What You Need to Know About Changes on Facebook

Spring (it is Spring, right?) is the season for change. As such, Facebook – the bastion of customer-centric targeting – is making like a good Bob Dylan song.. In the past weeks, we’ve seen the platform come under fire for privacy breaches, questionable data practice, and a general disregard for the welfare of its users’ data.
So, what should you know?
First, a few things to remember:
1. The average Facebook user doesn’t care. When questioned by the US Congress, Mark Zuckerberg pointed to the fact that Facebook has recorded no meaningful decline in user engagement. Translation – Facebook’s users are still facebooking.
2. Facebook’s mission is to connect people, but its business is selling ads. For meme-inducing confirmation of this, reference here.
3. The duopoly held by Facebook & Google, which together account for ~80% of all digital & social media advertising, isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.
This all said, there are some things from Zuck’s congressional hearings, Facebook’s reaction to the Cambridge Analytica debacle, and user reactions to the use of their perceived-to-be proprietary data, to consider.
Most notably, Facebook is phasing out “Partner Categories”. This refers to ~600 demographic & psychographic indicators that advertisers currently have access to, being removed from Facebook’s ad targeting.
Second, Facebook is making its existing privacy settings more easily-accessible to users. For example, if a user doesn’t want Facebook to register them as a middle-class, left-leaning, “green mom’, a quick series of clicks can remove that user from the pool targeted by advertisers promoting content to middle-class, left-leaning, “green moms”.
Here’s what the Mittcom Digital team recommends, to prepare you for the changes already in the works:
Dig Into the Data. Facebook Partner Categories are scheduled to disappear in October (sooner if you’re in the EU). Based on that timeline, get your email database / CRM data into Facebook ASAP. Following that, our team can do an in-depth analysis on the demographic & psychographic indicators tied to your customers. After the deletion of Facebook Partner Categories, you’ll already have customer profile data that’s actionable, and can help frame future campaigns & activations.
Build Lookalikes. Before the Partner Categories are gone, our team can help generate lookalike audiences based on your existing customers’ data. If you operate a multi-rooftop chain, how many prospects by zip code have you not yet reached? We can help answer that, and develop a plan to put your brand front-and-center.
Think *Bigly*. One of the constructive bits of Facebook’s data woes is that it forces us to think more broadly about who to target. Where you might have segmented campaigns by household income (HHI) & a self-identified purchase intent, now marketers must open their targets to customers that may fall *just* outside their desired HHI but are still likely to convert. That’s a good thing & can help build your brand’s footprint in a target market.
If you have more questions about what’s coming for Facebook or want to discuss opportunities to enhance your brand’s current strategy, we look forward to partnering with you on the path to success. To schedule a one-on-one consultation, please contact Ed Gazarian, Mittcom’s SVP, Digital & Social Media at egazarian@mittcom.com – we look forward to hearing from you.