What is going on with Facebook?
Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg have had quite the news cycle in the past few weeks. In summary, Facebook is currently in hot water for two key reasons:
- Facebook is facing Congress over the sale and transfer of user data (without user consent) from a Facebook app developer to data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica in 2010.
- Facebook is also under investigation for the role they played in Russia influencing the US presidential election.
How will it impact me as an advertiser?
For the purposes of this post, we are focusing on the Cambridge Analytica topic and its potential impact. In short, as we are writing this, there is not yet a significant impact to marketing capabilities and advertising performance on Facebook. Facebook has begun phasing out targeting options that use 3rd party data from data aggregators such as Experian, Acxiom, Epsilon, and Oracle Data Cloud. This includes targeting options regarding purchase behaviors and profiles, such as those who own a Honda or frequently purchase fitness gear, for example. In upcoming weeks Facebook is also expected to phase out income targeting, as well as certain education and job title targeting. It is worth noting that these constitute a small subset of targeting options, and businesses using Facebook ads are still able to reach highly targeted, relevant audiences based on interests, geography, and other demographics.
In the long term, we anticipate there will be restrictions around data policy, data access and targeting capabilities that will impact how ads can be delivered and to whom they can reach. These restrictions may impact advertising performance.
For now, the social media marketing industry is very much in wait-and-see mode as this story is developing and unfolding daily.
What should I do?
Currently we believe the that positives of Facebook marketing still outweigh the negatives. We don’t expect brands who continue to advertise on Facebook to experience backlash from customers. However, you are the best judge of what is right for your business, and should you decide to move away from Facebook advertising, there’s myriad other options available to you in the digital marketing space, such as Google and Bing ads, Pinterest ads, and YouTube ads, just to name a few.
Want to dive deeper into Facebook audience targeting or other digital marketing channels? We’re always happy to talk. Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.