All you need to know about Facebook ads in a post-Cambridge Analytica world

3 September 2018

Earlier this year the social media giant Facebook was rocked by a scandal involving a voter profiling company ‘Cambridge Analytica’ who, it was discovered, were able to access the data of around 50 million Facebook users. They did this on the back of a personality quiz app which Facebook users could install on their account and which asked for a number of personal opinions from each user. Rather than deleting the data it was saved onto a database and sold on to be used to create detailed profiles of potential voters.

These profiles were then used to create targeted online Facebook ads for a number of high profile political campaigns including the Brexit vote and the Trump presidential campaign. Of course when this issue came to light it had a huge impact in the trust that customers put into Facebook and there was also a big knock-on effect on the marketing community too. As marketers we want to use Facebook to reach a targeted customer audience but we understand that this needs to be done in an open and honest way too.

The Cambridge Analytica scandal is still fresh in consumers’ minds and, combined with the recent GDPR regulations, people are more aware than ever about how companies use their data. That’s why we thought that we would take a look at how businesses can utilise Facebook as an advertising tool in this new online landscape. In this blog we’ll take a look at how Facebook advertising has been affected by these changes and we’ll also explain how you can still make the most of social media campaigns to support your marketing strategy.

How does Facebook advertising use customer data?

Since its inception Facebook advertising has become increasingly sophisticated in how it uses customer data to help businesses target their different customer segments as effectively as possible.  When choosing who your ads will be seen by marketers are able to select a number of different data categories from location to age range and key interest areas. Obviously this has been of great help to advertisers as it means that they can advertise to specific customer demographics. It is especially useful for local businesses or niche businesses who may only want to reach a very particular customer base.

How Facebook advertising has changed

Following on from the revelations about how customer data was being used, Facebook has made some fundamental changes to the way that advertisers are able to target audiences.  If you have been looking at running a Facebook campaign recently you might have noticed that a number of targeting options have been removed from the interests section including details on affluence levels and data mined from third parties. As Facebook is keen to be seen as improving transparency for customers they have also started to offer users the chance to block newsfeed items that use certain keywords so that they do not feel bombarded with ads or products they don’t want to see.

Why you should still use Facebook advertising

Whilst greater data security is good news for Facebook users, it has obviously had some negative impact on marketers and we have found that some businesses are now choosing not to advertise on Facebook. However we feel that Facebook is still an extremely valuable tool for your online proposition. In fact, as the Facebook advertising market becomes less saturated, it is the perfect time for smaller businesses to jump in and make the most of what Facebook advertising has to offer. The Wagada HQ team feel that Facebook is still the go-to place for advertising that is powerful and cost effective! We’ve done our research and by thinking outside of the box we’ve found that Facebook advertising can still really bring in some fantastic results for our clients.

How to use Facebook advertising effectively

One of the key changes we have seen in Facebook advertising is that data should now increasingly come directly from the user. Rather than relying on Facebook to provide evidence of a customer’s interest in your products or services you should aim to receive this information directly from your customers. This is actually of great benefit to your business as you’ll have proof that your ads are reaching people who genuinely want to hear from you.

Following on from the new GDPR regulations businesses should have updated their mailing lists and you should now only have marketing details from customers who have actively opted in to being contacted. This means they will be far more receptive to any advertising from your company that they see on Facebook. It also means that they will have trust in your brand that you will only contact them if they have requested you to do so. Therefore they know that they will not be overwhelmed with advertising campaigns that they don’t wish to receive.

You can also use website analytics to target customers on Facebook who have previously visited your website. Because they have already shown an interest in your brand, and have accepted your website cookies, they make up a great targeted segment for your online campaigns.

It’s also a good time to really work on your social media engagement and boosting your Facebook page followers. You can use Facebook advertising to target people who already like your page, so the more engaged followers you have the better. Schedule in some time each day to post on your pages, engage with comments and share information with your customers. By increasing your following you will be able to build up a loyal relationship with your customers which should make them more receptive to your Facebook advertising campaigns.

Whilst the Cambridge Analytica scandal has really shaken the world of social media based advertising, we feel that businesses can use the changes to refresh and revamp their Facebook advertising strategy. Advertisers can make the most of customers who are already engaged with their brand and who have shown an interest in their products and services. By utilising updated mailing lists, website visitor data and social media followers you can build a targeted advertising base who will be increasingly receptive to what you have to say. And, because the Facebook advertising field is not quite as overcrowded as it was, your voice also has more of a chance to be heard and it’s a great opportunity to reach out to new potential customers. If you are looking for support with your Facebook advertising, Wagada have a wealth of experience in effective and compelling online campaigns. We can help you with innovative solutions for your marketing strategy so get in touch to have a chat and learn more about what we can do for your business.