Facebook Adding “Fbclid” Parameter To Outbound Links And How It Could Affect Your Sales

This month, Facebook started adding “fbclid” parameter to external links and we already identified several problems with it.

If you are advertising on Facebook you probably know how costly it can be if your website and landing pages are loading too slow. According to online studies, 47% of visitors expect a website to load in under 2 seconds and 40% of visitors will abandon the website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

hostinger web hosting discount
Special MediaNovas Promo – Click To Get Up To 87% Discount And Free Domain by Hostinger

Having these statistics in mind, it’s clear that you should do anything you can to make your website load fast, and you should monitor your website’s loading speed on a daily basis. I’m sure most of you are already using CDN such as Cloudflare and have some caching plugin working for you if you are using WordPress.

The problem is, you cannot always control what external platforms are doing like in this case when Facebook added a query string to external URL’s, for example:

https://medianovas.com/digital-marketing-courses-malaysia/facebook-ads-training-for-beginners/

Changes to:

https://medianovas.com/digital-marketing-courses-malaysia/facebook-ads-training-for-beginners/?fbclid=IwAR1zn1NLO5-TWiBcc_LYk3cFop2kQsWCWZrUtaAZhr3sytUmJdDYKtp_eU8

A similar situation occurred when Google started adding “gclid” parameter to transfer info between Google Analytics and Google Adsense.

By default, your caching plugin will not cache these new URL’s (and it shouldn’t), which will lead to your web pages to be unoptimized and in most cases to load much slower than what would be acceptable.

This, of course, would lead to more people leaving your website before the web page even loads, meaning fewer sales and conversions. If you then check your Google Analytics stats, you would probably see a jump in bounce rate, fewer pages per session, less average session duration, which can even negatively impact your SEO and rankings.

We still don’t know what kind of benefits in terms of better tracking we can expect in future by having this query string attached to external URL’s by Facebook, but we can already see how it can negatively impact our conversion rates.

In my case, I decided to use the same approach I used when Google introduced “gclid” query, which is, to “Ignore GET parameters for caching”.

To put it simply, you should look for an option in the cache plugin that you are using that will allow you to ignore query strings.

I’m using Swift plugin on MediaNovas and it’s absolutely amazing. Even it’s free version provides everything I need. One of these days I should write a thorough tutorial about this plugin.

If you are using Swift, there is an option under: Caching > General settings> “Ignore Query String”. That field is unchecked by default and you should check it now.

What this does is, when someone visits the URL with the query string, he will be presented the cached version of your canonical URL.

 

These are the results I had before and after checking this option.

Before

pingdom before cache
gtmetrix-reports before cache

After

pingdom after cache
gtmetrix-reports after cache

Some Tips From Around The Web

These are some tips that i found on the matter but keep in mind that i didn’t test any of these since i didn’t have to.

Method If you are using Cloudflare: try to add a page rule like this

http://www.domain.com/*?fbclid=* forwarding 302 to http://www.domain.com/$1

Htaccess Method – insert this code in htaccess file:

RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} "fbclid=" [NC]
RewriteRule (.*) /$1? [R=301,L]

Htaccess Method if you are using WordPress insert this code:

RewriteEngine On RewriteBase /
RewriteCond %{QUERY_STRING} " fbclid=" [NC]
RewriteRule (.*) /$1? [R=301,L]
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
RewriteRule . /index.php [L]

If this article helped you, please let me know in the comments. Makes my day knowing I helped fellow marketeers :).

Alex D,

Has one comment to “Facebook Adding “Fbclid” Parameter To Outbound Links And How It Could Affect Your Sales”

You can leave a reply or Trackback this post.
  1. Joe - 21st October 2018 Reply

    Here’s the bigger issue to me. If someone bookmarks your page that contains that ID or saves it to another social media like pinterest that id stays with the link and has permanently altered your url, the url you payed for.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.