Customer Success Story

“We want to take control of the data we use in our Facebook ads, and we want to move beyond traditional cookie-based data gathering. We want to build user profiles across time – and across web properties, devices, sessions, and browsers – and use that information in our ads and in our product. Can Confection help us?”

Learn how Katana uses Confection to generate +89% more acquisition information, 88% more session intelligence, and 233% more audience data.

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Challenge

Mark Smith is the co-founder of Katana: a performance-driven B2B marketing agency in Durban, South Africa. He connected with us in November 2021, and we had our first call with him and his business partner Dominic da Costa two days before Thanksgiving.

“Each month,” Mark told us, “We spend millions of rand – that’s hundreds of thousands of US dollars – on Facebook ads. These support the lead-generation efforts we undertake for our clients, most of whom are large insurance companies. South Africa’s new data privacy laws mean we need to be conscious about how we ingest and use data. But, as an agency, we want to preserve performance and keep friction low.”

“It’s all about content and context for me,” Dominic added.

“When people visit our sites and landing pages, we want to build profiles across time. What we know about a person – across web properties, devices, sessions, and browsers – will determine what content we show them and how we market to them on Facebook.”

In essence, Katana was looking for a solution that could replace Facebook’s pixel and perform the function of traditional browser cookies. This solution would allow Katana to take control of session data – topics, pageviews, site interactions – and use that data to improve ad performance and content personalization. And they needed to do this in a way that was:

  • privacy conscious
  • unaffected by disruptions involving cookies, cross-domain scripts, and device IDs
  • and able to resolve identities without relying on these traditional technologies

“We built Confection for exactly this purpose,” we told Mark and Dominic. “We’re focused on marketing enablement in the new reality where traditional digital marketing architectures begin falling apart and assets like cross-domain scripts and cookies are increasingly unreliable. Confection collects, stores, and distributes data in a way that’s unaffected by these disruptions. And it’s compliant with global privacy laws so it’s good for people too.”

“This is why I was interested in Confection in the first place,” Mark said. “When I saw ‘cross device’ and ‘privacy first’ on your site, knew we were on the right track. Before the meeting, Dom and I both reviewed your product deck and were really excited about what we saw.”

“The exact use case we’re designed to handle.”

For 30 years, we’ve relied on cookies and third-party scripts to move data around online. Marketers and developers like Mark and Dominic are acutely aware that “privacy first” is destabilizing this system. MarketWatch and Forbes report that these changes have knocked $200b off Facebook’s market cap, and Lotame and Business Insider predict they’ll wipe almost $16 billion in revenue from companies like YouTube, Snap, and Twitter.

Tracking website actions is becoming increasingly difficult. Forms break. Ads disappear. Data stops flowing. Marketers, developers, and agencies like Katana need a better way to collect, store, and distribute data online.

“Better event tracking is critical to what you’re trying to accomplish,” we told Katana. “To be able to target users with any sort of precision, you need to make sure you’re tracking the website interactions you think you’re tracking.”

Ingesting better data is just part of the solution, though.

“Unlike traditional data gathering mechanisms,” we told Katana, “Confection helps you own your primary data ingestion mechanism. Here, I’m thinking about third-party cookies, cross-domain scripts and pixels that send data into services you pay rent to access. Using Confection, you can send the information you collect anywhere you want: a retargeting campaign or a custom audience on Facebook, your web property for personalization – anywhere.”

We told Katana, “This is what we mean when we say Confection is a marketing enablement tool for businesses who want to take control of their atomic-level digital marketing data. No more data dependency. No more relying on another error-prone system to generate your atomic-level digital marketing data. Confection routinely delivers +50% more attribution data and 30-40% more session intelligence to critical endpoints like CRMs, analytics tools, and ad campaigns.”

“Now, you’re in control of that information,” we said, “And you can send it to any number of different endpoints.”

Results

We kicked off Katana’s Confection engagement in early 2022. In the end, Mark adopted one of Confection’s most popular use cases.

“As you know,” Mark told us at the time, “Facebook is depreciating its pixel. As a workaround, we want to integrate Confection with Facebook’s Conversions API. If Confection can send even 10% more events to our campaigns and audiences, that’s a massive increase in potential ad targeting.”

This solution offered Katana other advantages as well:

  • First and foremost, Katana controls its digital marketing data. Instead of collecting information on Facebook’s behalf and only using it there, on that platform, they have direct access to it and can send it wherever they need.
  • Natively, the FB Conversion API has a seven-day window. (See event_time here.) Customers can use Confection to store data indefinitely, which means you can send event data that’s older than a week into the FB Conversion API if you like.
  • You can also track as many events as you like. Natively, FB’s pixel limits you to eight conversion events. (See “8 conversion events” here.)

“In short,” we told Mark, “if you want to use Confection to submit 100 events from a year ago, you could do that.”

Mark installed Confection on six customer sites using our WordPress plugin and began writing session data to Facebook’s Conversion API using our Pipedream integration. We told Mark he could send data to Google Analytics using our about our lowcode/nocode connectors at Pipedream and Zapier, Integromat, and Tray.io, but he decided to write data to a dedicated Google Analytics property using our native integration instead.

Since Katana started his engagement, we’ve seen impressive results.

“We’re seeing quite a bit more acquisition data and session intelligence in Google Analytics,” Mark told us. “Here’s just one example from one site. It represents 30 days worth of data.”

“The substantial difference is eye opening, Mark said.

“We’re also running Matomo on the same site, and it only logged 4,400 users in the same period. That’s about 1/3rd fewer users.”

“Yes,” we told Mark. “As we move forward in time, we’re seeing bigger and bigger spreads between what’s going missing and what we’re helping recover. This is really visible in this use case.”

“We run a lot of pilots and customer engagements, but those numbers really surprised us. They’re a preview of what’s coming, of the digital marketing reality that’s just around the corner.”

Based on Katana’s data, the average failure rate of Google Analytics and Matomo is 70%. If we assume Facebook fails about as often as these solutions, Confection puts considerable upward pressure on Katana’s Conversion API performance. In this reality, we’re helping them recover usable data from tens of thousands of sessions each month.

A customer wouldn’t necessarily need a high-traffic site to experience data loss (and gain) on this scale. Over time, Confection can help sites with even modest traffic recover intelligence from thousands of sessions.

Consider this: Without Confection, after one year, a site that gets only 5,000 pageviews per month would be missing information from 42,000 sessions. Enterprise sites that get lots of traffic do face especially challenging headwinds, though. Using the same one-year timeframe, a site that gets 250,000 pageviews per month will be missing information from over 2,000,000 sessions.

In short, the speed with which a site incurs data loss increases alongside pageview frequency (more pageviews = faster losses). However, without some sort of solution, all sites — both low- and high-traffic ones — are in a constant state of losing session intelligence. And as seconds turn into minutes and days and months and years, these losses compound in substantial ways.

In the fall of 2022, after he’d been a customer for over six months, we checked in with Mark to make sure Confection was still adding value to his marketing stack.

He sent us a on-line email response that simply read:

In Katana’s case, each month, Mark and his team have 233% more session data to use in their Facebook custom audiences and retargeting campaigns.

"Awesome. #teamconfection"

Mark Smith

Co-Founder, Katana

About

Katana is a performance-driven B2B marketing agency in Durban, South Africa. They help businesses increase lead flow and sales volume using PPC and social ads, SEO, and data analysis. Katana works with clients in a number of different industries, including insurance, technology, and travel and tourism.

Confection is a marketing enablement solution for businesses who want to take control of their atomic-level digital marketing data. Our app routinely delivers 20-30x more attribution data and 30-40% more session intelligence to critical endpoints like CRMs, analytics tools, and ad campaigns.

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