Digital Advertising and Facebook – A Tale of Targeting

Sep 20, 2018Digital Advertising, Social Media0 comments


Have you ever shopped for a new pair of shoes, researched vacation destinations, or looking into buying a new home, only to log into your Facebook and come across advertisements related to whatever you were just doing? Though it might seem like a mere coincidence, it is in fact more than that. These incredibly relevant advertisements are actually products of target marketing.

Facebook has long offered digital advertisers extraordinarily thorough ad targeting options that are based on information about users’ lives and habits both on Facebook and off. This available information was far more expansive in the past, even including data such as job titles, ethnic identities, credit card spending habits, purchasing habits, and financial information. Also included, and still and available targeting option today is keyword-based interests, which can be derived from Facebook searches, likes and group participation.


Because of the availability and extent of this information, social media marketers and digital advertisers everywhere have figured out how to both obtain and combine applicable data to design thorough, hyper-targeted, relevant advertising campaigns. In the past, this information has even been used maliciously, in manipulative, discriminatory and invasive advertising campaigns. Since then, several of these targeting options have been removed to prevent such scenarios from happening again.

In addition to the concern about malevolent marketing, before these situations came to light, the majority of the general public did not realize that Facebook had access to and utilized information gathered by third party commercial data brokers. This really became well-known in 2016 with the US Presidential Election and the Russian ad scandal.

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After data privacy violations and audience targeting manipulation were shoved into the limelight after the election, users started to wake up to how social media sites were harvesting and using their personal information. Most digital advertisers were already aware of this process and had learned to utilized it to benefit their campaigns, however, for most of society, this was the first they had heard of this.


As a result of this, Facebook began the process of earning its users’ trust back and eliminating more invasive and possibly discriminatory targeting options and information, such as education, employer, field of study, and job title. This followed the earlier removal of information such as ethnicity and financial data. More recently, Facebook took this a step further and removed the ability to utilize any information gathered and sold by third party partners, and anything that would generally be considered a part of a partner category.

Basically, a partner category is anything Facebook users don’t provide in their profile or engagement habits. This includes anything that has to do with home ownership, income, credit card spending habits, etc. In essence, any data that is not directly given to Facebook by the user either in profile information or by searching or participating in groups or pages, is not available for target marketing.


Though this means added privacy for users, it also forces a shift in digital advertising approaches and marketing strategies. In order to promote businesses and showcase services effectively, there needs to be a flexibility to adapt with the changes that Facebook has made. Previously available targeting techniques may no longer be available, but businesses’ goals are still the same: to present themselves to an ideal audience. This target market has just become harder to identify and isolate.

In order for your business to stay relevant on social media amidst these changes, it’s essential to employ a marketing team that is up to date with the current standards for Facebook and understands how to work the targeting options that remain to get the best results for your success. At mngr, this is exactly what we do. We put in time to get to know your company and strategize the best methods of promoting your business in an ever-changing market


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