Digital Dash: Facebook’s first-party cookie & more

1. Facebook sticks two fingers up at Apple, adds first-party cookie option to bypass the blockers

Last summer, Apple announced Intelligent Tracking Prevention (ITP) for Safari as part of a crackdown on third-party trackers. It meant that Safari could block these trackers or limit their ability to capture user data.

When we let you know about ITP back in June 2017, not a huge amount was known about how it would affect Facebook’s pixel.

But between then and now, both Microsoft and Google have made updates to overcome Apple’s tracker-blocking tech, allowing them to continue gathering data across browsers.

And now Facebook’s doing the same.

The Social Network is adding a new option that allows both first-party and third-party cookies to be used with its pixel.

I’ll save you the technical explanation of how this actually works, and instead summarise the two most important things you need to know about the update:

  1. It means Safari can’t by default stop Facebook from tracking users
  2. First-party cookies last longer than third-party, which means the data Facebook collects will be more comprehensive

Advertisers can opt-out through Settings if they want to.


2. Instagram follows Snapchat and Messenger, gets scannable nametags

Instagram will soon let users find and share their profiles quicker than ever through new customisable identification cards known as “nametags”.

If you’re a regular user of Snapchat or Messenger, you’ll have seen this before as they both have similar features.

Nametags is the Instagram version, which allows people to find your profile when scanned.

Photo: Instagram

You can find and customise your nametag by tapping the three lines at the top of profile pages. Colors, emojis and selfies with different stickers can be added.

To scan a nametag, you can:

  • Swipe right in the camera
  • Hover over the nametag and hold on your screen
  • Enter the camera by tapping “Scan a nametag” when viewing your own

Nametags can also be shared through text, Facebook or WhatsApp.

While this may seem like a user, rather than business, focused feature, that’s not necessarily the case. Nametags can be included in marketing material too (e.g. business cards, POS, ads), which could be pretty effective at driving traffic to your Instagram page.


3. Video will make up 25% of US digital ad spend in 2018, and bet you can already guess which platform leads

Over the past few years, video has exploded onto the digital advertising scene and has become increasingly prominent on marketers’ priority lists.

To illustrate just how dominant video is right now, an ad spending forecast from eMarketer has revealed that it (in the US) it will grow 30% in 2018 to $27.82 billion.

That equates to 25% of US digital ad spending.

And of that 25%, it won’t take you long to figure out which platform will rake in the most revenue. Yes, that’s right, Facebook (including Instagram) will control a massive 87% of US video ad spend on social networks.

And if you’re wondering whether this is the video wave reaching its peak, the answer is no.

The forecast predicts the trend to continue, with Facebook alone expected to see double digit growth in video ad spend through 2020.


4. Pinterest reveals holiday gifting trends for 2018, and work spouses are in for a treat

When it comes to holiday shopping insights, Pinterest is an invaluable window into consumer minds. And as we all know, planning starts super early on the platform. Holiday searches pick up pace as early as July.

But, for retailers looking to capitalise on trends taking off right now, it’s not really enough to know when people are searching or saving. The most effective strategies are informed by what and how people are searching too.

To help us all out, Pinterest has identified 6 top holiday trends for 2018. Here’s the rundown:

  1. Home décor (123% YoY growth in saved ideas)
  2. Jewellery (37% YoY growth)
  3. Wellness (231% YoY growth)
  4. Toys (32% YoY growth)
  5. Hosting (21% YoY growth)
  6. Tech accessories (34% YoY growth)

Also on the rise are searches relating to gifts for work wives/husbands.

I might need to have a word with the SMSW team because £5 secret santas are about as exciting as the co-worker gifting gets around here at Christmas! Although, no offence guys. My giant Post-it notes are actually really handy.

It might also be of interest to know that more people are searching for experiential gifting occasions. Searches for “movie night gift basket diy” are up 257% YoY.


5. Facebook adds AI tools to Marketplace

Facebook’s buying and selling spin-off Marketplace has just turned two years old, and more than one in three US users now browse Marketplace at least once a month.

And the feature might be about to get even more popular with the arrival of a user experience upgrade.

New AI tools are being integrated, which will automatically suggest categories for listings, based on the descriptions and photos you upload.

As WeRSM reports, Marketplace will even suggest a price for your item based on the past selling prices of other similar items in your local area.

But it’s not only sellers that will benefit from the update.

Buyers will now be able to upload a photo to trigger a list of matching (or closely matching) items for sale nearby.

Video: Facebook

Facebook’s hoping this new functionality will make Marketplace more intuitive and enjoyable to use.

Whether it can eventually take on the might of eBay many may doubt, but another feature is being rolled out that will make the two look a lot more alike: ratings.

Buyers and sellers can use the new system to signal whether they’ve had a good or bad experience, and can also leave feedback.