Over the years, we’ve grown accustomed to social media platforms evolving - they constantly add features, remove them, and then add some more. Then, the competition releases a feature, and soon everyone follows. You know the story. In June, Facebook will make the latest in a series of changes as it prepares to remove Facebook Analytics from the platform. If you’re currently using this system regularly, it’s time to make contingency plans before it disappears.
Considering the number of people still reliant on Facebook Analytics, the announcement that it would disappear was shocking for many. If you look on the Facebook Help Center, you will see a few paragraphs explaining the change. Essentially, Facebook says that the whole Facebook Analytics platform will disappear after 30 June 2021.
In the announcement, Facebook said that all insights, reports, charts, and tables will remain accessible right up to this date. However, it has sent businesses and marketers into a frenzy as they prepare for the upcoming change. By summer, you’ll need to have exported all data from the platform. Otherwise, you may lose it all.
We know that many people reading this rely on Facebook Analytics daily, so the announcement will come as a bit of a kick in the teeth. What annoyed some marketers is that the news wasn’t initially revealed so much as uncovered. For those who don’t pay attention to the Business Help Center, there’s no way you will have seen this news if it hadn’t been spotted and reported.
Eventually, Facebook redirected the Facebook Analytics URL to the Help Center page. This being said, it’s all been rather quiet and understated for such a large change. Although it shouldn’t come as a surprise, Facebook hasn’t made any grand statements or explained the decision at any length. As part of the announcement, Facebook pointed users in the direction of alternative solutions; this includes the Ads Manager, Facebook Suite, and Events Manager.
Could it be that Facebook plans to improve these features and cover all bases with these alone? Facebook has said many times that the Business Suite is the way forward for the company. With no official announcement, the best we can do is guess Facebook’s intentions. As for now, it’s fair to say that these are alternatives rather than like-for-like replacements.
Ads Manager - Here, we have a platform designed to aid businesses wanting to adjust campaigns, view performance, and see all ad sets in one place.
Business Suite - As you may know, the business suite offers management opportunities for not just a Facebook account but Instagram accounts too. Although not available to everybody just yet, businesses learn about their audience, industry trends, content, and more.
Events Manager - This tool helps businesses to get started with other Facebook Business services whether this is the Conversions API, Facebook pixel, or another. What’s more, it also reports actions in an app, website, or physical store.
Some businesses and marketers will be reading this news without comprehension - they won’t understand why it’s better to spread the analysis process across two or three platforms rather than just using the one (Facebook Analytics). Normally, social media platforms like Facebook consolidate their services rather than going the other way.
However, it seems that this is a change that all businesses will have to overcome before the June 30 switching off date. If this is goodbye, Facebook Analytics has been a reliable partner for many years for lots of businesses. After connecting the Facebook pixel with a Facebook page, we could learn all about the path between engaging in content and eventually purchasing from the brand.
Another potential reason for the Facebook change is the growing tracking difficulties - a problem that even the planet’s greatest technological minds have struggled to overcome. After the iOS 14 update, iPhone users had the option to stop getting tracked by apps. Of course, it’s natural for users to click against tracking after all the privacy concerns and headlines in recent months.
As soon as an iPhone user asks for the Facebook app not to track them, this immediately creates a silo and makes the consumer inaccessible. With more users clicking this dreaded button, the more we lose the ability to track them no matter what feature we are using. Suddenly, we’re limited in the conversion data that enters the business.
Does Facebook consider the Analytics tools redundant when other tools are available for a similar purpose? Has the iOS update caused more problems than previously thought? Unfortunately, we’re left guessing because Facebook hasn’t revealed its reasons for closing the platform down.
When looking for answers, we shouldn’t forget the love that Facebook has for its Business Suite. In the past, the company has made clear that the Business Suite will eventually become the one-stop-shop that businesses need to manage their Messenger, Facebook, and Instagram accounts.
Yet, the issue with this is that the Business Suite still isn’t available for all companies. At the moment, it’s restricted to small businesses; only time will tell whether the platform has the foundations to cope with the demands of larger corporations.
For those with long memories, you’ll remember that Facebook was positive that all businesses would have access to the Business Suite in 2021. We’re now in 2021 and there are no signs that this will happen any time soon. Maybe Facebook plans to update the feature before Facebook Analytics ends its service in June.
As mentioned, the only thing that will tell us the truth is time. Later in 2021, we’ll know more about Facebook’s intentions, the state of the Business Suite, and whether businesses coped with the transition away from Facebook Analytics. What we do know is that this is a period of change for Facebook. Just recently, the social media platform revealed stronger plans to start dealing with harmful content.
For starters, individuals and groups will have less reach in the near future. If a member fails to follow the rules and Community Standards so clearly laid out by Facebook, they will face removal from the group. If a whole group proves to be problematic, it could face closure. According to the company, the next few months will see these changes come into effect.
It’s no secret that harmful content is a problem across all social media websites, and each faces unique challenges in dealing with the issue. Among other things, misinformation and hate speech seems to have increased across all platforms in recent years. Facebook wants to start by tackling the issues at its core - by limiting reach for problematic groups. Even with public status, these groups will find it almost impossible to grow and will eventually face closure if they continue to flout guidelines.
As well as groups, Facebook says that it is clamping down on individuals when they disobey the community guidelines and disseminate harmful content. If members of a group are behaving poorly, the individuals will be punished. Once again, Facebook will limit the reach of the group as a result of these individuals.
Additionally, these individuals could face having their accounts removed from the platform as well as other sanctions. As far as we can tell from the announcement, it seems as though groups will have a chance at redemption after receiving a warning. While the first punishment is to make them harder to find on the platform, the subsequent punishment is to remove them entirely.
Interestingly, Facebook also revealed that any new members would be warned of the group’s history. For example, you might see a warning before joining a particular group that it has frequently violated the Community Standards. What’s more, these groups will also have a limit on invite notifications. Facebook is sending a clear message to problematic groups that they will be suppressed if they fail to meet the regulations. If they persist, the platform will delete the group completely.
For more serious cases, Facebook has said that it will delete groups immediately. For instance, this is the likely case when groups break the law or have illegal subject matter.
This is a well needed addition as harmful content on Facebook has been a talking point for industry experts and even everyday users for some time. Some even say that the Facebook algorithm unwittingly encouraged divisiveness through the content that’s shared and prioritized. Now, the Facebook algorithm should differentiate between positive and negative engagement. By highlighting hate and rage, Facebook can focus on the good side of the social media platform rather than the harmful content.
2021 is going to be a year of change for Facebook and its users - businesses need to export data from Facebook Analytics before it disappears, and it will be an interesting watch as Business Suite grows. Will it become the analytical savior that the company wants and needs?