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With all the recent backlash against Facebook, brands and advertisers alike are wondering what impact it will have on their business. The good news is, the engagement is still there. Despite the trending #DeleteFacebook movement last month, Facebook still has unparalleled scale. In fact, in the wake of the scandal, most users haven’t changed their privacy settings, advertisers are not leaving in droves, and engagement on the platform seems unchanged. Facebook is, however, overhauling their privacy settings, and this will impact how advertisers are able to target users.

The biggest takeaway is that Facebook is eliminating its “Partner Categories.” What are Partner Categories? While Facebook itself has a wealth of information on its users, the company expanded its data pool by partnering with multiple third-party companies. These partners provided additional “offline” data on Facebook’s users that advertisers used to target their ads. While these targeting options, known as Partner Categories, were often more expensive, they allowed for interesting targeting options surrounding purchase history, in-market behaviors, income level, and so on. Facebook is getting rid of these options as part of their initiative to avoid future privacy issues.

What does this mean for advertisers?
At the time that this article is being published, all of these targeting options are still available. Advertisers can continue to use Partner Categories to find their target audience, and any ad groups that are using these targeting options will continue to run until October 1st, 2018.

That being said, after October 1st, this targeting option will no longer be available, and campaigns using these audiences will no longer deliver.

Advertisers need to plan for this, and they need to become more creative in their ad targeting. While targeting options such as income level have become very popular, advertisers will now need to think outside the box on how best to reach their audience once these options are eliminated. Facebook still has an abundance of interest and behavior targeting options that, when used in conjunction with each other, can help you narrow down to your target audience.

Likewise, for those currently using this data, it’s important to build your custom audiences while you still can. Develop your remarketing lists and leverage lookalike audiences to let Facebook do some of the heavy lifting. While these upcoming changes will be significant, remember that your target audience is still on the platform. You just need to be more creative in reaching them.

Need help planning for the upcoming changes? Get in touch!

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