Facebook is making further changes to its advertising guidelines, in its on-going attempts to achieve a greater degree of transparency for users of the platform following a period of concern surrounding personal data use. The latest change to come from the social media giant concerns the Custom Audiences ad targeting options and the “Why am I seeing this?” information that users are able to view whenever they are shown an ad.
What are Custom Audiences?
Custom Audiences allow advertisers to reach customers who have previously indicated an interest in their business and services. Advertisers will upload a list of customer contact information from which Facebook will create a Custom Audience to display your ads to. It’s an extremely useful tool because it enables you to target people who you know have displayed some form of interest in your business. This means that they can be used to achieve a number of objectives such as directing more traffic to your website, boosting your online conversions and even encouraging more people to visit your physical business premises (if you have one). In addition, you can eliminate certain users from specific lists based on whether they have previously converted or bought anything from you. As a result, you won’t be wasting advertising budget on people who have bought the product or item you are promoting and in turn, not causing them undue irritation and damage to your customer relationships.
What are the new changes?
The new changes will come into effect from next month (July), from when advertisers using Facebook to promote their goods and services must disclose the source of information they used to create new audiences, for example, whether it was obtained from third parties like data providers or directly from customers themselves. The idea behind this change is that it will create a sense of transparency between Facebook and it’s users, presumably with the intention of gaining back some of the trust it lost earlier this year that inspired the ongoing #deletefacebook movement.
Under the new changes, whenever a user is shown a paid for post, they will be able to access a “Why am I seeing this?” menu which will indicate how the advertiser had obtained their information and whether it was their phone number or email address that had enabled the advertiser to reach them with their ad. Users will also still be able to go into their Ad Preferences in Settings to manage whether they are shown ads from particular sources.
In addition, in an instance where advertisers share the information of customers that they use to build out Custom Audiences with others, such as their agency, both parties will be required to confirm their audience sharing relationship in the Facebook Business Manager and agree to the Custom Audiences terms. Anyone who is part of the advertising account and who manages Custom Audiences, will from July, also be required to agree to these new terms rather than just the account admin as was the case previously. Furthermore, Facebook plans to send regular reminders to advertisers that they need to be obtaining consent for targeting information.
Why is this happening now?
Such is the value of Facebook’s Custom Audiences for revenue generation that should anymore misuse or scandals occur, an instance in which the tool would have to be pulled down or momentarily disabled, could be hugely detrimental. It therefore makes sense that they are taking steps to safeguard against further damage to their brand image and profitability following on from months of turmoil. For advertisers, this change won’t necessarily affect the way in which they use Custom Audiences to reach potential customers but its benefit will largely come from an increased level of transparency and trust between customers and brands.