Facebook, Things Are a-Changin’

Last week, we talked about whether or not you should be GDPR complaint and how to protect the rights and privacy of users’ personal information on the internet. While GDPR does not affect the U.S. specifically, any company that markets to or does business in the EU must comply.

This includes Facebook, and it’s going to make your current advertising efforts a tad more difficult.

What’s Changing

Facebook will no longer be able to access data from third parties, aka “partner categories.” This means that information used for advertising on Facebook must be information that the user has opted in to give. No longer will data like keyword-based interests, job titles, ethnic identities, credit card spending habits, purchasing habits, and financial information from other websites be used to target users. For the HVAC, home performance, and solar industries specifically, the “homeowner” interest loss is a hard blow.

Not everything is disappearing, though. It looks like Facebook is quietly pushing professional targeting options to help in advertising efforts. Some third-party data gatherers like Acxiom are figuring out how to comply with Facebook’s new regulations while also ensuring user privacy. With these tools come new interests to hone into and different categories of audiences to target to. Although these seem to be great tools, it’s better to not rely on these tools as your only source.

Time to Get Creative

For you, this means it’s time to start gathering more of your own information about your audience. While that’s not as easy as having Facebook do it for you, it isn’t difficult to do yourself with custom audiences and lookalike audiences.

Custom Audiences

According to Facebook, custom audiences are for reaching “people who have a relationship with your business, whether they are existing customers or people who have interacted with your business on Facebook or other platforms.”

There are five ways you can source your custom audience:

1. Customer Files

Match your customers with other people on Facebook and create an audience from the matches.

2. Website Traffic
Create a list of people who visited your website or took specific actions on your website using the Facebook Pixel.

3. App Activity
Create a list of people who launched your app or game or took specific actions.

4. Offline Activity
Create a list of people who interacted with your business in store, by phone, or through other offline channels.

5. Engagement
Create a list of people who engaged with your content on Facebook or Instagram.

Remember, you must provide your own information in order to create custom audiences. This means keeping your CRM up to date with past customers’ information, making sure the Facebook Pixel on your website is active, and encouraging users to engage with your Facebook page whether that is through your website, reach campaigns, or word of mouth.

Lookalike Audience

A lookalike audience is exactly what it sounds like — an audience that looks like another audience you already have. Creating a lookalike audience from any of the custom audiences above will find new people on Facebook who are similar to the existing audience.

When creating a lookalike audience, you can choose the source (custom audience), location (country or region), and the audience size. Audience size ranges from 1% to 10% of the total population in the countries you choose, with 1% being those who most closely match your source.

Lookalike audiences are a lot more general than custom audiences, so they might not always closely match the audience you’re actually looking for. However, they are useful for creating enhanced custom audiences.

Using a lookalike audience in a reach campaign, where you’re inviting all types of users to visit your website and interact with your Facebook page, is a great way to generate information to use for your custom audiences.

It’s Not All Bad

Sure, it’s not as easy as before to reach your targeted audience, but think of the bright side. With this approach, you are not only protecting your users’ privacy but also creating new audiences that will be more catered for your company’s use. It will take a bit of work knowing when to use custom audiences and when to use lookalike audiences, but it will be worth it in the end when your Facebook campaigns are yielding more results and generating more leads for your business.

Do you want to learn more about the changes Facebook is making and how it will potentially affect your company? Contact Energy Circle today!

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