You’re probably familiar with UTMs and how powerful they can be for creating targeted marketing campaigns. But did you know that Facebook has its own version of these for tracking outbound links from ads run on their platform? They’re called FBCLIDs, and you may be wondering what the heck they are. If you spend much time in your Google Analytics dashboard you’ve probably seen them, a long string of alphanumeric code at the end of a seemingly otherwise duplicated URL. We’re going to give you the rundown on what Facebook Click Identifiers (FBCLIDs) are and how they affect your Google Analytics.
What the heck are FBCLIDs?
In short, FBCLIDs or Facebook Click Identifiers are a tracking parameter that is automatically added to outbound links on Facebook. So if a Facebook user clicks on a link to your website, a unique FBCLID is created and appended to the URL. They operate like UTMs, but these are specific to Facebook clicks and thus, require slightly different tracking and attribution tactics.
Why did Facebook create FBCLIDs?
The why behind Facebook creating FBCLIDs is a little unclear. They were launched in mid-October of 2018 with no official documentation or announcement. Many have come to the conclusion they were created as a workaround for ad blockers and Apple’s ITP (Intelligent Tracking Prevention) in its Safari browser. ITP is Apple’s way of coming down on third-party cookies, which is a contentious topic when it comes to traffic attribution. While no one knows for sure, those are both likely reasons for the creation of FBCLIDs and their appearance in your Google Analytics.
What does this mean for my Google Analytics?
Well, it’s not great. You may have noticed quite a few pagepaths being created with the unique FBCLID parameter on it in your Google Analytics. These are created every time someone is referred to your site from Facebook. They’re created because Google thinks that every click on your Facebook referral link is an entirely new pagepath.
Before FBCLIDs Google would attribute multiple clicks to one pagepath, they’re now splitting those clicks into multiple pagepaths. If you have a particularly highly clicked link, this will definitely cause some headaches for attributing your traffic. Agencies having to comb through multiple clients data will have an especially hard time differentiating pagepaths.
This is the difference between your standard UTM tracking parameter and FBCLID. With UTMs once you’ve created one for a specific campaign, all traffic/clicks/etc. are automatically attributed to the single tag, and your data remains neat and tidy. But with FBCLIDs each click gets its own unique parameter resulting in hundreds or thousands of duplicate URLs cluttering your Google Analytics dashboard.
What's the solution?
Unfortunately, there isn’t a straightforward solution within your analytics reporting for correcting the numerous URLs that will appear. Google Analytics doesn’t let you retroactively edit your data, so analytics created with the FBCLID are there to stay.
There is hope for the future, though, because you can prevent them from further creating pathways in your analytics by excluding the parameters in your settings. You can do this by going to your View Settings and adding “fbclid” into the “Exclude URL Query Parameter” section. If you have a parameter in there already remember to separate it with a comma before adding this one in.
Going forward that will help you keep your Google Analytics dashboard tidier, helping you to more clearly read your analytics and make data-driven decisions about your marketing efforts.
Welcome to the world of UTMs
UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) codes are codes that you append to a URL in order to track various parameters. They allow you to track the source, medium, content, terms, and campaigns that traffic originated from.
If you are publishing a lot of content, this is a great way to track specifically which pieces are driving higher traffic rates. And even better you can use these parameters to trigger certain promotions in your Justuno Account! These will allow you to create increasingly personalized experiences that convert even more visitors.
UTMs, Justuno, and Audience Targeting
Now that you know where your traffic is coming from creating hyper-targeted promotions for that audience is a breeze. You can not only use UTMs to target who will see your promotion but also use them to customize your promotions as well. This means you can use a single promotion for multiple audiences helping you keep the number of pop-ups needed at a minimum.
In your promotion, you can customize the message a user sees. Justuno will automatically fill in the source, term, content, medium, and coupon into a promotion depending on your UTM settings. Click the link below to find the instructions on how to implement this strategy.
You can also target UTM URLs in your rules. In Justuno’s basic rule sets, you can choose the source traffic you’d like to target or exclude and you can add specific campaigns to each source. Click below to learn more about targeting rule sets and UTM additions.
Check out a recent course in the Justuno Academy regarding how to use UTM parameters with your email campaigns to reflect off-site efforts in your on-site messaging. While FBCLIDs and UTMs ultimately function slightly differently, tracking parameters and the strategy behind them are ultimately the same.
Facebook is likely one of your biggest traffic drivers, depending on your industry and marketing strategy. Understanding how to use FBCLIDs and what they can mean for your campaign/budget planning but also how to understand their analytics can be key to making sure you’re getting the most out of your efforts.
Proper traffic attribution and using advanced targeting rules to simplify promotional efforts while increasing personalization is a marketer’s dream. Start implementing UTM specific promotions on your site today so you can sit back and watch the conversions roll in.