Chances are, you’ve seen a large number of stories about Facebook and the data company Cambridge Analytica. It’s been impossible to miss the continued deluge of news, capped off with Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying in front of Congress. The dust-up has driven a significant wedge between Facebook and its users. With so much distrust, where does leave the marketers? How can we handle the current climate when people are more and more wary of targeted ads? The answer might be simpler than you think.
The data acquired by Cambridge Analytica is essentially the same data you use to create and target your ads. That vast amount of demographic data you use to find out who your customers are, and deciding who to target and by what interests are something in which every person running ads on Facebook relies. With new privacy features reducing the amount of data you have, it’s time to revamp your strategy.
How The Public Responded
Reuters took a survey of how individuals felt about targeted advertising, and only 9% wanted more targeted ads. Most people understand how these ads work now, and with the realization, more and more people are intentionally avoiding ads that are based on their interests and traffic history.
Facebook has also removed its Partner Categories tool; further limiting the amount of data companies can glean from an individual. This is a heavy blow for a lot of marketers, furthering the need for a new approach.
What Do We Do Now?
It sounds scary, but instead of panicking, it’s time to put your creativity to work! It’s easy to forget that the people you’re targeting are people. Far too many advertisers are using pure data to target instead of thinking about the human on the other side. As a marketer, you need to be speaking directly to your audience by giving them what they want, not what you think they want. Instead of relying on Facebook to target the right people based on interest, use your time communicating directly with your audience!
How To Communicate
It’s time to get out there. Listen to your customers, and give them what they want. If you have a Terms Of Service agreement for your site or product, make sure it is short, clear, and tells your customers what you will do with their data. This shows them that you care about their experience and their privacy, and shows them that you are trustworthy.
Make your ads both more general for larger audiences or cold audiences, but make specific ads that you can use as well. Have your page cater to your different audiences. Use Facebook groups to find new audiences and network your way to a larger audience. While you’re networking, think about how one of your ads would work for a specific individual and work out from there.
Targeted ads will still be an incredibly important part of your social media strategy, but the best things you can do to avoid seeing your traffic drop overall is to use the tools available to find new ways to optimize your marketing, and remember your audience is made up of real people, not packets of data!