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A suggested framework for using Facebook Pixel events with iOS 14 limitations – Fixel

With the recent news of Facebook’s response to Apple’s changes in tracking, advertisers globally have started to worry about what the future holds for their campaigns.

While this change impacts only iOS users, these account for 61% of mobile users in the US (28% globally), so it’s definitely a change that will impact many advertisers. It is also expected that additional web browsers will enforce similar restrictions on advertising pixels, by limiting first-party cookies and tracking scripts.

One of the key restrictions coming up is limiting every domain to use up to eight pixel events. This means that additional events reported will not be used for reporting and campaign optimization.

Source: Jon Loomer’s PHC

If we take for example an ecommerce site, these events will probably look something like this:

  1. Page view
  2. View Content (e.g. Product View)
  3. Search
  4. Add to Cart
  5. Initiate Checkout
  6. Add payment info
  7. Purchase
  8. Complete registration (e.g Newsletter signup)

These eight events easily fill up, leaving no room for other important events, for example, Add to wishlist or Find location.

This also takes into account using Custom Events, which are used to pass specific user actions that aren’t part of the Standard Events, e.g. Scroll depth tracking.

If you already have over eight active events in your account, Facebook will automatically select the eight events it finds most relevant for you. These can also be set manually at any time.

So how can advertisers try and overcome this limit?

This is an experimental solution that tries to use the existing capabilities of the Facebook pixel that we believe won’t be deprecated anytime soon. There’s nothing out of the ordinary here, so it shouldn’t negatively affect your account in any way.

While the count of events is limited, a single event can host multiple parameters as the event’s properties. For example, the View Content event holds the properties of the item viewed (id, name, price etc.). Similarly, the Purchase event will hold the transaction’s data (revenue, currency, and items purchased). 

This is why, as as a preventive action, we suggest using the following tactic:

Keep one standard event, usually the View Content event, as a customizable event you can reuse to send custom data to your Facebook pixel.

Let’s take for example Scroll Depth events. These can be set up to use parameters like this:

fbq('track', 'ViewContent', {
  content_name: 'scroll depth',
  scroll_depth: "50%",

If you are using Google Tag Manager (GTM), you can use Simo Ahava’s custom template for the Facebook Pixel in GTM. This makes things even easier, with built-in slots to add in these Object Parameters.

In this case, you can set the content_name variable to “scroll depth” and the scroll_depth can use a variable that captures the depth measured.

Creating audiences from parameters

Creating an audience from object parameters is very similar to creating regular website audiences.

In your Ads Manager, navigate to the Audiences tab and create a new Website Audience.

Select the ViewContent event and then “Refine by URL/Parameter”.

In the dropdown shown, select the “content_name” parameter and filter by contains “scroll_depth”. You can then further refine to select only events where “scroll_depth” contains 50%.

Creating custom conversions from parameters

These events with parameters can also be used as Custom Conversions. Before the iOS 14 change, this was a no-brainer, but with the new limitations, this could go away.

To create a Custom Conversion, navigate to the Events Manager tab and select the relevant pixel. Then click Create (top right corner) and select “Create Custom Conversion”.

Similar to the Custom Audiences, select the ViewContent event and then add rules to refine it further. These rules use the event parameters created (will show in the dropdown).

Final thoughts

So while this won’t solve all the challenges related to this upcoming change, it might make this demon slightly smaller. As we move into a more privacy-centric world, which is generally a good thing, we marketers need to find ways to keep doing our job well. Maybe the demon isn’t all that bad?