Big changes have been impacting Facebook advertising and will leave a lot of advertisers left to rethink their targeting strategy. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has separated from their third-party brokers or Partner Categories such as Acxiom, Epsilon, Experian, TransUnion, and Oracle.
“We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories. This product enables third-party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook.”
This means that valuable demographic data such as recent purchases, household income, where people work, what kind of car they drive, and other heavily relied upon targeting tactics that help narrow down key personas will be removed or re-sourced from a Partner Category (household income for example). What will remain is Facebook’s behavioral targeting, interest targeting, or custom audiences, in other words, any data sourced internally from Facebook.
Based on current information, starting September 30th, 2018, the only targeting tactics advertisers will be able to take advantage of will be data that Facebook collects through user’s profiles such as location, age, interest, and search history if the data was collected through a Facebook pixel. And while the option to use the Partner Categories when creating your ad sets is still available today, it will be phased out in the upcoming months.
So what now? Stay on top of Facebook news and be proactive, go back into your campaigns and remove all targeting that is sourced from Partner Categories and rethink how you will get around not having third-party data to rely on for targeting. For example, if you target based on income, consider other ways you can segment your high earning audience. Is there a jewelry line, interior design magazine, or restaurant they could have liked or interacted with on Facebook? Go below the surface of targeting based solely on income brackets, think about other behavior or interest these types of customers will share.
There are more changes to Facebook that we will have to stay on top of in the upcoming months. One that we are already seeing changes in is how we use Custom Audiences. Facebook will still allow advertisers to use Custom Audiences to find existing customers and to create lookalike audiences, but without third-party data, advertisers will have to provide their own data, such as an email list.
If you rely on Custom Audiences to upload your customer list you should note this one change that will begin in May, 2018 authentication. Part of Facebook’s changes in 2018 will be adding the Custom Audience Permission tool, which according to Facebook will ensure that data was warranted and proper consent was obtained from any information uploaded to Business Manager.
We know this is a lot to take in but luckily it’s not the end of the world. With lookalike and custom audiences along with targeting sourced from Facebook, advertisers will still be able to effectively target their audience, but not without some re-strategizing. If you would like help with social media advertising or creating a new targeting strategy from Facebook changes in 2018, please contact us!