch)

The ‘View Tag’ feature works with advertisers generating cookies while working with approved partners to make their ads drop on them. The user may not immediately act on the ad and may scroll by it. The cookies will remain on the user’s browser till they are either manually cleared or expire after a few months.

Initially, they help advertisers tell what anonymous demographics of users have seen their ads, and how many times. Then if a viewer makes a purchase, signs up for a service, or takes some other conversion action on the advertiser’s site later on, a pixel installed on the site recognizes the cookie and informs Facebook which user converted.  Advertisers can then check their Facebook ad analytics to see which ad led to the conversion,” writes Constine.

The advertisers will know what ad the user saw even if they did not click on it. Facebook ads usually drive users to purchase products, but it may not be as soon as a user sees it. That does not mean it wasn’t effective, a point that is missed when clicks are used as a parameter to judge the success of a campaign.

Reported in TechCrunch, Social Code ran a campaign for a consumer packaged goods company that was looking to get people to redeem an offer. Through View Tags, it was found that of the total 5,924 people who redeemed the offer, 5,127 had only viewed the advertisement, compared to 797 users who clicked through to the offer directly from the advertisement.

Social ads giant Kenshoo used the View Tags feature and found that 34.6 percent conversions came from impressions where users had not clicked. Conversions that were impression-only generated over $3,100, roughly 29 percent of the campaign's total revenue.

Facebook had been working on this feature for a long time, keeping it in the beta version to presumably work on privacy issues and performance. The problem Facebook had been facing for the longest time was that it was not getting any credit for sales generated through the site, despite the ad features being a huge market. When a user remembered an ad he saw on Facebook to only go back and Google it, it was the search engine that got the credit despite Facebook driving it. This will be a way for Facebook to show that ads displayed by it are just as important in being the thrust for the sale.

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