Facebook Cuts ROI Tracker, Upgrades Anti-Spam Tool for Brand Pages

Facebook is halting the seven-month-old beta version of a conversion tracking tool that was designed to let advertisers assess return on investment. It allowed a limited number of test marketers to track click activity from Facebook.com ads to their landing pages and websites, letting them directly tie sales and registrations to campaigns. Those advertisers can collect Facebook.com ads data until Oct. 20 and access it through Nov. 1.

Then, the system will be no more, Facebook announced on Wednesday in a statement. “While we learned a lot from the beta, our focus is not on building a full featured conversion tracking tool,” the social media giant said. “Moving forward, we will continue to invest in tools that help marketers better understand the effectiveness of ads that are social and include social context from friends.”

Indeed, the Palo Alto, CA-based company on Sept. 9 began offering metrics on social endorsements in ads – those small footnotes that tell users if a friend has taken the step to “like” a brand or its paid placement. Marketers using the site’s ads platform can learn the total number of ad impressions containing “social-context,” as Facebook refers to it, as well as the number of clicks, the click through rate, and the percentage of impressions represented by those ads. If they like what they find, they may decide to further optimize campaigns for that kind of user advocacy – for instance, targeting an ad buy to the friends of people who have “liked” its page.

And in other Facebook news, brand managers can now more easily block abusive users and spammers. Facebook spokesperson Simon Axtell explained the backend tweak in an e-mail to ClickZ: “Before, page administrators could ban someone from a page by clicking to see all people who like the page and then selecting the ‘X’ next to the person’s name. This new flow allows page admins to also do it when reporting content the person has posted.”

Meanwhile, Michael Lebowitz, CEO of Big Spaceship, which helps manage Facebook accounts for brands like Skittles, suggested marketers need to have a moderating protocol in place before eliminating fans or “likers” on the pages. “Used as a blunt force instrument, it could, potentially, do more harm than good,” he said. “But ‘spam’ and ‘abuse’ aren’t the equivalent of not talking about your brand the way you want them to. Those lines need to be clearly drawn.”

Update: An earlier version of this story cited information from an AllFacebook.com article that stated the banning tool was brand-new for page administrators. Answering an e-mail query from earlier today, Facebook then clarified that the tool was not new but had been upgraded.

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