You Ask, I Answer: How to Track Facebook Without a Pixel?

Scott asks, “How do you track Facebook activity without installing the Facebook Pixel?”

Companies may have good reason to not install Facebook’s pixel. The company hasn’t exactly behaved in a trustworthy way as a responsible data steward. Other companies may have serious regulatory concerns like GDPR compliance or other PHI. So how do you determine Facebook’s impact in the absence of its premier tracking mechanism?

For self-hosted analytics in highly regulated industries, check out Matomo.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, Scott asks, How do you track Facebook activity without installing the facebook pixel?

Well,

companies, companies may have good reason not to install Facebook’s pixel the company Facebook has not exactly behave in a trustworthy manner or as a responsible data. Stewart any number of scandals about leaked information, hacked information, sharing data inappropriately. Partners has left a lot of people a little uncomfortable with them and other companies may have serious regulatory concerns like GDP GDP or compliance. Again, we can only take Facebook at his word but part of the responsibility for GDPR is on the vendors they use apartments yours and so if you are working with a in an environment where you need to have iron clad GDP are compliant compliance it may not want to install it there either

other companies

May that we’re in highly regulated industries may not be able to use Facebook’s pixel at all. Because Well, you could be dealing with things like protected health information. And given that we don’t even know for sure one way or the other, that Facebook what Facebook is scraping off a web forms and things may not be able to use it there either. So what are your options for tracking Facebook using the tools that you already have? If you have an are permitted to use Google Analytics, it is probably the best choice for tracking the impact of Facebook. And the way that you’ll track Facebook’s impact is through the use of UTM codes, UTM parameters which are the tracking URLs that you attend to any web URL, and you would specify for example, the UTM source would be Facebook, the UTM medium would be social and then the individual campaigns and things like that go with those tracking codes. And that’s probably the single best way to track Facebook’s impact because you’ll be able to see

What data is coming, what users are coming from Facebook and how they’re interacting with your website and what they do and how they convert.

Here’s another thing about Facebook

you can if you have a page there, extract your analytics from that and then put that alongside your Google Analytics data in a big spreadsheet and then run data analysis to determine what if any, what activities on Facebook like post likes and haha and comments and shares correspond to the business outcomes and goals that you are tracking. So that’s another avenue for for being able to make use the Facebook data that you get from Facebook like having a Facebook page and the content you post there and then using stats software like our or Python or SPSS to do that analysis. Now if you are in a highly regulated industry where you cannot eat

Use Google Analytics because you’re not permitted to you may be using Adobe analytics, which is fine. You can use this do the essentially the same things with their own tracking URL. Or if you’re not even allowed to use a cloud vendor like you have to use something on premises. If you haven’t checked out check out the open source package called matondo used to be called payload analytics. And this is a self hosted analytics package that offers probably 85 90%

of the functionality of Google Analytics. But you host it yourself. You the host it on a cloud provider. If you’re allowed to do so like a zoo, or AWS, or Google Cloud or IBM Cloud, you can put it into a container like a Docker container, or if you have to have it firmly governed by your IT infrastructure. It can actually be on a machine inside your firewall. And then the in the interface from a tumble looks very similar to Google Analytics with the marketing campaign add on from a tomo. It will automatically ingest Google Analytics UTM code so you can use UTM contract.

codes universally. And if there are certain parts of your website where that are publicly accessible, that don’t have compliance requirements, you can use Google Analytics for that or material for that. And then behind the firewall or in areas where there is protected health information or protected personally identifiable information. You can use fentanyl and in store the data behind the firewall for your own analysis. It is it is open source package. And it is something that you can fully govern within your existing it policies. And if you have experienced with Google Analytics material will look very familiar. It is very obviously structured after Google Analytics. So what are the things to be looking for that if you don’t have Facebook’s pixel what you are again, it comes down to the activities on Facebook, the content you create that leads to traffic that eventually turns into some sort of digital outcome. What you’ll lose from Facebook by not using their pixels is you’ll lose the ability to track and cookie your audience on your website.

Determine using Facebook Audience Insights now that does not deter you from using Facebook audience insights on your page because again, that’s self contained

that is and its own environment. And those there are none of your systems should be connected to your Facebook page in terms of data interchange for in a in a protected environment. So you can use Facebook audience insights to extract information about people who like your page, and you can use it for the broader audience aspects as well. If you just want to see how many people on Facebook Like a certain thing, you can use Facebook audience insights for that. So that’s how you generally track Facebook without a pixel, you do lose some of that data, especially the the differences between who likes your page and who likes your website who’s on your website. But at the end of the day, if you’re doing the data science work on the back end to look at your Facebook activities to look at the user activities and then to look at your web analytics and then possibly your car.

Or your marketing automation software, you will get the most important information, which is is Facebook as a channel contributing to your business any meaningful way? Is it generating impact? We did a thing recently for a customer and discovered Yeah, it was it was okay but it wasn’t great. There were other channels that had much more impact for them. And so we were able to advise them move some you’re spending some of your your time and resources and people away from Facebook into into this other thing that was working better for them. That’s ultimately what you want to decide. And you can do that without the facebook pixel. so

tough question, Scott. Because so many companies have gotten so reliant and I don’t know maybe even a little bit lazy about just ingesting all the data that Facebook gets.

This is my opinion this is not based on extensive research, but the regulation of social networks is coming in some ways with things like

GDPR it’s already here. But we are about to enter another election cycle in the United States. And it is clear that hostile foreign actors are using social media to influence the outcomes of those things, those elections and that sooner or later we’ll catch up to the networks themselves. Yes, we can pursue the the hostile foreign actors but that level of interference will require regulation of the social networks themselves, assuming that the users themselves just don’t all scattered to the wins and private communities anyway. And so

I would advise that you get in the habit of doing this type of data analysis so that no matter what channels what methods and things you’re using, your what tools you’re using, you have the ability to understand what is a channels impact on your business, whether it’s email whether it is

Facebook, whether it is Tick tock, who knows,

at the end of the day, you have to be able to draw a line from the stuff that you do to the results that you create. And get in the habit of doing that now, so that when the hammer does fall on many of these big social networks, you’re not left out in the cold that by the way, that also means don’t forget to invest in things like SEO. Don’t forget to invest in things like email marketing, don’t forget to invest in things like your own website, because those are the things you you own and control. And should the ground change significantly underneath social media marketing, you are not putting all of your eggs in one basket. So great question. complex question,

check out my tomo. If you are in a highly regulated industry. And even if you’re not, I would suggest this wouldn’t be the worst idea to try it out installed. Again, if you’re not in a highly regulated industry, just to deploy a single instance of it on the cloud service like Google Cloud or IBM Cloud whenever, you know, run at the low

Budget number because it’s really only going to be you and your team writing it and experiment with it is it wouldn’t be the worst idea to have a backup system. If you’re using Google Analytics. Google Analytics is fantastic. It is the gold standard for marketing measurement these days for top and middle of the funnel, but

times change, right, you don’t own Google Analytics. And so if you have your own server that’s doing a backup copy of your analytics might be a good thing just to have in your back pocket so that someday if things go crazy, you have the ability to, to recover and and and have that second set of data available. So something to think about. As always, please leave comments below and subscribe to the YouTube channel and the newsletter and I’ll talk to you soon one help solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems. This is trust insights.ai today and let us know how we can help you


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