If you’ve followed the news on the recent Facebook scandal, then you will not be surprised that things are changing – and quickly. Facebook has always changed up their platform, but now in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and new GDPR protections, all social media marketers need to prioritize these six Facebook action items as part of their overall social media strategy.
Why all the changes?
During the last U.S. presidential election, there was a lot of controversy over whether or not there was Russian interference. When Facebook announced
that they found ~$100,000 worth of ads connected to 470 fake accounts and pages tied to Russia, things began to get interesting. Then, a whistle blower
uncovered that his company, Cambridge Analytica, used a personality quiz app on Facebook to harvest information from 87 million people. This information was combined with offline data to create psychological profiles on U.S. voters that were then used to target users for the upcoming election.
Mark Zuckerberg took to his own platform to apologize in a Facebook post
, and outlined steps the company was taking to prevent another SNAFU. Then, he was sequestered by the Senate
and put in the hot seat to answer questions on privacy, ad targeting, access and more. One Senator unabashedly told Zuckerberg that ‘your user agreement sucks’ and that he needed to rewrite it in English. What came of this was a lot of changes at Facebook in the areas of privacy, advertising targeting and tracking, user access and more.
One of the first issues that Facebook took on was privacy. Facebook announced
in April 2018 that they will be asking users a series of questions on Facebook regarding privacy as part of the GDPR updates
, starting in Europe, then working their way around the globe. They even launched a new program that will reward people for identifying anyone abusing data from Facebook with their Data Abuse Bounty Program
. In addition, they made their privacy tools
easier to find based on feedback from the Senate hearings.
Action Item #2: Update Facebook Targeting Strategies
Another new change that may disrupt your digital marketing strategy is the termination of Partner Categories
. Partner Categories leverage third-party data about Facebook users to allow advertisers to target them with promoted posts or ads. See the timeline of the Partner Category shut down
One strategy that we’ve found success
with is uploading your own data, like an email list, to create a custom audience that you can target ads to. Just make sure that you have consent to use these email addresses, per GDPR protections and potentially your own privacy policies. Facebook is taking the position that they are the data processer, and that businesses must comply with these laws when uploading custom audiences.
Action Item #3: Verify Your Domain
If you’re been wondering why you can’t change the photo or meta description of organic page posts from links to your own website, it’s because you need to verify your business’ domain in Facebook. Facebook flipped this switch on May 8, 2018, requiring all brands to go through a domain verification
in an effort to stop the spread of fake news
Action Item #4: Upgrade to Facebook Business Manager
Another way Facebook is attempting to stop the spread of false news (as they call it) is to remove accounts and content that violates their policies
, including a requirement that people use their real identities and not impersonate others. If you manage your company’s Facebook presence through the use of a fake account or use an account that multiple people can login to, you’ll want to stop doing that before they delete your account. Instead, you will want to use Business Manager
Facebook Business Manager is a platform to help brands and agencies collaborate and manage assets, and is now required according to Facebook’s Privacy & Security policy:
“You will use your personal Facebook information to set up your Business Manager account. Colleagues will not be able to view non-public items on your Facebook profile unless you are separately friends on Facebook. Using your personal identity ensures transparency and allows you to see who makes each change to account assets. This way, if an unusual action is discovered, you can easily reach out to the person who made the change. This level of detail is not possible when single user accounts are shared among multiple people. In addition, Facebook does not permit sharing of personal accounts and credentials. Facebook operations actively remove accounts in violation of Facebook terms and agreements. If you are using a shared or fake identity, this account could be disabled and disrupt your business operations. For complete Facebook Terms and Policies, visit https:/facebook.com/policies.”
If you work with a digital marketing agency like ZAG Interactive, you can grant Partner access to the agency, allowing your teams to have access and collaborate on ads and assets like Facebook pixels, domains, ad accounts and more.
Action Item #5: Create a Facebook Pixel
If you haven’t already created and implemented a Facebook pixel
, you’ll want to do that once you set up your Business Manager account. A Facebook pixel is a piece of code that will allow you to create custom audiences to serve ads or promoted posts to people who visited your website. It also allows you to track conversions and see insights about how people are using your site. This will be more important as targeting options like Partner Categories are shut down and will give you more intelligence into how your ads are performing.
Action Item #6: Get Familiar with Ad Policies
The reins are tightening up with Facebook advertising now too. All marketers should always review the Facebook ad policies
before creating ads. If you’ve ever had an ad or promoted post disapproved, it may be due to your copy including personal attributes
. On Facebook’s list, they outline how you need to phrase your copy to not assume things about your audience.
Additionally, if you are a financial institution using Facebook advertising for housing or loan-related promotions, you will be asked to certify that your ads are compliant. Make sure you take care to avoid discriminatory content within your imagery, content and targeting strategy, and that your landing pages contain any needed disclosures that are triggered by content from your post or ad since Facebook is now checking landing pages too.
It is a violation of Facebook's Advertising Policies to discriminate based on personal characteristics such as race, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, family status, disability, medical or genetic condition. It may also violate federal, state, provincial, local or other applicable laws in your area or the area in which the ads will be shown.
Such laws may prohibit discrimination when running ads related to categories such as housing, employment or credit opportunities. For example, when running an ad for an apartment for rent, it may be illegal to exclude people who have children from that opportunity.
You agree that you have reviewed Facebook's policy prohibiting discrimination and will abide by those policies. You certify that you will not use Facebook advertising to improperly discriminate and will comply with all applicable laws.
When social media first came on the scene as a new tool for businesses to connect with the community, it was considered the wild west. Now that Facebook has gained tremendous influence in how people live their lives, they are facing potential regulation and quickly adapting to keep their market share. This means more protections for Facebook users – which is great. But to keep up with the changing tides, digital marketers will need to continually stay updated and be able to adapt to these changes. If you would like to talk to a social media specialist about these changes or your overall social media strategy, contact ZAG Interactive