Ready to Be Forgotten: How Marketers Must Prepare for Facebook’s “Clear History”

July 09 19:58 2019 Print This Article

In this article, Kazu Takiguchi, CEO of Creadits, talks about how Facebook’s Clear History feature will be a game changer and shares tips for marketers to prepare for it.

Memory is one of the most powerful tools in any marketer’s arsenal. The power to remember previous user information which then informs next marketing moves – based on their searches, history, likes and dislikes – means pinpointed messaging is possible like never before. In marketing, knowledge is not only power – but conversion.

So, this makes Facebook’s decision to implement “clear history” user tools in the coming months all the more worrisome. This would render those searches, history, likes and dislikes useless, instead only offering business marketers general and aggregated analytics like age and gender. This has prompted alarm bells in the sector – after all, it has been the unlocking and utilization of personal data in the first place that has contributed to this ability to truly grasp the market and “know” the individual customer.

Also Read: Breaking up with Facebook: Where to Advertise in a Post-Facebook World

The decision marks a big change for the world’s largest social media platform, and it should serve as a warning for marketers to prepare today for tomorrow. Let’s take a look at what, if anything, will be possible when it comes to pinpointing people with clear online history:

The long goodbye
It is best to think of Facebook’s “clear history” tool as akin to deleting cookies from the browser – the context is removed and browsing history all but forgotten. This means websites and advertisers are essentially back to square one, and rightfully worried about what this change could bring.

Facebook announced in May that its long-awaited “clear history” feature would roll out in the coming months. The feature will allow users to delete data that the social network gathers from websites and apps outside of Facebook, and no longer use that data for advertising. “When someone disconnects their off-Facebook activity, we won’t use the data they clear for targeting,” Facebook said in a blog post. “This means that targeting options powered by Facebook’s business tools … can’t be used to reach someone with ads.”

This means data is set to turn anonymous, making users’ activity essentially invisible to marketers looking to target users based on engagement, activity and interests. The user will be given the power to see the information held by websites and apps and give them the option to remove all data associated with the account. This is a blow for marketers, with the removal of user data meaning only aggregated analytics like age and gender would be available for marketing use.

This change is a complete turnaround from Facebook’s data approach of the past and could have a huge impact for marketers going forward. Ironically enough, Facebook’s largest source of income is targeted advertising, potentially impacting not only marketers but Facebook themselves. This only goes to show how seriously the privacy backlash seems to be threatening Facebook’s user reputation.

But what about me?
The impact of this change could alter digital marketing on Facebook is we know it. While that may sound sensational, take a step back and truly consider what cleared user history could mean for marketing on the platform. Facebook Pixel and Custom Audience could be potentially rendered useless. Why? Because without user data, brands do not know if users have previously been on their website or searched for their products. There is no context, so essentially the marketers are going into the situation blind.

Clear user history will make it harder for marketers to, well, market. Marketers will have to look for alternative targeting tools, which could be tricky as there are not many as large-scale and efficient as Facebook’s. Fortunately, measurement and analytics reports will not see much change as aggregated analytics remain available.

The move from Facebook appears to be a shift back to preferening user demands over those of advertisers. Perhaps it makes sense, with the company expecting in April to be fined up to $5 billion by the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations. On the other hand, the incoming changes will undoubtedly alter marketing on the platform – so what can be done to continue success on Facebook?

The brave, new marketing world
There are solutions – however it should be prefaced that Facebook marketing will not be the same after “clear history” comes into effect. Marketers will need to work harder with creative testing and optimization of their ads. The “clear history” tool could limit the effectiveness of retargeting via Facebook, essentially meaning that advertisers have fewer chances to reach the right audience and need to seize that opportunity with relevant and impactful messaging. That does not mean to abandon Facebook altogether. Here’s what can be done to mitigate the shift.

Review current strategies, plan ahead and make changes accordingly. There is no escaping the major value that Facebook has and will continue to hold despite the privacy change, so marketers must look at their strategies and plan for inevitable. One suggestion is to focus more on non-targeting reliant marketing efforts.

The ad targeting function will not be completely obsolete as the chances are that users may not be aware of the “clear history” tool or bother to use it. There is still a share of people who do not have a problem with ads – so long as they are relevant to their interests. In fact, savvy users may choose to remove irrelevant history and let their real interests remain for discovery purposes. In that case, ads can potentially be better received by users. Nonetheless, only when the tool launches officially will marketers be able to make proper sense of how to better counter this. It may even be a case of when the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was first implemented. Marketers were able to react and bounce back more easily than expected.

Another suggestion is to begin looking at alternatives for targeting. Many other big channels like Google, Youtube, Twitter, Reddit – even smaller channels like Pinterest and Snapchat – can give platforms for those desiring to capture better audience analytics to then bring back onto Facebook. It is not advisable to leave Facebook altogether, but it is understandable to continue gathering those useful data points and implement them back on the platform.

In short, there is no quick fix to overcome users who choose to “clear history”. In fact, it may be something that advertisers need to get used to as better user protection seems to be an industry-wide trend – Apple, for example, will introduce a new sign in feature to protect user identities.

Stronger user privacy is set to stay – so marketers must start to prepare and consider their position today before the changes are made tomorrow. Facebook continues to bring value for advertisers, even with less user data to draw from. The best advice today is to prepare for the storm – because it is coming.

The original article was posted here:https://www.martechadvisor.com/articles/social-media-marketing-2/ready-to-be-forgotten-how-marketers-must-prepare-for-facebooks-clear-history/

  Article "tagged" as:
  Categories:
view more articles

About Article Author

GDPR Associates
GDPR Associates

View More Articles
write a comment

0 Comments

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Add a Comment