Facebook launches cross-device tracking for Facebook ads



"The iOS family pile (2012)" by Blake Patterson Yesterday, we were talking about how email marketers tend to use open rates rather than revenue as a measure of success. Today, we’re moving over to social media marketers and their version of the same problem.

We’re living in a cross-device world. Susan uses her smartphone to skim Facebook while she’s waiting for her coffee. She sees an ad for a product but before she can buy, the barista calls her name. Phone goes in her purse and she’s off to work.

Later in the day, she remembers the ad (if the advertiser did a good job of branding), visits the store online and buys the item. The ad worked. But you wouldn’t know that for sure because you couldn’t link the two.

Guess what. Facebook says, they can link the two.

With the new cross-device report, advertisers are now able to view the devices on which people see ads and the devices on which conversions subsequently occur. For instance, a marketer can view the number of customers that clicked an ad on an iPhone but then later converted on desktop, or the number of people that saw an ad on desktop but then converted on an Android tablet.

A-mazing.

This ability to track sales across multiple devices is becoming more important with every passing day. Why? Because every day, there are more people using their tablets and smartphones to do what they used to do only on a PC. According to a survey by GfK, more than 40% of online adults start an activity on one device and finish on another. That percentage increases with the number of devices a person owns.

Here’s another reason. Facebook discovered that the longer people waited between seeing the initial ad and making a purchase, the greater the chance of them switching devices.

Facebook cross device conversions

To make the magic happen, advertisers have to insert a Conversion Pixel on the page they want to measure. Facebook’s analytic elves handle the rest. You can see the results on the Facebook Ad Reports Page. Just choose Cross-Device and you’ll get something like this:

Facebook ad packing

Only your page will be easier to read than this shrunken screengrab. But there you have it. Proof that your Facebook mobile ads are / or aren’t converting. Pretty nifty. Facebook gets a rare thumbs up.