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What Marketers Need to Know about Facebook and Third-Party Data

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Last week Facebook announced that it would be deprecating a product (Partner Categories) that has allowed advertisers to leverage third-party data on the platform. This data was often comprised of offline behaviors like television tune in, in-store purchases and other in market behaviors, and it served as a great way for advertisers who didn’t have much first party data to augment their targeting strategies. While advertisers will still be able to leverage third-party data on Facebook, the process is now much less turnkey and much more complicated.

This is a very aggressive move from Facebook to help shore up their users’ privacy concerns and provide transparency into their platform. While that remains to be seen, this has huge implications for advertisers, especially those in the CPG, Auto and Finance verticals. We expect that in the short-term, advertisers who relied on this data, will see drops in performance. Longer term, this may change the role of Facebook and Instagram in brands’ marketing mix.

But being on this blog, you are most likely one of the advertisers impacted and are currently wondering: WHAT DO WE DO NOW?!?! Don’t worry, we have you covered with the below step by step guide that outlines how you should be approaching your data-driven Facebook campaigns from here on out:

  1. Don’t Panic: This feature will be deprecated over the course of three months, as campaigns can be created and edited until June 30, 2018 with this targeting. These campaigns will be able to run till September 30, 2018. This gives brands six months to revisit and revamp their approach to Facebook and find alternatives to any third-party data you may be using.
  2. Update briefs, plans and campaigns: If you have any campaigns planned or are in the process of planning any campaigns, take a look at your audiences, targeting parameters and estimated results. While Partner Categories will still run till September 30, use this opportunity to test those categories against other possible data sources such as Lookalikes, CRM, or interest.
  3. Audit your use of data on Facebook: While on the topic of data sources, use this as an opportunity to do an audit of how you approach data on Facebook. Are you often using third party data? Do you have your pixels or SDKs in the right places and firing at the right times? How often is your first party data refreshed? These questions can serve as a starting off point for you to determine your approach on Facebook.
  4. Audit your use of data across digital: While you’re looking at your data use on Facebook, you can take this opportunity to look at how you use data across other social channels and digital as a whole.
  5. Revise your data approach: Now that you’ve audited your data usage across digital and social, look to develop norms and answers to the following questions:

    • Do you have full ability use or house this data?
    • How are you qualifying your audiences (purchase, site visit, etc)?
    • What action on site is most indicative of the action you want?
    • Are there different data sources for each phase of the consumer journey?
    • What channels are best used with what data sets?
    • Do these changes in data capabilities change the role that Facebook and other platforms?

While these changes do limit the out of the box capability of the platforms, Facebook still has massive amounts of scale, and the ability to target granularly – it’ll just require a bit of work to get there.

Photo credit: The Verge