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February 26, 2021

Facebook’s Aggregate Event Measurement Protocol Explained

IOS 14 facebook ads

With the upcoming IOS 14.5 update expected to release in early March 2021, a very important privacy change is on the horizon. The privacy changes introduced by Apple will significantly impact mobile advertising performance on apple devices, which currently holds an estimated  24.7% of the global mobile market share, and 52.7% of the Canadian market share according to StatsCounter.

Let’s go over the privacy changes that are coming:

  • All apps from the Apple app store will be forced to ask permission to access a user’s IDFA through a prompt. The IDFA acts as a unique identifier for each mobile device. Many advertising platforms such as Facebook have been using the IDFA as a way of tracking user’s across other applications and the web, so they can serve personalized ads to the end-user.
  • A significant portion of users are expected to say no, reducing the effectiveness of targeted ads and remarketing efforts.

Now that the problem has been defined, how are advertising platforms adjusting to this change?

The buzzword to remember is server-side tracking. Platforms such as Facebook are pivoting from using client-side tracking (use of 3rd party cookies), to server-side techniques where the cookies become the property of the server owner. Server-side techniques aren’t new, but they certainly are becoming increasingly more popular due to the changing landscape of online privacy. Facebook has had a server-side solution since 2020, called the conversion API. It was once mainly used by developers and was a niche solution used by a select few. Now Facebook reps are pushing the use-case of the conversion API for all advertisers as it will hopefully reduce the impact of the IOS 14.5 privacy changes.

Where does Aggregate Event’s Measurement Protocol fit in?

The conversion API itself isn’t quite enough to completely solve the problem. Thus, Facebook has rolled out a complementary technology to be used in unison with the conversion API (as well as our old friend the pixel, which isn’t going anywhere for now), called Aggregate Events Measurement Protocol. 

Note: an optimal setup in 2021 would include the Facebook pixel, conversion API, and aggregate events measurement protocol. Yet, a user can decide to only use the pixel and aggregate events measurement protocol if he chooses so. For the best results, we recommend you use all three techniques in unison.

The official description of aggregate event measurement protocol is as follows: “Facebook’s Aggregated Event Measurement is a protocol that allows for measurement of web events from iOS 14 users. Aggregated Event Measurement limits domains to 8 conversion events that can be used for campaign optimization… Our solution is analogous to Apple’s Private Click Measurement, but is designed to solve for key advertiser use cases not addressed by Apple’s proposal. Aggregated Event Measurement will continue to evolve with upcoming browser changes”. – Facebook

To recap, the aggregate events measurement protocol requires you to have a verified domain with Facebook, as well as having a max capacity on conversion events, with a max of 8 total events. Take this into consideration when planning your 2021 marketing efforts on Facebook. Now let’s look over how to setup aggregated events measurement with your ad account.

Setting Up Aggregate Events Measurement Protocol

  1. Make sure you have verified your domain with Facebook. You can read an in-depth guide on how to do so here.
  2. Go to the “Events Manager” section of your Facebook business manager account
    events manager facebook
  3. Click on the pixel for which you want to setup aggregate events measurement protocol for
  4. Now click on the aggregated events measurement tab, then click on configure web events
    aggregate events measurement facebook
  5. Click on edit events in the top right corner (Domain must be verified with Facebook)
  6. Select your pixel from the dropdown
  7. Choose the event you want to configure under “event name”

  8. If you choose a purchase event you can decide to turn on or off value optimization. The value optimization option allows you to optimize campaigns for ROAS (return on ad spend).
  9. Select the number of value sets you want to set up under the assigned events column. The Assigned Events column tells you how many event slots each event configuration is using. For purchase events with value optimization turned on, you can choose how many value set ranges you want under Assigned Events. The higher the number, the more value ranges you will send with your event. Value sets take up multiple event slots which reduces the overall number of events you can configure.
  10. Repeat the steps for each event you wish to setup
  11. Finally, drag and drop the events from highest priority to lowest priority (top to bottom) and click finish

It is important to note that if you currently have ongoing campaigns, this setup may impact your running ads;

  •  If you added new events and they don’t impact any ads that are currently running: The changes are applied immediately.
  • If you deleted events used in ads that are currently running: Impacted ads and ad sets are stopped and cannot be restarted.
  • If you modified events (for example, you reprioritized events or turned value optimization on or off) that are used in ads that are currently running: Impacted ads and ad sets are automatically paused for 3 days. A 3-day pause allows 1 day to attribute an event after a click, and between 24 and 48 hours for the event to be reported, which helps minimize data inaccuracies. During this time, updated conversion events aren’t available for optimization or reporting. If your ads or ad sets were paused, you must restart them in Ads Manager after the 3-day period is over. Note that paused ads and ad sets won’t restart on their own after the changes are applied.

Congratulations, you have successfully set up aggregate events measurement! This is an important step in the preparation for the eventual release of IOS 14.5. Now that your domain is verified and you have your top 8 conversion events selected, the next step is to configure the conversion API. Stay tuned for an in-depth blog article on how to do so shortly.

If you are in need of assistance, feel free to reach out to one of our marketing specialists who would gladly help you in this process.

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