In the past, Facebook has enjoyed unprecedented growth in all its subcategories, notably advertising, subscription, revenues, daily usage, and many other key determinants of digital reach. It still holds a significant market share of the global ad expenditure as political, social and economic players continue to rely on its global reach to advertise. However, after a series of privacy breaches, the biggest social media company is changing.
A raft of measures to tighten its privacy policies are promising to change how it operates in the future. Among those that will be affected is its users, advertisers, and partners. Its decision to cut off all third-party data will be a potential game changer. Here are the potential effects on key players:
Ad targeting will be more difficult
Advertisers were trooping en masse on Facebook because it provided partner categories as targeting data. Without the data, advertisers have to look for ways to get the data outside of Facebook. Even if they get the data, they will have to deploy their targeting methods; again, away from Facebook. That will not just be tedious, it will make digital advertising a nightmare—a departure from what used to be an automated process.
Advertisers will have to work harder to get the same results. Facebook might use its massive data banks to compensate the advertisers. However, that might not provide any short-term reprieve. Advertising in Europe is the worst hit as targeting is no longer granular. That will be the case globally once the full raft of measures goes live.
There will be ad delays because of the need for verification
Adverts that touch on political issues and problems of public importance will face further scrutiny as companies now have to get verification before posting. That will severely affect how advertisers take advantage of political and emotive matters to push through brands and products.
All ad posters will require verification, which will crack down on fraudulent accounts and bots. Although this will mean that the intended target will enjoy a less-predatory ad environment, it will also make it hard for predators such as Cambridge Analytica to prey on the users' data to manipulate public opinion and debate.
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Impacted ad spending budgeting
Before the full picture becomes apparent, inevitably some companies will have to hold back on their digital spend and soe will look for alternative ways as they employ a wait-and-see attitude. Without an evident market research platform, it will be hard to understand fully the role Facebook advertising will play for organizations. Companies will not know whether to scale back or up their net spend.
The consumer is more likely to see more adverts that don't apply to them as companies will still want to access 2 billion Facebook users even though they don't have access to the specific data. Companies will still use third-party data, which has proven in-market behavioral competence than Facebook-collected data.
Reduced Facebook ads spending
Some companies are already scaling back on their Facebook advertising budget.
However, this is a short-term solution. It's likely that with targeting being less precise, companies may be forced to spend more on broadly targeted messages.
People might shift their marketing dollars to other platforms that offer the much-needed data. However, none of the contenders comes close to what Facebook offers: billions of global users.
Facebook will go ahead with its intended stringent measures. For them, it is a necessity if they want to operate in a rugged digital space that is laden with ethical and privacy issues. The user will be happy, but the marketer will have to play a different ballgame as the dynamics change.