Facebook Removes Third-Party Data for Advertising Audience Targeting

Facebook has announced it will be shutting down one of the richer sources of data available to advertisers, as third-party consumer data will be removed from Facebook’s advertising platform.

Facebook said it will remove targeting which uses consumer data from third-parties.

This includes:

  • Acxion
  • Oracle Data Cloud
  • Experian
  • Epsilon

This data includes insights into consumer behaviour – which consists of what people buy, where people shop, incomes and much more.

When in the ad interface in Facebook, the audiences are found under “Partner Categories by Request”. While this is unlikely to affect the average business advertising on the platform, large brands with a focus on consumer goods may see an impact. They collect information via this as products are sold in stores they do not personally run. So they will lose some consumer insights previously available.

Facebook is phasing out all third-party targeting capabilities, in the private and public categories.

In the public categories, this includes behavioural targeting parameters, which includes in-market audiences, purchasing, household income targets and otherwise.

Facebook said in a statement:

We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories. This product enables third-party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook.

This change comes after the scandal with Cambridge Analytica – with new calls for privacy on the platform. Facebook had already announced new limits to the way that Facebook user data could be accessed, and so this is taking privacy one step further for consumers.

But as everyone knows, GDPR is looming, which will put another constraint on what Facebook can do with data. So it’s likely this move has been fast-tracked due to both of these reasons. Online privacy and security is already a hot topic, and is likely to only get more press in the future. GDPR will have a significant impact on how third-party data can be utilised within online advertising.

Facebook has said Custom Audiences will be largely unaffected, as this is based on data owned by the advertiser. Third-party data is also used to help measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns, including sales impact and brand sentiment, and Facebook will still partake in this.