Facebook has announced that it’s going to limit how much data it makes available to advertisers buying hyper-targeted ads on the social network.

In light of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal - discussed in Episode 3 of our podcast - and as part of broader efforts, Facebook is cleaning up its data practices in line with GDPR. This includes changing its relationships with third party audience providers.

“Protecting people’s information is the most important thing we do, and you can expect to hear more from us in the coming weeks as we continue to work to make our platform safer.”

- Facebook, 2018

As a result, Facebook says it will stop using data from third-party data aggregators — companies like Experian and Acxiom — to help supplement its own data set for ad targeting.

Previously, Facebook let advertisers target people using data from a number of sources:

  • Data from Facebook, which the company collects from user activity and profiles

  • Data from the advertiser itself - customer emails they’ve collected

  • Data from third-party services like Experian, which can collect offline data such as purchasing activity, that Facebook uses to help supplement its own data set. When marketers use this data to target ads on Facebook, the social giant gives some of the ad money from that sale to the data provider

The thinking is that Facebook has less control over where and how these third-party firms collect their data, which makes using it more of a risk. Apparently, it’s not important enough to Facebook’s revenue stream to deal with a potential headache if something goes wrong.

On top of that, Facebook are set to start playing it safe with custom audiences as advertisers will soon be required to confirm they have user consent before using them. This is a potentially big change to one of Facebook's most powerful tools.

What does this mean for advertisers?

May 10: After this date, you will no longer be able to create or edit campaign using Partner Categories built on audiences from the UK, Germany, and France; however, existing campaigns will be allowed to continue running until May 24.

May 25: We will no longer deliver to Partner Categories built on audiences from the UK, Germany, and France, and these targeting options will no longer be available for use on our platform. You will notified to update any targeting containing impacted Partner Categories before this date.

June 30: Last day for creating new or editing existing campaigns using non-EU Partner Categories; they will be allowed to run until September 30.

October 1: All other Partner Categories will no longer be available as targeting options on our platform and we will stop delivering against these audiences. You will be notified to update your targeting by this date.

To listen to more about the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, make sure you tune into episode 3 of the SearchStar podcast, DANcast. Click here to listen & subscribe >>>