Facebook recently (and rather quietly) announced that it is retiring its free Facebook Analytics tool (FBA) at the end of June 2021.
We take a closer look at what this means in practice and what the alternatives are for your business.
Facebook announces end to Analytics in June 2021
In an announcement on the Facebook Business Help Centre, it said:
“Facebook Analytics will no longer be available after 30 June 2021. Until then, you will still be able to access reports, export charts and tables, and explore insights. To export data into a CSV file from Facebook Analytics on your desktop, click the arrow in the top-right corner of each chart or table.”
Despite the emergence of new social media channels in recent years, there is still a place at the table for Facebook, with 1.84 billion users using the social networking site on a daily basis (source: Oberlo).
Facebook remains an effective, low-cost promotional tool for small or local businesses and it is still popular amongst millennials, with 26.3% of uses being aged 25-34 (source: Sprout Social).
What does Facebook Analytics do?
Currently, Facebook Analytics gives businesses a helpful insight into how people interact with their Facebook page, alongside activity on other owned media channels such as websites and apps.
For example, it can show the conversion journey from a customer engaging with your content, to them eventually making a purchase.
This is particularly useful when it comes to seeing what type of content resonates with your audience, as well as for making business cases for more advertising spend.
With this notice from Facebook, now is the perfect time to explore where else you can get your data.
And don’t forget to export any data from Facebook Analytics that you will need in the future now – while you still can!
Why is Facebook retiring Analytics?
So, if Facebook Analytics provides such useful data, then why is it being removed?
Well, Facebook themselves have not given a reason as to why they are getting rid of Analytics, but speculation is rife that it could be due to increased privacy features on internet browsers and on smartphones.
In a recent update to the Apple operating system, iOS 14, users are asked whether they would like to be tracked by apps on their phones.
If the user does not wish to be tracked then not only can you not target and re-target that user with ads, but you also cannot get the conversion data which was previously available.
This is just the latest in a long line of measures which Apple has taken to try to protect the privacy of its users.
It is a bit of a headache for digital marketers to say the least but we are nothing if not adaptable!
What can you use instead of Facebook Analytics?
While we are all trying to make advertising and content decisions based on data, this seems like a bold move from the social media giant.
But not to worry, although the Facebook Analytics tool is going away, you will still have access to a wide range of business tools through the platform.
This means that you will still be able to get the data you need, although you may need to use a combination of these tools in order to obtain the same data.
As always, when any platform changes one of their features, it may take a little getting used to and you may need to update your team’s processes or the figures that your executive reports rely on.
Facebook Business Suite
Launched in Q3 of 2020, Facebook’s Business Suite is the latest in the platform’s management tools and it was designed to help make it easier for small businesses to manage their Facebook, Messenger and Instagram accounts from one place.
Facebook Business Suite allows you to post on these platforms at the same time; get notifications, messages and alerts in one place; and see important insights at account, platform and post level.
You can see both paid and organic results in the Business Suite, including content engagement, reach trends, demographics and spend.
It is thought that Facebook is aiming towards making Business Suite the only analytics tool you will need for managing activity on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.
Currently, Facebook Business Suite is still only available to small businesses, with Facebook stating that it intends for it to be available to businesses of all sizes at some point during 2021.
If your business uses Facebook for advertising then you are probably already familiar with Facebook Ads Manager, where you can set up your campaigns and ads, see how they are performing and also edit them.
Ads Manager shows you a whole host of different metrics for your adverts, including click-throughs, reach and engagement.
Unfortunately, when looking at web visits, there are sometimes differences between the results from here and the results in Google Analytics, so the two should always be looked at together.
Events Manager is the place where you can set up and manage business tools, such as the Facebook pixel and Conversions API and it is essential for activity such as dynamic retargeting and creating custom audiences from your web visitors.
This is the tool which connects your website with your Facebook page.
Here you can see how many times your pixel has been fired and what actions your visitors are taking on your site.
Because of the ever-changing landscape of digital marketing, it is important to stay on your toes when it comes to your advertising and social media strategy as well as content.
You will need a wide range of successful traffic sources so that, when something changes, your sales do not suffer. As with anything, it is unwise to put all your eggs in one basket.
Ensure that you explore new social media platforms as they come along and decide whether they can work for you and your business. Do you have a presence on YouTube? How about TikTok?
Not everyone platform is suitable for every type of business but it is important to find out which ones will work most effectively for your target audience.