Last year, following privacy scandals, Facebook told us that it would launch a tool called Clear History. Last week, it was announced that they will allow users to disconnect all off-Facebook activities for ad targeting.
This is the key standout message for marketers:
“Targeting options powered by Facebook’s business tools, such as the Facebook pixel, can’t be used to reach someone with ads. This includes Custom Audiences built from visitors to websites or apps.”Read the full piece here.
What does it do?
While you can already go in and tweak a few things in settings, this new option gives people the opportunity to see any pixel, website and API activity that Facebook is recording and delete it.
Once deleted, marketers will still be able to see analytics pertinent to demographics but they won’t be attributed to profiles.
Will people actually use it?
The key question is just how many people are going to activate this option and limit the data that other apps and websites share with the Facebook Pixel? Will people even bother or will it be something that’s talked about, then hidden and forgotten before it arrives?
Similarly, I’ve only heard marketers talking about these changes. When I asked friends about the platform becoming transparent, no-one was paying enough attention to have seen the announcement.
What happens if people do turn it on?
In the most basic way, it will limit the data Facebook has on a person when they are off the platform. Whether they are on your website or a different one, the Pixel will not be able to track them, meaning your targeting options will be significantly limited.
If you use a lot of lookalike and custom audiences then there will be a big disruption to ads targeting, performance and – most likely – cost.
For the general Facebook user, they will still be served ads but they are less likely to be relevant, targeted ads, which is bad for both advertisers and the user!
How can we offset the potential disruption?
The main things to do (generally but particularly with this coming in) is to ensure that engagement is high on your page and that you’re building a community that you can reach with ads while also building your email list.
Boosting your email subscribers will mean that the problems with lookalike audiences can be kept to a minimum as Facebook will still be able to match demographics together, although not as thoroughly.
Ultimately, we won’t know the full upshot of this until it is rolled out and we see the uptake of it from Facebook users. It will make Facebook Pixel less effective and impact targeting through disrupting custom audiences, impacting the customer journey and funnel with remarketing.