Facebook advertising: Is change a good thing?
Written by: Skott McKinney, Director of Marketing & Creative services, Asset Marketing Systems
In the shadow of the Facebook privacy “scandal,” Facebook recently revealed that they’d made significant changes in their platform. I believe that this is a tactic to divert the public’s attention away from data hoarding to focus more on Facebook as a company of equal opportunity.
So, what really changed and how does this affect the financial services industry?
In a nutshell, Facebook has decided to remove approximately 5,000 targets that they felt had the potential to be misused, financial data targeting included. Facebook also states that they’ll be rolling out a new and required certification to all U.S. advertisers through its Ads Manager tool. This tool will require advertisers to register their compliance with Facebook’s non-discrimination policy before they can post ads.
Here’s a quick explanation of FB targeting:
Ads get optimized for affluent prospects. Up until recently, advertisers had been targeting potential clients by spending habits, debt, age, race, income, net worth, liquid assets, married, engaged, in relationships, birthdays, and the list goes on and on. Based on these targets, an advertiser could capitalize on your situation and habits to become part of your life and forever be present throughout your online experience.
There are a handful of other tools that help advisors determine the best client approach. A Facebook Pixel can be run hundreds of times a month, capturing user’s engagements from the second they click on an ad. This includes capturing spending habits, interests, etc. by following them across all web channels people visit. This is not changing yet, but it’s important to note because legacy advertisers will be able to leverage this captured data as a way to stay prominent and will not have to rely on the targets that are no longer available.
Many of the resources you rely on to fill your workshops primarily use Facebook. This is mainly due in part to the previous endless landscape of targets, but more specifically more GenX and Baby Boomers are users. In fact, of the 1.45 billion active users this year, 72% are age 52-64, and 62% are age 65+. To compare, in 2017 61% of users were age 52-64 and 56% were 65+.
How will seminar marketing vendors stay successful?
If a vendor has been running ads for a while, they’ll benefit from the learned information their combined ads and pixels have been capturing.
This combination of learned Pixel data and age/location targets will enable vendors to maintain qualified prospects in the changing facebook environment. I’ve learned that this methodology was deployed by a few of our vendors before the Facebook change, as a way to test success. Our vendors are claiming that this methodology is producing results similar to the campaigns sent prior to Facebook’s change.
It’s important to note that Facebook has also improved their algorithms to help offset changes, and they’re doing a better job of optimizing ads utilizing Pixels.
Through 2019, I think we can expect to see moderate success from companies who have established data points, however, I suspect favorable rates of success will decrease towards the end of 2019 for companies that do not have additional resources to collect demographic data outside of Facebook, i.e., direct mail, continuously running a needs analysis to blind audiences, or list purchasing, which add complexity to the organization and may ultimately drive campaign costs up.
I believe that a change of platform is inevitable and advisors will need to turn attention to other platforms geared towards engaging the public’s desire to buy products, such as Amazon. These companies aggregate data to determine a buyer’s persona and ultimately market other products based on the buyer’s previous purchases. Imagine knowing how your clients spend money to better position you to interact with them.
Be on the lookout for future posts on the subject of alternative platforms.
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