Privacy’s Impact on Facebook Ad Targeting (+8 Tips to Succeed)

Let’s quickly recap:
2. Upload customer lists
Rather than rely on specific behaviors or demographics, Lookalike Audiences allow you to choose a source audience (a retargeting audience) that Facebook will then analyze, categorize, and use to find users who behave similarly to the users in that list.

first-party data that it collects on its own platform.

Your (the advertiser’s) own data

Customer lists let you upload a list of user names, emails, phone numbers, etc. into an ad platform for matching to that platform’s database. When a user is matched, they’re added to your list and you’re able to target them. 
For Website and App activity targeting, Facebook recommends using broad targeting and targeting expansion. I have two recommendations.

Image source

Your own data: website or app activity, offline activity, and customer lists.

Third-party data

These are generated by both on-Facebook/on-Instagram engagement as well as third-party sites around the Facebook Audience Network. These additional sites are categorized in such a way as to allow Facebook to infer your interests and behaviors based on what sites/pages you visit (which is also how you create custom audiences in Google Ads).
Facebook has been a crazy powerful advertising platform for nearly 10 years now. It’s part of the duopoly most companies talk about, along with Google Ads, as they are the easiest platforms to get started with in advertising.
But in recent years, privacy laws and other considerations have caused Facebook’s targeting options to undergo quite a number of changes— much to Facebook’s dismay.

Facebook ad retargeting audiences

It’s not clear exactly what third-party data is used for Facebook ad targeting, but Facebook says it uses “Data available from third parties to help advertisers find useful audiences to target.”

How Facebook retargeting works

Customer lists are one way to try and mitigate some of these losses, but they aren’t and have never been perfect.
Behavior & interests

what iOS 14 means for your Facebook ads.

Privacy-first Facebook retargeting tips

Over the years, the targeting options have gotten super granular to help you better reach your potential customers.
There are quite a number of audience options to choose from with a Facebook retargeting campaign. You can retarget users who have shown interest in your business based on:
Since Lookalikes are based on machine learning from retargeting audiences, those data losses will also impact your Lookalike prospecting. Lookalike effectiveness will really depend on how well you can create source audiences for Facebook to model from.
1. Use broad targeting & audience expansion
This includes targeting people based on their engagement with your business through your website or app, or offline. You can also create custom and lookalike audiences once you have enough pixel data, or upload customer lists based on email addresses.
Alright, let’s move on to the four main types of Facebook ad targeting options, what challenges they face due to privacy regulations, and what you can do.

ridiculously powerful Facebook ad targeting strategies. This has long been Facebook’s bread and butter targeting option and, in my experience, tends to do pretty well for most accounts.

How Facebook lookalike audiences work

Here are suggestions from Facebook and from myself.

Facebook Lookalke Audience best practices you can employ to ensure you’re making the most of them, there are also some considerations with the latest round of privacy changes.

Privacy-first challenges to Facebook lookalike audiences

4. Stay away from website audiences

Privacy-first tips for Facebook lookalike audiences

One of the greatest benefits of Facebook is the ability to find net-new users to engage with your brand. Facebook’s prospecting capabilities have been lightyears ahead of other platforms for quite a while now, but many of the ways they gain their insights and audience segments are changing.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s going to be in your best interest to maybe shift into the Facebook data source lists as those will continue to populate and maintain their data integrity.
Website and app audiences are impacted by the iOS 14 app tracking opt-out feature since users can opt out of being tracked across the web by apps. It will also be impacted by the deprecation of cookies if your targeting relies on cookied website visitors.
5. Stick with Facebook data sources
Your own data may include a mix of first-party or third-party data.

Facebook ad targeting with prospecting audiences (behavior & interest)

Depending on how you’re trying to reach users on the Facebook Ads platform, you are likely going to need to be flexible in the coming months and years to the ever-changing landscape of online user privacy.

How Facebook behavior & interest audiences work

Retargeting & lookalikes
It may be worth taking a step away from the “all purchasers” or “website visitors” audiences to find a new source, as those website-based audiences are likely going to be less effective than they used to be.

epic Facebook ad targeting infographic

Privacy-first Facebook ad targeting recap

Advertising isn’t always about finding new audience members. It’s equally important to reengage those who are already familiar with your brand through Facebook remarketing.
These targeting options can be very powerful. For example, you can target users who are interested in finance, but not just finance in general. You can segment by users who are looking at topics related to credit cards vs insurance vs mortgages:

  • Challenge: App tracking opt-out and loss of cookies will limit accuracy of app/website traffic-based audiences.
  • Tips: Try customer lists, or avoid website-traffic-based audiences and lean on Facebook sources.

Be sure you’re monitoring your targeting’s effectiveness and be ready to be flexible and adapt to what you’re seeing. The marketers who react and adapt the best during these times will invariably be the ones who come out on top.

  • Challenge: Loss of third-party cookies will make detailed interest/behavior targeting less granular,
  • Tips: Take advantage of them now, opt into tracking yourself, get familiar with other targeting options.

Some of our existing options are going to be weakened or removed completely, but there will be options to help you backstop those losses and potentially test entirely new options in their place.

  • Challenge: Not likely to be impacted due to the self-reported nature of this data.
  • Tips: Stick with the more popular demographic information people share on Facebook.

Final notes on Facebook ad targeting with iOS and without third-party cookies

Facebook’s data: users who have interacted with your other Facebook assets, including videos, lead forms, Instant Experiences, Events, business page, and more.
My tips here are the same as for retargeting audiences.
This, of course, will be impacted by the deprecation of third-party cookies.

Posted by Contributor