Prepare for These 4 Changes on Facebook Within the Next Year

Opinion: Marketers will become increasingly reliant on custom audiences

Facebook will measure the impact of its changes and refine its existing policies gustavofrazao/iStock

After a tumultuous year for Facebook, it’s unsurprising that many of the company’s advertising changes revolve around the proper handling of user data. Updated regulations, including the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe, have encouraged the platform to remove specific third-party demographic targeting features, such as household income and behavioral targeting.

Also, the social media hub has implemented procedures that prevent advertisers with custom audiences from sharing user data without users’ consent. Consequently, users now have the opportunity to opt out of ads from advertisers that shouldn’t have their personal information.

In all likelihood, Facebook will continue to strengthen its stance on protecting user data while increasing the transparency of advertisements in general.

Now, all users can see what kinds of ads are connected to a Facebook page, amping up accountability and making it more difficult for advertisers with malicious intentions to run shadowy campaigns. On the other hand, advertisers that have been legitimately obtaining customer data all along will experience an easier time continuing their efforts, and they’ll benefit from the company’s artificial intelligence improvements.

While many marketers will be excited about the above updates, these and other changes are not without difficulties.

As some of the targeting options available to Facebook advertisers disappear, marketers will become increasingly reliant on custom audiences. Those that have been building audiences of past customers, email subscribers, site visitors and video viewers will be in a strong position. However, just going through the motions of building a custom audience without having an optimization game plan won’t do marketers any favors. In fact, 62 percent of Facebook ads fail to make an impact for small businesses for this very reason.

Another challenge for marketers stems from the Info and Ads tab at the top of pages. Now, users can see all of a company’s ads in one place, including those running on Instagram and Messenger. What this change means is that competitors can closely monitor one another and imitate the ads of successful companies.

Although Facebook has already made sweeping changes, there are likely more to come. As the current changes settle in, marketers can count on these four predictions:

Users will be the No. 1 priority

Facebook has been vocal about putting the user experience and trust above all else, and the company went beyond its requirements from a regulatory perspective. This prioritization isn’t surprising because ad revenue depends largely on the size of the user base and the unwavering trust users have in what they see on the application.

Over the next few months, Facebook will measure the impact of its changes and refine its existing policies.

Trust in Facebook’s ad delivery, because its motivation behind taking such steps is to improve the end user’s ad experience. Facebook has several options for ad placement. However, it is often a best practice to open up all placements and let Facebook automatically optimize. Then, strategically engage and speak to your audience. Users are much more willing to trust content that is engaging and has visible social proof. To do this, simply ask users to tag a friend or comment on a post.

Facebook’s algorithm, now more than ever, is focused on post engagement in hopes of making News Feed a better place for the end-user.

Facebook will listen to advertiser feedback

As advertisers struggle to keep up with the most recent changes, Facebook will allow time for the platform to stabilize. Further major changes won’t happen in the immediate future, and the company will probably try to find some small wins for advertisers, such as better user-based conversion tracking.

Be patient with Facebook’s ad platform. Updates can often cause glitches in Ads Manager.

Providing feedback directly to Facebook related to these issues will not only speed up the improvement process, but also make the platform better for all advertisers. Additionally, it is a good idea to keep a list of ongoing issues with Facebook Business Manager so that when Facebook asks you for your feedback, you have something to refer back to.

Conversion tracking will continue to improve

When it comes to tracking conversions at the user level, there have been measurable gains. Both the Facebook pixel and custom audiences have been responsible for these improvements. As a result, advertisers can get a more granular picture of their return on ad spend. With this level of detail, Facebook will be the foremost advertising platform for tracking conversions at the user level.

Run ad campaigns that optimize for conversions whenever you can, and test several different conversion goals to see what will work the best for you. Executing a conversion optimization campaign not only allows you to track conversions that happen on your website within Facebook, but it also gives you additional insights into return on investment. Consequently, you have the ability to create advanced remarketing and lookalike audiences by building up your pixel data and increasing the size of your custom audiences

The fight against fake news will carry on

The platform has doubled down on its efforts to target misleading or fake Facebook pages. In the first quarter of this year, nearly 600 million fake accounts were removed. As the campaign against fake news continues, users will regain trust in the ads that appear in their feeds, and conversion rates will slowly rise.

Get your page verified by Facebook to let users know that it’s authentic.

There are two types of verification badges for Facebook pages: blue and gray. The blue badge shows that Facebook has confirmed that the page is authentic and belongs to a public figure, media company, brand or celebrity. The gray badge shows users that a page for a business or organization is authentic.

Additionally, to ensure that your ads are trustworthy, stay up-to-date with and follow all of Facebook’s advertising rules, and report any other ads you find that violate these parameters.

Roy Morejon is co-founder and president of vertically integrated product development, crowdfunding and ecommerce marketing agency Enventys Partners.