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Facebook Responds to Data Breach: What This Means for Small Business Advertisers

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Facebook Responds to Data Breach: What This Means for Small Business Advertisers

In response to the savaging of Facebook’s reputation over the Cambridge Analytics data breach, Facebook has announced some important changes.

One, in particular, will have a direct effect on businesses using Facebook for advertising. Up until the changes, Facebook had partnerships with some of the largest data collection companies in the world. The data from these companies was shared with Facebook so that advertisers could use it to better target their ads. Now, Facebook has ceased the partnerships, and that means some changes to ad targeting for advertisers.

In particular, the partnerships provided a lot of the data that came under the ‘behaviour and interest’ targeting categories. Where we could previously target someone who had recently purchased ‘home insurance’ for example, that may no longer be available. If your ads rely on behavioural data from loyalty programs and point of sale data, you won’t be able to use that anymore because that is the data that comes from the third party partners.  The other popular category that is no longer available is ‘job title’.

Since the changes, Facebook advertisers have reported that more of their ads are not being approved by Facebook, along with complaints about the targeting options being diminished.

In light of these changes, here are five tips for small businesses to continue to advertise successfully on Facebook (and Instagram):

1. Don’t try to convert an audience straight away.

Make your ads fun and entertaining for a ‘cold’ audience. Once they express an interest in you or your product or service by clicking a link or visiting your website create a custom audience of those people and deliver ads to them that are going to help them learn more about you and your product/service.

2. Facebook has a relevance score for its ads, and it rewards ad accounts with high relevance scores.

Re-use some of your most engaging posts as ads. If you do this using Facebook Business Manager (a project management tool), the likes, comments and shares stay with your post, hence boosting your relevance score.

3. As part of the changes, it’s no longer possible to see how many people you can reach with a custom audience.

Where Facebook previously provided an audience estimate, you will no longer see that. This makes it tricky to budget; how much should you spend on an audience when you have no idea how large it is? Start with a really small daily budget and see how it goes; you can increase it from there. If you start too high, you will have a high frequency of impressions, and that will cause your budget to blow and your relevance score to plummet and you’ll burn your audience.

4. Use ‘automated rules’ to manage your ads.

You can set up a rule where you pause your ad when frequency gets too high or when your cost per click reaches a certain amount. This is a good way to make sure that Facebook is not going to get suspicious about your ads and stop them or worse query your account.

5. You don’t want your ads getting disapproved because they contravene Facebook’s new rules.

Read the policy and stick to the new rules and then your advertising account won’t come to grief. Here’s the link to the full advertising policy https://www.facebook.com/policies/ads/

There’s no need for businesses to be scared off from using Facebook for advertising. Facebook users are going to evaluate their love of Facebook and Instagram against their privacy over the next few weeks as this issue continues to play out. I expect a lot of people are going to review their privacy settings and their easy attitude over connecting to various apps via their social media accounts. And while some people will join the #deletefacebook campaign, the majority will not cease to use the platform altogether.

For businesses, so long as you stick to the rules and be transparent when you are collecting customer data (including tracking for retargeting advertising), your Facebook advertising should continue to work well for you.

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