Facebook’s updated tracking is awesome for advertisers – but it may cause you a headache later on…

by Jakob Hager

Facebook recently released advanced matching in the Facebook pixel. The new feature allows you to send the customer data you collect from your website (e.g email on checkout) through the pixel to match more website actions with Facebook users. Even if a user is not currently logged into Facebook, you can now send their email address, first name, last name, city, state, zip, country, gender, and date of birth to Facebook. The social network uses this data to give you better matching and tracking.

You can remarket to previously unaccessible audiences. While marketers celebrate this development and clients see more revenue, many are too quick to jump on the bandwagon.

This kind of tracking is not only illegal in many European countries, including Germany and France, it may also cause issues here in the US. If you are using Google Tag Manager as a central tracking tool (which you should be), you may have a problem with the new Facebook tracking.

Both Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager’s policy of use states that it does not permit the transfer of personally identifiable data, such as email addresses or names. While Facebook does not mind, Google and other services do.

If you want to switch to the new tracking, make sure you are aware of this issue. If you want to use the new feature, as many are doing (placing them at risk of getting banned), you can implement Facebook tracking outside of Google Tag Manager and use the sha256-hashed format to avoid sending the data in clear text.

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