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The Scanline: Facebook Pulls Third-Party Data

The digital space is constantly changing, and 2018 has been no exception. One topic that has been a main area of focus most recently is privacy and data security. As you may have read, Facebook recently came under fire for what many users are calling a mishandling of user data in conjunction with a company named Cambridge Analytica. As a result, Facebook is now overhauling how it handles user data and how advertisers are able to target people using that data.

The largest change, announced in late March, is that Facebook would no longer allow third-party data to be used for ad targeting. Before we look at the potential impact this might have on advertising campaigns, it’s important to know what third-party data is and how your organization could be using it target potential donors and members.

So, what is third-party data?

Third-party data is, simply put, data collected or borrowed from a third party. An example of third-party data in the direct marketing world would be lists that organizations rent for acquisition campaigns from external data sources. This data, made available by companies like Acxiom or Experian, is typically used in Facebook to help create consumer segments, so ads and marketing messages can reach a more defined audience. Facebook was using this type of data to supplement its own targeting to ensure businesses a substantial audience reach regardless of their size.

How could this change affect you?

This change may impact the way you are targeting your campaigns by removing some options you may currently have implemented. It’s important to note that the change will not impact targeting using Facebook Custom Audiences, the tool that uses your own sources of first-party data (housefile lists for email, direct mail, telemarketing, etc.) to target advertising. Facebook is also still allowing marketers to target using data from Facebook directly (this is data the company collects from user activity and profiles). 

Continuing to protect, use, and grow your organization’s internal list of leads will be key as more changes are made to the industry. If we can help you navigate these policy changes or assess your digital advertising campaigns for impact, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Alex Grzybowski

Advertising Specialist