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Facebook Ads Targeting – What’s changed since GDPR?

There was a lot of talk surrounding the privacy issues that Facebook was facing back during the height of GDPR.

You may have seen some of the platform’s attempts at reassuring their users that they will keep their data safe and are going to focus news feeds even more on friend and family posts. This is great from an individual’s point of view, but what about the businesses and marketers who use Facebook Ads?

It is no surprise that Facebook has made some changes to their Ad platform and in particular their targeting abilities. Facebook has always been known as a great tool within the industry because of its specific and close targeting, so what’s changed post-GDPR?

The Use of Third-Party Data

Facebook used third-party data to gather as much information about an individual user as they could, this would then be available for marketers to target users by, for example, factors like if they own a home.

In the audience targeting this data was known as ‘partner categories’ and their main purpose was to allow marketers to target using an individual’s offline behaviour (behaviour that did not take place on Facebook).

What’s Changing

All third-party (partner categories) targeting abilities are being phased out from the beginning of May.

Currently, you cannot use third-party targeting for any campaign, worldwide, the UK and EU were the first to be banned because of the GDPR regulations. This was followed last week (June 30th) by not being able to target campaigns with third-party anywhere out of these areas.

Any campaigns that were set up using partner category targeting for an audience outside of the UK and EU will run up until the end of September before Facebook removes this feature completely.

Some of the targeting options that will be removed are:

  • Household Income.
  • Home Ownership.
  • Purchase History.

What This Means for Marketers

Facebook Ads is a popular platform for digital marketers to run campaigns for a range of clients in different industries – it has a high success rate across the board.

Ads will no longer be targeted at people so specifically, which could potentially lead to a slight decrease in the ad performance – not everyone you will be targeting will be 100% interested in your ads.

The option for Lookalike audiences and Remarketing is still available through Facebook Ads so we may see an increase in the use of these features – these are ways to target people more specifically than generic options.

Most marketers will be hoping that the overhaul in Facebook’s privacy system and the high-profile advertising that they are doing will mean that people are more open and will share more information directly with Facebook – this will give you more options for targeting.

In conclusion, these changes will, of course, have an impact on the performance and how marketers are used to using Facebook Ads, but this does not mean they aren’t still an extremely effective form of advertising to use for your business – especially when done by professionals.

If you want to find out how this will apply to you and your business, please contact us today and we’ll be happy to talk it through with you.

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Tierney Crocker
Tierney Crocker is part of the Digital Marketing team at WNW Digital, involved in all aspects of digital marketing and social media. You can email her at

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