If you're like most businesses, Facebook plays a critical role in your digital marketing strategy. One of the reasons why Facebook is so attractive to marketers is its wide breadth of targeting capabilities, which helps to ensure that your content is being seen by the right audience.
However, given the increasing amount of scrutiny and regulatory pressure that the social media giant is under (particularly with the Cambridge Analytica scandal), Facebook recently announced that it will be removing access to data that is being provided by third-party data brokers within its advertising platform. While this change is welcomed by consumers, businesses that rely on Facebook as a marketing outlet are concerned about how this announcement will impact them.
Why did Facebook decide to remove access to third-party targeting data?
The privacy of data has become a major concern for consumers, and many have been questioning what Facebook does with the data that users provide. Also, Facebook is under heavy scrutiny for that data that has historically provided to marketers in its advertising platform.
Another major factor that has fueled Facebook to remove access to third-party targeting data is the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect on March 25, 2018. The goal of the GDPR is to ensure that people have more protection over the way that their data is being used. Going forward, companies must gain explicit consent from individuals regarding data collection and sharing.
What is the timeline for this change?
If Facebook is part of your digital marketing strategy, you need to be aware of the timeline for rolling out this significant change.
After May 10th, marketers will no longer be able to create a Facebook advertising campaign that targets audiences using data from third-party data brokers. Existing campaigns in place that are being run using third-party data must end by May 24th.
As of May 25th, Facebook marketers will no longer be allowed to deliver to third-party partner categories, and these targeting options will no longer be available on the advertising platform. Marketers that have been relying on third-party data to run campaigns will be notified of this change prior to May 25th.
How will this change to Facebook impact other social media channels?
Due to its wealth of targeting options, Facebook has long been marketers' preferred choice for advertising platforms. However, given the heavy scrutiny that Facebook has received and the removal of many targeting capabilities, marketers may not be so Facebook-focused with their advertising campaigns going forward. Instead, they may choose to run more campaigns on Twitter and LinkedIn.
How will your digital marketing strategy be impacted by this big change from Facebook?
Historically, Facebook has offered marketers more than 1,200 types of targeting criteria to allow them to get very granular with the audience that they serve their advertising content to. Approximately half of these types of targeting criteria come from third-party data brokers like Experian and Acxiom, which means that marketers going forward will have less targeting criteria to choose from. Examples of data that Facebook marketers will no longer have access to include household income and purchase behavior.
Marketers that have the least information about their target audience will suffer the most from this change. If you've historically relied on third-party data sets to prospect and target Facebook users, you'll need to get more creative with your digital marketing strategy. Going forward, marketers will need to rely on their own research to develop accurate buyer personas for the audiences that they want to target on Facebook.
If you're a small business owner without a large advertising budget, you may view this change as a way to level the playing field. You'll no longer be at a competitive disadvantage from larger businesses that have the budget to pay for targeting data from third-parties as Facebook will no longer give access to this information.
All in all, the announcement that Facebook will be removing third-party targeting data is big news, and you need to be aware of how this change will impact your business and digital marketing strategy. Facebook is making big strides to clean up its act and reputation, and eliminating third-party targeting data is a way to increase transparency for users.
As a business owner that is trying to navigate today's social media landscape, it seems as though there is constantly a big change coming down the pipe. Having an experienced digital marketing partner will keep your business in-the-know of this ever-changing landscape and help you to adjust your online marketing strategy accordingly.
To date, there are more than 50 million businesses using social media to reach their audience. While paid social media advertising needs to be a component of your digital marketing strategy, so is creating high-quality, value-added organic content. Our team at New York Ave can help you to create positive, educational, and creative content to increase engagement with your brand.
Contact us at New York Ave to learn how we can help your business stay ahead of the curve with your digital marketing strategy.