Facebook has been providing notice to advertisers about updates that are coming up in the second half of 2019, like the Facebook clear history tool. We’re taking a closer look at those and the changes that have already been rolling out in the first half of 2019. Let’s take a closer look at these changes and how they impact advertisers!
What is the Facebook Clear History Tool?
The biggest change yet to come this year is the Facebook clear history tool. It was announced in 2018 in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Clear History is a feature that addresses feedback Facebook has heard consistently from people who use Facebook, privacy advocates and regulators: everyone should have more information and control over the data Facebook receives from other websites and apps that use Facebook’s array of services.
The Facebook clear history tool allows Facebook users to see the websites and apps that send Facebook information when they use them, delete this information from their account, and turn off Facebook’s ability to store it associated with the user’s account going forward.
How does this impact advertisers?
Facebook has said they will still provide apps and websites with aggregated analytics from the Facebook pixel, SDK and API. Facebook can build reports when they’re sent user information so they can tell developers if their apps are more popular with men or women in a certain age group. They can do this without storing the information in a way that’s associated with the user’s account, and as always, they won’t tell advertisers who the user is.
This means that targeting options powered by Facebook’s business tools, like the Facebook pixel, SDK and API, can’t be used to reach someone with ads. This includes Custom Audiences built from visitors to websites or apps.
Facebook’s measurement and analytics tools have been carefully designed to protect people’s identity. This has been the case for awhile – Facebook never shares anyone’s personal information, such as names or phone numbers or the time of their purchase, in their measurement and reporting tools. And Facebook has said that they don’t anticipate changes to measurement once this feature is live.
They will still be able to provide accurate measurement to help businesses understand the impact of their Facebook investment, while honoring people’s choice to exercise control over their off-Facebook activity.
Should we be mad about this change?
Facebook has said that this change shouldn’t be viewed as a negative one. In fact, I’m inclined to agree with that statement, because there are benefits to the public coming from it that help address some major privacy concerns.
Giving people transparency and control is good for businesses. When people are informed about how their information is used, it improves the way they feel about ads and the businesses they interact with online.
A big component of this feature is helping people understand how advertisers use Facebook’s business tools. That in itself is huge – people are negatively viewing ads, because they don’t understand how their data is used to target them with ads. This is a great opportunity for advertisers to educate their customers about their marketing practices to keep nurturing the relationship and building trust and understanding simultaneously.
And, because advertisers will still get accurate measurement to help understand the impact of their advertising investment, there’s no loss to being able to see a correlation between showing ads and seeing sales or lead conversions or whatever you’re optimizing for.
How can advertisers prepare for this new Facebook clear history feature?
There’s no doubt in Facebook’s mind that advertisers will need to adjust their strategies for the second half of 2019.
A big portion of that adjustment should include an educational component to help advertisers’ audiences understand how advertisers use Facebook’s business tools. This aligns the advertiser with transparency and is a proactive way to communicate openly about their approach to business practices.
If users choose to use the clear history tool, the reliance on Facebook pixel data will need to shift. There’s no way to tell how many people will use this new feature once it rolls out, so thinking ahead about new strategies will be crucial for businesses to avoid a sudden impact in their advertising targeting.
Some Thoughts on Facebook Strategies
With Facebook stating that pixel and custom audience targeting could be affected by the implementation of the Facebook clear history tool, it’s important to consider strategies to boost activities on Facebook and Instagram that stay targetable with these changes. Here are a few things you can start to do today to help boost your audience on Facebook’s platforms to prepare for the clear history tool launch.
Growing your Facebook likes will help to boost targeting, but it will also help build up the social proof on your Facebook page. Often, when people see other people liking or engaging with a business page they’re more inclined to do the exact same thing when it feels like a good fit for them.
Running page like ads is one way to help grow your page like audience a little faster.
You can also let your audience know that if they want to stay up to date on what you’re posting or when you’re going live they can easily like your page to stay in the loop.
Building up your page and post engagement will help boost your warm audience size, and help you get more connected with your audience! Posting consistently and providing value in every post will help people to get to know you and how you can help them solve a problem or unique need.
To boost your page engagement and reach new people you can run post engagement ads. These are low cost ads that can help drive traffic back to your website, while growing the size of your Facebook audience.
To build up video views a great strategy is to consistently do Facebook lives. Providing value in each live with a call to action at the end is a great way to reach new people, engage them and let them get to know you and your business a little better.
You can reach new people by running video view ads. These ads can also help to keep your videos top of mind with your warm audience as well!
Instagram story polls, questions and comments features
Instagram has come out with some great new features, like polls, questions and commenting features right in Instagram stories. This helps you to consistently share and engage with your audience, while providing opportunities to learn from them and get inspired for topics for new content.
Facebook group interactions
Consistently posting to your Facebook group and engaging with your audience is a great way to nurture cold audiences and get people ready for a sale when the timing is right for them.
Essentially, boosting the amount of activity on Facebook and Instagram should help build a warm audience you can target using the data right on the platform, and then creating lookalikes of that audience data.
The Ripple Effect of Data Privatization
The entire digital advertising industry is rethinking its history of collecting information on everyone’s whereabouts online for the purposes of serving highly targeted messages.
Facebook has been making steps toward greater transparency and user privacy, which means that we’ve already seen some restrictions on targeting users in the first half of 2019. The new features and impacts of the clear history tool will also beef up these restrictions and further impact targeting, especially in specific industries.
Audience Targeting Restrictions
We’ve seen restrictions on the type of targeting that can be used to reach people in the finance, real estate and network marketing industries. Facebook has said that using financial demographic targeting is restricted in these industries.
And we’re not able to only select specific neighbourhoods or a few regions, like we used to be able to. While this isn’t ideal, it’s not a total deal breaker in most cases. You can still select a wider area and narrow it down with other targeting tools. The leads just might be less qualified than they used to be.
Ad and Landing Page Copy Restrictions
The wording used in ads and on landing pages with the Facebook pixel has also been something Facebook has been restricting.
Facebook is placing a greater emphasis on quality and a decreased focus on sensationalism and money making opportunities. This cleans up the feed for Facebook users and makes the experience a little more enjoyable!
For advertisers this means being more selective with the copy used in ads, and ensuring that everything aligns to provide a quality experience that is clear about what is involved and expected from the Facebook user.
It also means that your website needs to clean up its act too. Any pages with the Facebook pixel, especially those being linked to in ads or promoted posts, are subject to the same restrictions. Facebook’s policies are really clear on this, and we’re seeing more enforcement than ever before.
A good rule of thumb is that if it’s not allowed on Facebook, just avoid it altogether.
I’ve also seen Facebook decreasing the quality of an ad account for having Facebook business page posts that entice reactions, comments and shares. Facebook is moving to a whole platform quality control system, so relying on outdated tactics and sensationalism is really becoming a thing of the past.
So, what do we do?
I think quality over quantity, value and consistency are the key fundamentals you can use in business, especially in marketing and advertising. Think about how your audience would feel, provide them with clear value, and build relationships with them. That helps to build great ROI and lifetime customer value.
Following Facebook’s policies and guidelines is a great starting point. Think creatively on how you can say the same thing, but in a better way. Place the emphasis on the quality and value someone will receive from your product or service, not on the results you get from doing something.
If we put our audiences first, create value, and focus on building lasting relationships that’s when the real magic happens!