How Retailers Using Facebook’s Custom Audiences Can Track Offline Sales

By David Cohen 

CustomAudiencesOfflineMeasurement650Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg has often stressed the social network’s goal to measure the effectiveness of ads throughout the conversion process, and not just focus on clicks, and the company took another step forward on that front with Friday’s announcement that users of its custom audiences feature for ad targeting can now measure offline sales driven by their campaigns.

The capability had previously been available only to marketers who worked with Facebook measurement partners. The social network said retailers can now measure their campaigns’ impacts on sales and analyze their campaigns to allocate more resources toward successful tactics, without the need for third-party measurement partners.

Facebook offered the hypothetical case of fictional national retailer Town Sporting Goods in a post on the Facebook for Business page:

Say Town Sporting Goods, a fictional national retailer, kicked off an advertising campaign on Facebook to promote its new line of ski gloves to existing customers. Town Sporting Goods has always wanted to measure in-store sales lift from Facebook ads, but needing to work with a third party has prevented it from doing so previously. Now, the company can work with its Facebook representative to understand the connection between Facebook ads and in-store sales of the new gloves.

The social network also outlined the process:

  • Marketers upload hashed data, including emails, phone numbers, and addresses, as well as encrypted transaction information.
  • Facebook matches the retailer’s hashed data to hashed data from our own databases.
  • We then provide a report that compares, on an aggregate basis, the purchase behavior of customers who saw an ad on Facebook with customers who did not.
  • These reports provide advertisers with overall information about sales lift from their custom audiences ad campaigns, but do not provide information such as purchasing profiles or data on individual customers.

Facebook stressed that the privacy of its users’ personal data was not at risk, saying:

We built the matching process used in custom audiences with a focus on user privacy. By hashing all personal data used with custom audiences, retailers are able to measure sales lift without providing personal information people haven’t shared with Facebook. The information provided to Facebook is used only to generate the measurement reports and is deleted promptly after the analysis is complete.

Readers: Will this new feature be helpful for retailers?