Facebook is removing the third-party ad-targeting options built into its advanced audience options, known as Partner Categories, the website socialmediatoday.com reported on 3 April.
Partner Categories is a powerful marketing tool to reach users based on their actions external to Facebook. It allows advertisers to target users with the correct marketing message, at the right time.
While using such third-party data is common in advertising, the Cambridge Analytica scandal has cast doubt on this process.
The scandal broke in March, implicating Facebook in allowing Cambridge Analytica to ‘harvest’ personal data from up to 87 million Facebook users, which it is alleged was used in the Donald Trump election campaign in the US.
Issues of data privacy and security were raised immediately by Facebook users and companies, with major regulatory and compliance implications for the entire social-media landscape.
Facebook’s announcement that it will remove Partner Categories “is not great news for brands relying on this information,” socialmediatoday.com acknowledges. However, options remain to still reach your target market effectively by means of Facebook advertising.
Here are four of the most important options still available:
Facebook collects data based on what users interact with on the social-media platform, and then groups users according to their specific interests. The fact that these user categories are based on actual user behaviour makes it an ideal option to target such categories by means of Facebook ads.
A well-known benefit of Facebook ads is that users can be targeted in a specific location. This can be broadened, however, to include people in a specific area, people who are travelling to a specific area, or people who have visited a specific area recently. This is extremely useful to zero in on which specific areas your target market is frequenting, or where they spend most of their time.
Website Custom Audience
Installing Facebook Pixel on your website will allow you to ‘retarget’ your audience. However, this can be extended even further by creating a Lookalike Audience from that group, so as to allow you to connect with Facebook users who behave similarly to your website visitors. Therefore, a Lookalike Audience is a cost-effective, targeted way to generate more business opportunities.
Facebook’s actions can be seen as a means of damage control in the wake of the scandal. “As the smoke clears from this fiasco, Facebook is left with a tough choice on what it can, and should, do to prove to people that the company’s serious about data security and privacy. After all, if users don’t trust Facebook, then they won’t use Facebook anymore. And if users leave Facebook, there won’t be anyone left to advertise to, and generate revenue from,” socialmediatoday.com concludes.