For years, marketers and digital agencies have treated Facebook as an up-and-coming resource for advertising and viral marketing. It’s not hard to imagine why – with more than a billion registered users around the globe, the world’s largest social network trails only Google in terms of its reach. In fact, it can be an even better platform for marketers because of the way specific groups of buyers can be targeted.

All of that is starting to change, though. In the summer of 2018, Facebook found itself in the midst of a flood of negative publicity having to do with privacy, election tampering, and data collection. One inevitable consequence of the subsequent changes to their policies was that a feature called “custom audiences” was significantly curtailed.

In today’s post we want to give you a quick description of the changes that took place and how they might affect you as a marketer.

What’s Are Facebook Custom Audiences, and How Did They Change?

In the simplest terms, Facebook stopped letting advertisers narrow in on audiences that were being selected based on outside information. In other words, the social platform had agreements with credit agencies, retailers, and lots of other organizations that could be used to target ads. Now, fewer of those selections are available.

What These Changes Mean for Marketers

The obvious answer is that advertisers will have to shift to the way they configure their display settings. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t still narrow in on your ideal range of buyers. You just might have to do it in a different way.

To understand how this could work, consider the old days of television advertising. Companies that had products and services to promote couldn’t be sure exactly whom might be watching a program in any given moment, but they had a good sense of what the overall demographics for a time slot would look like.

Today’s social advertisers don’t have to be quite so broad, of course, but they may need to use supporting information (like online activity, brands a person follows, etc.) to get at other details (like age or income range) that were previously easier to pick out.

The Bigger Meaning Behind Facebook’s New Policies

While the changes to Facebook’s custom audiences program affects advertisers seeking to find customers to social media most directly, they also point at a bigger shift that’s taking place. Each year, more and more attention is being paid to customer confidentiality. You can bet we’ll see more laws, regulations, and policy changes in the future that steer us in the same direction.

Buyers want to see content and offers that are relevant to their interests, but not necessarily if it comes at the price of their privacy. So, marketers are going to have to remain vigilant and look for ways to identify their most important buyers that feels less invasive.

Making Sense of Online Ads and Social Media

Need help making sense of the latest trends and search engine optimization, social media marketing, and web design?  If so, the experts at Biondo Creative in Yardley can help. Contact us today so we can schedule your initial meeting and put our knowledge to work for you.