In recent weeks, Facebook data collection and the ability for consumers to exercise some additional levels of privacy control have come to light. It’s a big topic of discussion in the industry right now, so we wanted to share the necessary facts to know.
What marketers should know
Facebook announced that it is releasing Off-Facebook Activity, a new tool that allows people to view the type of information that has been collected about their activity on other apps and websites. Users then have the control to disassociate that information from their profile. However, the data will not be completely deleted—Facebook will still be able to use this data in overall audience analytics, but it will no longer be used to influence advertising in Facebook, Instagram, or Messenger.
Off-Facebook Activity was initially rolled out in select countries—Ireland, Spain, and South Korea—with the U.S. slated for a future rollout. When available, you can find this data within your own profile by going to Settings and selecting the Off-Facebook Activity option. You can then view and manage this data by picking and choosing which entities to disconnect, or by wiping all of your tracking history.
Please note it may not show your most recent activity as it can take up to 48 hours for your activity to populate. There will also be an option to keep your settings in place for future activity, continuing to block those entities that you have chosen to clear.
What to consider
The main concern for advertisers is the future effectiveness of advertising within the social media platform. Facebook repeatedly stated that users will continue to see “the same number of ads,” but that the ads will become less personalized if and when users disconnect their activity.
We expect remarketing ads to see the largest impact as a result of this change. And since those can be some of the most effective ads within an advertiser’s account, advertisers could see lower performance overall. However, it is important to note that Facebook will still be able to use activity that it tracks within the app to identify target audiences. That means Facebook can still track and tie a profile to the user’s actions relating to page likes, power interactions, and URL clicks.
Another important point is that users will have to be aware of this option, then they will have to take action to go through their settings to make this adjustment. The perceived impact will vary greatly based on the percentage of people that go through this process.
Google rolled out a similar tool last year, providing users the opportunity to see what information has been collected about them and to remove themselves from specific interest-group targeting. Similarly, this wouldn’t necessarily reduce the quantity of ads, but reduce the ad relevance. Though we haven’t seen a notable impact as a result of this change in Google.
What to expect
Since the anticipated impact is dependent upon the amount of people that clear their Off-Facebook Activity, it is difficult to speculate on the perceived impact. It’s fair to expect that advertisers could see a small decrease in performance due to loss of ad relevance within the audience based on the subset of people disassociating their account from these connections.
However, we still believe that there will be plenty of people within each audience pool to target, and that Facebook could even add new targeting features to offset this change. Once this change starts rolling out within your target audience, we recommend keeping a close eye on changes in performance and making adjustments to targeting as needed to limit the impact.
Other social media updates
Curious to know what else has been going on this year on social? Checkout our blogs about SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.