Believe it or not, Facebook has been one of the most powerful social media platforms for nearly a decade. Over time, the social platform has successfully narrowed the options for targeting potential audiences.
Granular targeting has been one of Facebook’s strong suits in targeting the 2.19 billion monthly active users on its platform, providing a huge potential audience to businesses there. In fact, this is the core reason why over 3 million businesses run Facebook Ads on the platform. To further help businesses,
Facebook went ahead and launched its Custom Audiences tool so that they could easily reach potential users that are likely to be interested in their products. However, with changing times, Facebook decided to hold itself as well as advertisers, more accountable for how they target prospects.
What were the changes to Facebook’s Custom Audiences
Starting in March 2018, Facebook announced a series of changes that would be made to its Custom Audiences advertising tool to strengthen user privacy and shield against unauthorized data brokering. Two of the main changes brought about by Facebook are as follows-
- On March 23, based on research by a team at Northeastern University, Facebook decided to no longer show the reach estimates for custom audiences after a vulnerability, that allowed for individuals to be identified, was discovered in the tool.
- On March 28, Facebook announced its second change, which was to end Facebook’s Partner Categories program. The program allowed advertisers to utilize a mix of off-Facebook data provided by data brokers to target users on its platform which was a privacy threat for potential customers. This meant that Facebook will no longer promote the use of off-Facebook data in targeting. However, this could not change the fact that third-party data can still be uploaded and used to create Custom Audiences.
- In April 2021, Facebook came up with the iOS 14 update, which made it mandatory for marketers to mitigate tracking loss. The introduction of the update was a big win for consumer privacy but a big loss for digital marketers. Prior to the update, marketers could use Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) to automatically opt-in users for tracking but also give them an opt-out option. Now, following the update to iOS 14.5, users are prompted and asked if they would like to be opted into being tracked, but opting out is the default option provided. The number of users that opted-in to tracking from 2% to 10% from the end of April till the present time.
Other than these three changes by Facebook another announcement around Custom Audiences were taken more seriously by marketers. Early in the month of April, Facebook announced that it would be rolling out a Permissions Gate in the custom audiences creation process. This inclusion would require marketers to certify that they had generated user emails to create custom audiences with consent. Relying on the structure that the permission gate took, this change might have drastically reduced the power of the custom audience tool.
Facebook, later on, clarified the extent of change to roll out on July 2, 2018, which would take the form of two different confirmations. They are as follows-
- Advertisers will have to pinpoint the overall source of the data they are using in the creation of a custom audience. It has to be specified whether the data was supplied directly by users, acquired from a third party, or sourced from a combination of the two.
- Second, the advertiser’s partners will need to certify their business relationship on Facebook before sharing custom audiences directly within Facebook’s ad manager suite.
How to work around the new guidelines
It can be distressing and confusing for some while amazing for others with Facebook constantly surprising us with new updates every now and then. Many have even expressed their disappointment, saying Facebook is taking away valuable tools.
Nevertheless, there are ways to get around the changes for Custom Audiences. While Facebook’s Audience Insights seemed like a way out, it too was no longer available starting July 1, 2021. It was then recommended by Facebook’s Business Help Center to use the Facebook Business Suite Insights. This tool gives businesses the following advantages.
- To access audience insights, trends, and metrics on the performance of their Facebook Page and Instagram business profile at the same time and place.
- It allows users to view and respond to Facebook and Instagram messages in one inbox.
- It is able to schedule “Stories” in advance which is a bane for people who don’t want to manually post Stories every day.
The only drawback with Facebook’s Business Suite Insights is that it does not show the competitor’s pages wherein businesses can compare data from that of their competitors.
What can be done to rebuild Facebook Custom Audiences
The good news among all the changes that Facebook ruled out in 2018 is that there are other ways to build custom audiences, which are as follows-
- Build a Facebook audience by retargeting subscribers after they leave a particular website. Additionally, these people are already familiar with the associated brand and so will be more likely to respond to such brands ads.
- Create a list of users who have already purchased something from your website since the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70% as per reports from Marketing Metrics,
- Always target customers who abandoned their cart. There are a variety of reasons why customers abandon their carts. Following up with them quickly on Facebook before they forget will help your business stamp a memory on their minds.
- Look for active subscribers and sell to them, as this can improve your conversion rate. These people are customers who have not only heard of your brand, but they liked it enough to hop on to the subscriber list and actually read what you have to say.
- Keep your email list updated, as it’s one of the most reliable ways to keep in touch with both active and potential customers.
Determining and understanding who your client is can really give you an edge against your competitors. It’s very important that you know who your audience is, who you need to target, who needs your products and/or services and for whom are you doing your work? If you’re targeting everyone in the market, you’re not reaching your ideal customer. Facebook’s Custom Audience Insights help you do just that. Just follow the tips above to build your custom audience and your business will be good to go.
Need help with Facebook Custom Audiences and even more so, Facebook Ads Management? Our team has been running successful campaigns on Facebook for years, helping other businesses generate more leads, increase their revenue and do it efficiently with high ROI/ROAS. Just get In touch for a free audit of your ad accounts.