Pixel Data Ownership: Who should own a pixels collected data?
By Terence Sawtell
September 14, 2018
I’m going to lay a situation out here to start this off.
Your business is growing and you want to keep the momentum going. It’s been a long grind but you’re at a point now that digital advertising needs to be part of your yearly budget. It’s an exciting, but nerve wracking step. The decision is made to bring in an outside agency to manage this new venture for you. It’s the right decision, after all! You’re big enough to deliver marketing, but not big enough to support a marketing team. That’s what creative/marketing agencies are for. Excitement is building as your company is acquiring and exposing itself to audiences it’s never had the chance to in the past.
Let’s circle back to a specific line of that last sentence…
“Excitement is building as your company is acquiring and exposing itself to audiences it’s never had the chance to in the past.“
There is one specific word you need to keep in mind. It’s “your”. They are YOUR customers.
Keep them yours.
Let’s start things off by explaining the basics of a “Pixel”.
Pixel breakdown and link to another site explaining a pixel
I was recently asked by one of our clients to add a pixel to their site, and it brought back some memories of on-boarding new clients and coming to a few tough realizations (and having to inform them about these realizations). One of the first things we do is ask for access to their Facebook / Google / Youtube ad accounts so we can start looking at previous data. Unfortunately, most of companies have no idea how to get in to their accounts. At this point, they refer us to the agency (they just stopped working with, usually) to get that information.
It’s then we realize, they don’t own the data they’ve been paying to build and collect.
This is a common scenario that many of our clients are faced with when we take over their accounts and it doesn’t limit itself to Facebook Pixels or Google Ads Pixels, it stems across all digital tools we use to collect data.
Pixel data is arguably the most valuable product of marketing spend and it should be owned by the clients that are paying to manage it for them. Every data point collected by your Facebook or any advertising pixel for that matter, helps your company make importance decisions on how to spend your marketing money. Even if you’re not seeing a positive Return on Investment right away, data the pixel is capturing will help you get to a positive R.O.I sooner.
When you’re looking to hire a digital agency to manage your campaigns, make sure you’re asking the question. “Will you be using our ad account or your agencies ad account?”. There is incentive for a digital agency to use their own accounts to manage spend. They might want to the billing to run through their business, boosting their revenue when they charge-back the costs to you as an invoice. It’s also an easy way to build up points on a point collecting Credit Card for the agency. In some extreme cases, agencies could use that data collected to market OTHER businesses that they support. This is an extremely unethical practice in my opinion, and activities similar to this have been done by some big name agencies. They can also use it as leverage to keep you as a client, even if you don’t want to work with them anymore.
Marketing and customer data should be treated with immense respect.
The agency should offer to help them set up your accounts up on your behalf or guide you over video/while you’re next to them. This is a great way to learn a bit about the work we do as a digital agency, and give the agency an opportunity to learn how you learn.
You can also set them up yourself! Check out this guide by Ad Espresso on setting up your account. It includes some definitions for terms often used in the digital marketing space which will be helpful in understanding all the lingo you’ll see in the reports over the coming weeks/months/years.
Own your data!
Digital Marketing is a powerful tool, and when done right with some consistency, can be a catalyst in your companies growth strategy. That being said, it’s not something you can “pick up and learn” if you’re to do it at a serious scale. While it never hurts to learn how Digital Marketing and by extension, the channels in which we do it works, we’ve spent years learning our craft.
If you want to discuss your companies Digital Marketing, send me an email to start the conversation: [email protected]
Strategic Director & Founder
Terence is the founder of Goatsocial. He spent 7 years at TELUS before starting Goatsocial in 2014 and has a keen interest in understanding how people respond to digital products and campaigns and the value that can bring small to medium business.