When’s the last time you cleared cookies from your web browser?
As marketers, we know that information is vital to understanding our audience. That’s why the recent news from Facebook should raise an eyebrow.
To meet the growing need for consumer privacy, Facebook announced in a blog post their version of a “Clear History” feature for users and detailed what it’ll mean for businesses.
As the social network wrote, “This means that targeting options powered by Facebook’s business tools, like the Facebook Pixel, can’t be used to reach someone with ads. This includes Custom Audiences built from visitors to websites or apps.”
It’s important to note that the company is not permanently deleting the browsing activity or off-site actions tracked, but it does make the data anonymous, removing identifying information. The data, however, will still be available for measurement. Facebook is also recommending more responsible marketing for marketers and retailers, which you can learn more about in one of our blog posts on the topic.
As previously mentioned, Custom Audiences whose population includes visitors to websites or apps will look different. Brands that uses Facebook business tools like Pixel, SDK, and API may also see their insights look different. On our end, we’ve already seen a 1% drop in Lookalike Audience performance due to the new updates and users being able to control who they’re targeted by. With this enabled, marketers won’t be able to learn about user journeys and the touchpoints they hit outside of Facebook.
To state the obvious, Facebook’s recent PR hasn’t been great. On its face, this isn’t the best news for retailers, either. The key insight here may be hidden beneath the surface. If Facebook’s ability to learn about users when they go offsite is diminished, the obvious pivot for Facebook would be to keep more people on its site. Facebook is taking steps to build out its own ecosystem with an expanding slate of programming via Facebook Watch, a new emphasis on privacy or direct interactions as opposed to the news feed, and its own possible cryptocurrency. With more users staying on Facebook’s site, advertisers would drive more impact and value from their ad offerings. For now, though, it’s about living in the present.
Our team is consistently annotating, marking the tactics used and their results to test, track, learn, and optimize. Until we see the official roll out of this feature, keep an eye on your ad performance. Once the new feature becomes accessible and adopted by a greater population of Facebook users, note the changes to your ad metrics. Efficiency may take a hit, but there may be unexpected changes in reporting you’ll want to adjust to, so you’ll also want to…
As you break out your campaigns to before and after, consider which campaign goals are most throttled, and if there are campaign objectives better suited to the new rules. Maybe you can shift more spend to conversion campaigns, as opposed to brand awareness or information-gathering campaigns. For the latter two campaigns, you could simply change which metrics are your barometer for success. The important thing here is identifying how the shift in user behavior changes what campaigns will be most efficient.
Are your Facebook campaigns ready for these changes? Learn more about our tailored approach to paid social and how to transform your Facebook presence.