Facebook is mothballing its conversion tracking tool which allows advertisers to close the loop with users who clicked on a Facebook display ad to a landing page and conversion funnel outside of Facebook. MediaPost's Mark Walsh quotes a company statement which read, "Moving forward, we will continue to invest in tools that help marketers better understand the effectiveness of ads that are social and include social context from friends" -meaning conversion tracking tools for Facebook.com traffic. Read more.
What does this mean about the coming Facebook ad network? Nothing and something.
"Like" buttons are still sucking data all over gods-green-web and the intelligent targeting engine for the Facebook ad network waits to be unleashed. Publishers prepare to add the Facebook ad network ad tag to your stack. The new AdSense competitor is imminent.
Facebook could add back the off-Facebook conversion tracking when the ad network launches. But, why would it? Facebook does not want to enable traffic leaving the Facebook Web. The built-in conversion tracking which tracks new "Likes" to Facebook pages, for example, remains. And, if you haven't seen it, the sexy "social context" data displayed to advertisers is one more compelling reason to advertise through Facebook. It tells the advertiser how many of their ad impressions were shown to users who have friends that already "Like" the targeted page. I "like" it! Inside Facebook brings Nielsen research into the equation:
"The new metrics could further confirm a Nielsen study which showed that these recommendations improve ad recall by 10%, awareness by 4%, and purchase intent by 2% over the same ad without social context. If the study’s result are proven, advertisers may expand their use of social context ads by increasing targeting of users who have friends who Like the ad’s destination."
When the ad network comes, it will make sense that the advertisers have their conversion pages ON Facebook so that their campaigns leverage the social connections - and the marketer can explain the benefits of social advertising with hard data to their boss.
By John Ebbert