Consolidate Identities and Retarget Anonymous Visitors

Use JSON-encoded, custom event values to write platform identifiers to Confection UUIDs. Track these IDs across time and devices. Use them for long-term journey mapping and retargeting.

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Learn more about marketing disruptions involving cookies, cross-domain scripts, and device IDs. Get tips for using your Confection account effectively. Read customer experiences.

As tracking pixels have become less and less effective data ingestion tools, social sites and ad platforms have attempted to use URL parameters to identify users and track engagement events like ad clicks. The process works like this:

  1. A user clicks an ad. The social site or ad platform appends a parameter to the outbound/target URL. xyz.com/?li_fat_id=123 (LinkedIn), xyz.com/?gclid=456 (Google), and xyz.com/?fbclid=789 (Facebook) are all examples of this in action.
  2. If the marketer (ad customer) has an active platform script or pixel on the target site, it fires, writes a first-party cookie to the user's browser, and sends event data back to the platform for reporting and retargeting.

Confection's platform identifier feature (which we outline below) captures parameters and cookies separately. This helps our customers grab identifiers directly from URL parameters. If the platform script/cookie/pixel fails to fire, our customer can still associate a platform ID with a Confection UUID.

Piloting this process, we've seen that, about 50% of the time, we log a parameter value, but the cookie value is missing. This is good evidence that platform pixels/scripts may only successfully write data back to their platforms 50% of the time. In other words, fifty out of every 100 ad engagements probably generate little to no usable intel for the ad platform or the ad customer.

The evolution of iOS and macOS will put additional downward pressure on parameter/pixel performance. Specifically, Apple's Link Tracking Protection feature will strip known tracking parameters (like those above) from URLs accessed in Safari, Mail, and Messages. In time, UTM parameters may also be impacted.

URL parameters are incredible front-end workhorses. In addition to identifying users, they can help sort, filter, or paginate content. They can pass search queries and serve product details or translated text. Phasing them out completely will be practically impossible. Nevertheless, as platform identifiers and campaign parameters come under increasing performance pressure, Confection customers can easily use custom parameters and events to track user identities and campaign information.

More broadly, by tracking our own events, using our own custom parameters, and acting as our own pixels, marketers can take control over the information they send back to social sites and ad platforms, increase ad performance, improve (re)targeting and custom audience data, and create opportunities to retarget otherwise anonymous (ie., email and PII-less) UUIDs.

With a 50% (and rising) platform pixel failure rate, acting as your own pixel is necessary if you want to have any chance at accurate (re)targeting and reporting. Passive, set-and-forget ad/social pixel installs are a thing of the past. Now, marketers have to help social sites and ad platforms help them. By making it easy for customers to take control over platform identifiers, events, and other "atomic-level" digital marketing data and helping them write this data back into ad platforms, Confection helps customers do exactly this.

Platform pixels and scripts have a doubt-digit failure rate. As much as 50% of the time, a platform may be unable to link a site visit with a click event or a user ID. In this reality, it's important for marketers to take control over platform identifiers, events, and other "atomic-level" digital marketing data; act as their own independent pixels; and write data back into ad platforms themselves.

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"Through the darkness of future past, the [marketer] longs to see."

To begin capturing platform identifiers and writing them to your Confection UUIDs as JSON-encoded, custom event values, add this code below your Confection footer JS and above your site's </body> tag:

By default, Confection stores data for 24 hours. During that timeframe, it’s available in your account to query and send anywhere via your account API, one of our lowcode/nocode connectors at Zapier, Pipedream, Make (Integromat), and Tray.io, and/or our native integrations. If you want to store and access data longer than 24 hours, please write it to your preferred endpoint using one of these methods.

For Google Cloud users, we also offer a native BigQuery storage integration. If you activate this option, Confection will make three attempts to write your account data to BigQuery before the 24-hour expiration point. We migrate all data as a JSON object that includes a UUID and all the data associated with it. See this quick-start guide to get started.

"One chants out between two worlds: 'Fire walk with me.'"

Having long-term platform identifiers attached to UUIDs supports a host of journey mapping and retargeting use cases. However, most of our customers use the data to retarget anonymous site visitors on ad platforms like Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook/Meta.

We have dedicated guides for writing Confection data to the Facebook/Meta Conversions API (CAPI) and the Google Ads API. Confection customers can use this documentation to connnect their Confection account APIs to the Google Ads API directly or this documentation to do the same at CAPI. Confection also has lowcode/nocode connectors at Zapier, Pipedream, Make (Integromat), and Tray.io.

Many of our users simply want to isolate a list of platform IDs, export them to a CSV, and upload to a custom audience. Once you've connected your Confection account and BigQuery, the queries in this cookbook recipe will help you do this quickly and easily:

They're probably less useful for retargeting campaigns. However, that recipe includes queries for HubSpot, Shopify, Squarespace, and Klaviyo. This information can be useful for auditing reports, enhancing CRM data, and otherwise capturing information that goes missing as a result of blocked scripts.

By default, each of the above queries returns platform IDs when no email is present in the UUID record. They are, in other words, UUIDs for whom we have little to no usable PII. If you're interested in building a retargeting audience using email addresses instead, see these three recipes:

Find other queries in the Confection "Indie Marketer Cookbook."

If you aren't using an API connection to synchronously write Confection data to an ad platform and/or create/feed custom audiences, many support CSV uploads. Just download the CSV from BigQuery, click the relevant button, and follow the instructions.

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