Do you ever get the feeling you’re being watched? Ok, maybe watched isn’t the right word. Tracked is more like it. Most of us these days understand that actions we take online influence ads that we see. You’ve noticed those pair of trainers that you viewed following you everywhere you go online, right?
Well, Facebook’s latest update gives users the option of restricting access brands have to target them with their content. You may or may not be happy to know that you now have more control over how your personal information gathered through the Off-Facebook Activity tool is used. At least, to some extent…
FIRSTLY, WHAT IS OFF-FACEBOOK TRACKING?
Off-Facebook tracking is, you guessed it, exactly how it sounds! Facebook learns about user interests and activity from the Apps that we access and the websites we visit – even when the Facebook App isn’t open! They also learn when you’ve visited certain stores or which device you used to access a website from the organisations they associate with. All of which influence what users see on their News Feed.
180 day’s worth of data is collected about you, from organisations and advertisers that Facebook have partnerships with. This may sound alarming, however this type of tracking in fact helps to ensure you are only served ads that are relevant and customised to your interests. Put it this way, would you rather be served with an ad that doesn’t appeal to you whatsoever, or, see a post about something that you regularly read about, buy or visit. We know which one we’d prefer!
SECONDLY, HOW YOU CAN OPT OUT?
If tracking your user behaviour online isn’t your jam, you’ll be happy to know you can now opt-out. Facebook has given users the ability to ‘unlink’ themselves from being tracked through their Off-Facebook Activity tool. As with most updates like this though, it’s not too easily found and hides behind a few settings pages. And, it doesn’t allow you to reset your relationship with Facebook but it does allow users to unlink some of the surveillance that tracks your activity.
WHAT ABOUT ADVERTISERS AND BRANDS?
If ‘unlinking’ using the Off-Facebook Activity tool becomes a norm for users then without a doubt, this will have an impact on the ability advertisers have to target highly relevant audiences. How much of an impact is still unknown, however, this could potentially impact both remarketing and acquisition audiences, and therefore have a negative effect on campaign performance.
Giving consumers more visibility and control over their data and browser usage online is here, and it’s here to stay. Whether this control and ability to opt-out is utilised by consumers or not is still up for debate. What this move by Facebook does is highlight the importance of 1st Party Data and its ability to ensure that your message is hitting the right user. We predict an increase in brands growing their owned databases in 2020 to protect themselves from further targeting roadblocks – keep an eye out for those Lead-Gen campaigns!
An increasing trend of brand-collabs and audience sharing will most likely continue. Those mutually beneficial relationships with digital partners can lead the way to the illusive promised land that is super-low CPA.
Will regularly updating the Off Facebook Activity tool become the norm for users? Or will this just be another update that is available, but is rarely used? For now at least, it remains to be seen.
We’re sure this isn’t the last privacy update we’ll see from Facebook, but one thing’s for certain- Zuck and his posse are at least acknowledging the global demand for transparency and cyber safety, whether genuine or not.
Words by Luke Wilson, Social Media Manager
Luke Wilson author
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