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Facebook’s Third-Party Data & What It Means For Advertisers

Posted by Mary Clayton Shearer on Apr 17, 2018 10:02:01 AM
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It’s been a few weeks since the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica news erupted around the collection of personally identifiable information of up to 87 million Facebook users that Cambridge Analytica began collecting in 2014.  

In response to this situation, Facebook has announced a handful of new initiatives that will give users more control over how their information is shared and used for advertising purposes.

But what do these new initiatives mean for advertisers? Here's a simple guide.

What are the types of data that advertisers can use on Facebook?

First-party data: First-party data is data the source has collected themselves. For Facebook, this type of data is used to create Custom Audiences. Custom Audiences can be created in a few ways, like uploading your CRM list or using a pixel on your website that tracks visitors. First-party data like this will not be impacted by the changes that Facebook is rolling out.

Third-party data: Third-party data is data that a company acquires from other sources. For example, Facebook accesses third-party demographic and behavioral data like home ownership or purchase history from sources like Acxiom, Epsilon, and Oracle Data Cloud in order to provide more in-depth targeting options for their advertisers. Third-party data sources will be impacted by the coming restrictions.

How will the new restrictions on third-party data affect advertisers?

One of the biggest changes that will affect Facebook’s advertisers is the removal of Partner Categories. Partner Categories are a data source option that pulls in demographic and behavioral information from Facebook Marketing Partners. Partner Categories are located in the Detailed Targeting option that Facebook rolled out in 2015, although Partner Categories have really been around since 2013.

How do i know if I am using Partner Categories?

If you are using Detailed Targeting as one of your targeting options, check to see if the source says Partner Category. If it does, your targeting will be affected as Partner Categories will be phased out over the next six months.

Picture1Source: About Partner Categories

If I was using Partner Categories, Now what?

Be proactive. If you are using Detailed Targeting for your Facebook campaigns and Partner Categories is one of the sources, you should begin testing new targeting capabilities to prepare for the removal.

Facebook has many options to reach the people that would be interested in your product or service outside of using third-party data. The true bread-and-butter of Facebook’s targeting capabilities is their Custom Audiences and their ability to create Lookalike Audiences.

A Custom Audience is created using your first-party data in the Audiences tool.

A Lookalike Audience uses Facebook’s capabilities to find people that “look like” your Custom Audience. It identifies these individuals by shared demographic and behavioral traits.

What data does Netsertive use?

At Netsertive we utilize internal, first-party data from our clients’ website visitors to identify real people (Custom Audiences) shopping for the brands, products, and services our clients sell. We then use these real-world shoppers to model new and larger audiences (Lookalike Audiences) for our client’s digital marketing campaigns. By utilizing first-party data, Netsertive has seen an increase in engagement, conversion rate, click-through rate and a decrease in cost/conversion compared to using third-party, detailed targeting. We call this unique targeting method Brand-to-Local Audiences, and it’s yielded some impressive results as shown below. 


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Conversion Rate

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Click-through Rate

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Topics: Healthcare, Tech, Automotive, Home Goods

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