With all of the chaos and turmoil happening around Facebook and the public’s privacy concerns digital marketing has been reeling in its wake. Changes to Facebook’s custom audiences was the most recent casualty. The functionality of custom audiences hasn’t changed but Facebook has used this issue as a springboard to remove some of its transparency. You can still upload custom audiences and then create look-alikes from those custom audiences. However, now Facebook has stopped displaying the audience insights for your custom audience. What does that mean… previously you could upload an audience such as current customers and Facebook would tell you aggregate data that is used for targeting ads. This data is also used by Facebook when you create a lookalike audience from your uploaded custom audience. We used to audit that data to ensure it matched our client’s avatar or ideal customer. Now that is not possible. Facebook is asking marketers and business owners to “trust” them that the information that they gathered from our uploaded custom audiences matches who our future target customers are. This will make it harder for agencies like ours to spend money on Facebook ads until it is corrected. The issue of privacy is very important but I find it interesting that this was the solution Facebook is touting to cure it’s ills when that information is high-level aggregate data that does not invade any particular person’s privacy. We will adapt and change but I would expect Facebook’s ad revenue to drop as large corporations and businesses will not spend money blindly so they will have to adapt their strategy or leave the platform. Let’s see what happens next!
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