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Facebook ads are changing – are you prepared for the changes

May 25th will see the biggest change in privacy law since the data protection act was introduced in 1998. Yes, GDPR has finally arrived and consequently our email inboxes are being bombarded with opt-in/opt-out emails. These emails are the first step that companies are taking to gain your consent for future marketing. Behind these emails there is a nervous sender, wondering if their email marketing list is about to be decimated.

For some organizations, aligning with GDPR will be seamless, for others it could mean radical changes. In the latter group you’ll find Facebook and in particular the platform’s advertising tools. Firstly, let’s add some context to why GDPR could not come at a worse time for the platform.

Is 2018 Facebook’s worst year?

2018 has not been a great year for Facebook, their founder has already been before the US senate and asked to appear in Westminster. Their relationship with Cambridge Analytica and involvement in political matters also bruised their reputation. Lastly a fall in users seems imminent, a UK survey also suggested 6% of users were considering deleting their FB accounts.

Unsurprisingly when Facebook was down, news agencies were only too happy to kick. The platform attracts millions of advertising pounds that previously belonged to TV & Newspaper. So, as soon as offline media had a chance to attack Facebook, they did. In 2018, Facebook has also been criticised by Apple founder Tim Cook and a former company executive. GDPR will only make matters worse for the social media giant, a fact Facebook themselves have previously acknowledged.

How will GDPR affect Facebook Ads?

On a daily basis, Facebook users have multiple communications with the social media giant. Some interactions are obvious, such as liking and sharing posts or watching videos on the platform, others are more subtle. Think about how often you sign in to an app using Facebook or how your browse while in the platform. Each time you use your Facebook account to shop, log-in or verify your ID, you’re sharing more.

However, you are not Facebook’s only route to your personal data. Facebook uses third-parties to learn more about offline activities, income and even your homeowner status. Ahead of the GDPR enforcement date, Facebook have cut ties with these data brokers and the effects are instantaneous. Until now companies like Experian provided this data allowing ads to target using partner categories. These categories allowed targeting on the basis of brand loyalty, buying intentions and even favourite TV shows, but they are no more.

What now for Facebook adverts?

Well, there are no doubts these changes will have serious implications for advertisers but ignore the doomsday predictions. Facebook generates the vast majority of its wealth from advertising, and in doing so it also generates a lot of data. As mentioned above, the platform already collects data directly from its customers and it will be keen to keep advertisers onboard.

If you’re relying solely on partner targeting to create adverts, you need to change your strategy. A company with a strong customer database will still be able to input this data to build great audiences. Target customers using what information you and Facebook have together and you should take this opportunity to revisit your customer profiles.

For help adjusting your marketing strategy in line with GDPR or any other changes, contact Digital Twenty Four for more information.


Picture of Niamh Taylor

Niamh Taylor

I am the Founder and CEO of Digital Twenty Four. I’m an award winning digital marketer who took a risk, and left the safety of a well-paid, super safe in-house head of marketing role to launch Digital Twenty Four in May 2015. But -it was a risk worth taking because I now own a brilliant company, with a brilliant reputation, and with the best humans working within it. And an award-winning digital marketing expert with over 20 years experience in marketing.