What Facebook’s New Feature Means For Marketers

“Now You Can See and Control the Data That Apps and Websites Share With Facebook”.

On August 20th 2019, Facebook announced a radical change to its ad platform. As an unprecedented move by the company, Facebook is now granting full transparency to users on how third-party apps and websites use and gather their data. But not only that, they are allowing users to ‘decouple’ their data from their profile, anonymising themselves on Facebook. Granted, this has only launched in Ireland, Spain and South Korea, currently.

How does ‘Off Facebook Activity’ work?

Off Facebook activity allows users to view which 3rd parties have data and, more specifically that data is. Users are given full transparency and also the option to decouple their profile from the data. Facebook has made it very clear that this doesn’t delete the data, it merely anonymises the user.

Unfortunately for marketers, data that has been decoupled can no longer be used to target users. This means despite users viewing your site, you will be unable to remarket to them should they decouple their data.

However, on a brighter note, reporting will be unaffected. This means that if a Facebook user purchases through your social channel and then goes on to decouple their data, their purchase will still be attributed to the channel; the purchase history will just simply not be associated with that user anymore.

Why is Facebook doing this?

Facebook’s Director of Product Management David Baser and Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan stated that they’re aware that this “Could have some impact [on Facebook’s business, but,] giving people control over their data is more important”. 

This, of course, is PR speak and should be taken with a pinch of salt. The actual reason behind this move is the fact that Facebook’s reputation is well and truly in the dirt after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Trust in Facebook is at an all-time low, and Facebook has now taken notice, as it’s beginning to start damaging their other properties. Only a mere 2.5% of people asked in the US said they would use Facebook’s upcoming crypto-currency, with 49.4% saying they wouldn’t trust Facebook at all. I imagine the results would’ve been upsetting at Facebook HQ.


How will this affect your Facebook ads?

Facebook has remained pretty tight-lipped about how this will affect Facebook advertisers, as a user decoupling their data will have a direct impact on their Facebook ads. However, Garret Johnson of Boston University suggested that given the option, only 0.23% of Americans would opt out of behavioural ads. We can only hope this will apply for the rest of the world, however, this is very much a case of ‘watch this space’.

If the thought of ‘Off Facebook Activity’ is daunting for your Facebook marketing, reach out and see how we can help!

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