Last week, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg shared his plans to shift the social network to a more privacy-focused platform. While the traditional Facebook experience isn’t going anywhere, the announcement comes as more users migrate from public social to private social media.
Marketers, of course, are used to disruption. The Facebook privacy change is big, though, and could have a dramatic impact on advertisers in the future.
Let’s talk about the implications of the new focus on privacy and what that might look like if you’re advertising on the platform.
The most significant impact of the Facebook privacy change will be the effectiveness of targeting. Currently, Facebook offers the best targeting available to advertisers, but that could all change if (or perhaps, when) the platform reduces data permanence and integrates end-to-end encryption – also included in the plans for a privacy-focused platform.
If Facebook has less data to leverage, then advertisers will need to modify their strategies when it comes to targeting. For example, if data permanence is greatly reduced, then advertising teams will need to work through the time-sensitive nature of that data – and also manage ways to store, organize and use it later for retargeting.
Facebook’s privacy changes also mean advertisers need to understand their target audience, use insights from predictive learning, and build ad campaigns around that information in order to target effectively.
One of the visions Zuckerberg shares in his post is the opportunity to build new services on top of Facebook Messenger, the platform’s private message app and the direction users are moving. As users gravitate to this type of private social media, more of their interactions will be completed in private mode, such as: ordering takeout, getting groceries delivered, sending payments, booking flights or taxis, shopping for a new outfit, or scheduling a haircut at their favorite salon. Zuckerberg sees the new, privacy-focused Facebook as the one venue where users can do everything else, and this creates a captive audience for advertisers.
The future Facebook will also integrate Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp. Users can send messages from one chat app to someone in another chat app, without having to switch programs (though users aren’t required to opt-in to the integration). This could be a convenient function for advertisers who want to reach their target audience without having to segment by private messaging apps.
The new Facebook privacy change will focus more on private messaging, reducing data permanence, better security, and more secure data storage. For advertisers, this presents a challenge in the way data is used and applied to ad campaigns. It also means new opportunities, which advertisers can use to reach the audience at various points on the buyer journey.
Facebook also has challenges to overcome, in order to implement these changes. For example, the plans for end-to-end encryption and reduced data permanence require significant preparation and careful execution. Advertisers will need to keep an ear to the ground, ensuring their clients and campaigns are prepared for the new way of doing business on Facebook – when, and if, the time comes.
Sheila Hart-O’Connor is a word geek who is passionate about all things digital. She specializes in advertising and marketing copy, with a lean toward SEO, social media, and blogging.