Is it just me or does it seem like not a day goes by where Facebook doesn’t make the news for some type of adjustment they’re making in an effort to maintain a carefully cultivated user experience? Whether it was the algorithm update that prioritized content from family and friends in 2018 or their recent push to drive people to Groups in mass, they’ve made consistent efforts to adapt the product to what they see as changes in user demand. I’m not going to comment on whether such changes were good or bad, or whether or not they worked, but the point you need to understand is that they are always making adjustments and it’s important to pay attention to them.
This update is a prime example. Amy Gesenhues from Marketland reported that Facebook will allow users to opt-out of receiving ads from advertisers even if they meet the criteria of the advertisers’ custom audience list.
If you’ve never set up a custom audience list for your paid advertising this is a great opportunity to learn the latest and jump right in. Custom audiences can be a highly valuable tool for optimizing your advertising spend and making sure you target exactly the right people.
Those of you that already use custom audience lists should be concerned that this might force some adjustments to your ad strategy. I say might because this feature is something the user has to utilize on their own, and whether or not Facebook users take the time to control their advertising environment within Facebook remains to be seen.
If you do see changes to your paid advertising programs because of this most recent change consider the following:
- This is a golden opportunity. Users can now provide another form of direct feedback about whether or not they view your advertising as valuable. Facebook is giving you an opportunity to honestly assess the quality of your copy, creative, and targeting strategies to see how well you really know the people you are advertising to and what they want. Why worry about a change like this when it is perfectly within your control to capitalize on it and get better?
- Don’t be surprised if this is only the beginning. Facebook is a for-profit company that deals with people’s attention span as its most precious resource. In a post-Cambridge Analytica world, there has never been more pressure on Facebook to clamp down on how the platform is used and how users’ data can be used. While users have always been able to opt-out of seeing ads from a specific advertiser this next step will curb the misuse of customer profile information for ad targeting. Take this opportunity to evaluate your paid advertising strategy and what data you need to make the best use of each platform you are currently utilizing. If there are critical dependencies that are outside of your control this is a great opportunity to make plans to address them if possible. Then make sure that your targeting, messaging, and creativity are absolutely on point like I mentioned above.
While any update from Facebook can sound ominous for brands and advertisers, I think in the long term more control for the customer will lead to a higher quality user experience. The better the user experience, the more viable any platform will be as a means for brands to reach their target audience. The bottom line is this… If you remain calm and take the opportunity to honestly assess how your ads might need to improve you will be fine.
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