Back in 2013, Facebook launched partnerships with major data
providers including Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom, and BlueKai. This allowed
advertisers to target existing and potential customers using detailed third
party data. This type of targeting included everything from someone being a
homeowner to being a soda drinker.
However, things have
In July, Facebook announced the removal of Partners
categories from its advertising interface; setting an end date of August 15, 2018 for
digital marketers to utilize those targeting options – approximately half of
their 1,200 targeting criteria.
Why the Change?
This decision mainly comes from the Cambridge Analytica fiasco that exposed the social media platform’s detailed targeting options and sharing of personal information without consent. This caused Facebook to land in hot water with its users and brought scrutiny from Congress and the European Union.
With the sweeping changes demanded by the GDPR laws, EU fines, HUD complaints and potentially more regulations on the way, Facebook decided to make some changes.
What to Expect Moving
In a conversation with TechCrunch, Facebook clarified that
it will still work with companies like Experian and Acxiom in order to measure
ad performance and provide metrics, although it will also be conducting a
review of those ongoing relationships. Facebook may also move toward sharing
data in a shared server environment in order to offer further assurances of
Facebook confirmed that the change is permanent, not a
Meaning, if you’re spending any money on Facebook
advertising, double check that your targeted audiences are not currently
utilizing any of the removed categories. If so, you only have until October 1 to change them before they are stripped
out of your targeting and could cause your campaigns to substantially
decrease in effectiveness.
Some advertisers are going be affected more than others.
Advertisers with the least information about their customers will face the
biggest adjustments, while advertisers with huge customer lists will likely
find it easier to transition to utilizing their own data in new ways.
Other Ways to Target
While this third party data was helpful for setting up
targeted audiences, there are still
many impactful ways to reach your market with Facebook advertising.
Facebook collects data based on what users interact with on
the platform, and places those users in buckets based on interests. While this
is probably the most basic way to target users with Facebook ads, it is built
on actual behaviors – which is a good starting point.
It’s common knowledge that you can target people within a
specific location. But what most people don’t know is that you can also target
people who live in a specific area, people who are traveling in a specific
location, or people who were recently in a specific location. This is useful
for zeroing in on where your target market is frequenting or spending a good
amount of time.
Website Custom Audiences
Utilizing the Facebook Pixel on your website is a great way
to start building a solid audience to retarget. The next step from that would
be to create a Lookalike Audience from that group so you can prospect for
business with Facebook users that behave like your website visitors.
Email Custom Audiences
You can upload your email list into Facebook to match users
on the platform and serve them ads. This is a great way to leverage your own
data and expand your reach by building a Lookalike Audience from this list.
Engagement Custom Audiences
You can create a custom audience of users who have watched
your videos, interacted with your page, interacted with your Instagram profile,
or even interacted with your events. By putting these users into an audience,
you have a highly targeted group of individuals who have already expressed
interest in your business.
Even with the drama from losing Partner Categories, there
are still some high-quality ways to target your audience using Facebook
advertising – so don’t throw in the towel and delete your Page just yet.
You may find that when forced to get even more creative with
your audiences, you find even better solutions for getting more of a return on
Are you concerned that your Facebook targeted audiences will
need to be revamped after the removal of this third party data? Call the social media experts at Sales
& Marketing Technologies at (407) 682-2222 for a free strategy session to
discuss what’s next for your business on Facebook.