What Facebook’s new third-party regulation means for advertisers

Acquisition | | 3 min read

Last month the news broke that Cambridge Analytica, a data analytics firm, accumulated a wealth of Facebook user data from tens of millions of people that were allegedly used in various political campaigns. Since this announcement, Facebook has received a backlash from people worried about the privacy of their data.

Facebook has since reacted to this backlash by announcing they will be cutting third-party data providers out of ad targeting to help take back control of their own data set.

What did third-party aggregators offer to advertisers

Before they were cut off by Facebook, third party services such as Experian and Acxiom collected troves of behavioural data, such as purchasing activity, and supplied it to companies that were targeting specific audiences. They obtained information from the likes of credit card or loyalty card companies.

For example, a pet food brand will not want to waste its advertising on users without pets. Third-party services can highlight an audience whose “activity strongly suggests they are pet owners”. This data is collated through activity such as where consumers shop, how they shop and what products and brands they are purchasing.

Third-parties then sell this data to advertisers and agencies who use it to accurately target specific users within their marketing efforts. Unfortunately, due to Facebook’s new regulation, this will soon no longer be available to advertisers.

The reaction

It’s safe to say this news hasn’t been well received by digital marketers and advertisers alike.

“This is an optics-based move that harms advertisers and doesn’t actually do much of anything to protect user privacy,” said David Eisenman, CEO of advertising agency Madwell.

Eisenman went on to say “By denying advertisers the ability to utilize outside data partners, they further cement themselves as a walled-garden ecosystem—asking advertisers to trust and use their data exclusively. It’s bulls—.”

With consumers becoming warier of how their data is used and the gifting of it to companies, it’s no surprise that Facebook has tightened the reins of third-party aggregators.

What this means for advertisers

Within the next six months, marketers are going to have to change their tact of reaching customers whether they like it or not. While Facebook still has other targeting methods that could be beneficial, it won’t be a surprise to see advertisers invest their budgets into other platforms.

Here at TrueUp we certainly won’t let these changes prevent us from achieving outstanding results for our clients. For starters, where necessary we’ll look to utilise ‘first-party’ data – this is data usually obtained through newsletter sign ups or online transactions. This data is more often than not cheaper than using third-party services, but it doesn’t quite offer the granular insight expected through Facebook’s third-party offering.

We’ll also be looking to further utilise Google’s ad platform which currently still allows the use of data collected by third-parties. Google is a fantastic platform for granular segmentation, and so it’s very likely that we’ll look to increase our spending on this platform.

Another platform we’ll look to further invest in given the changes made by Facebook is AdRoll. As an enterprising remarketing tool, we find AdRoll to be a productive asset to our Growth Framework and consistently helps us deliver staggering results.

As well as these platforms, here at TrueUp we’re always looking for the most efficient digital marketing platforms and are always looking out for new and upcoming services that we can utilise to offer our clients. At a later date we’ll be commentating on the best platforms out there for your digital marketing strategy, so be sure to return to our blog in the near future.