Facebook's new analytics are designed to make paid advertisers – retailers more than others, perhaps – feel better about their spends. In the coming weeks, the social network's Ads Manager dashboard will no longer simply be about how many click-throughs or "likes" a paid promotion creates.
Marketers soon will be able to track "any action that can be taken on Facebook downstream from an ad," David Baser, product manager for the digital giant, told ClickZ. It's any action a developer can plant in Facebook's API, Baser explained.
"The marketers will specify what actions they are interested in," he said. "So you choose the goals for your ad campaign, and then we'll measure that. That's everything involved with the 'People Talking About This' [data]."
The stat Baser refers to includes number of Likes, number of Facebook user comments involving the brand, RVSPs, "@mentions" of a brand, Facebook Places check-ins, and photo-tags. Those data-points have been included in the company's page posts insights product, but they now can also reflect the engagement driven by ads.
Among other items, Facebook upgrading its Ads Manager product could represent it taking a major stride toward something akin to a conversion rate, which is the Holy Grail of direct marketing metrics. If retailers include a "purchase" button on their page, they'll be able to see how many clicks from the ad were placed on the button. Facebook developers have been able to create action verbs - such as purchase, want, own, listening, etc. - for brands since January, opening up more possibilities for users of the social site to engage with brands.
Greg Links, VP of business development for social commerce technology firm Want, said Facebook's new analytics could help retailers get a better glimpse of purchase intent and other reasons "why consumers are on the site."
"To get down to that granular level," Links said, "is certainly something we haven't seen before in social commerce. That's pretty exciting."
Offers Analytics Also Improved
And as Facebook continues to roll out its Offers deals platform globally, big and small brands running coupons or specials now would appear more encouraged to buy paid advertising to support such an effort. They'll be able to see how many people "claim" offers, among other stats, due to an ad. Without an ad buy, Offers will only momentarily appear in users' news feeds like regular brand posts do.
Baser from Facebook suggested the new analytics could make paid Facebook ads more attractive to local marketers.
"This is definitely something that we think, because of the Offers product, will have a big impact to the local space," he said. "It will help the local marketer understand the paid campaign helped them. Although I think, in general, the product applies to most marketers on Facebook.
"I think everyone ranging from the biggest brands to the smallest marketer will benefit from getting a lot more clarity into what kinds of things are able to drive their ad campaigns," he said. "They will be able to take optimization to the next level."