Facebook Introduces New Rules for Custom Audience Targeting

Stemming from recent public data privacy concerns, Facebook is in the midst of rolling out changes to its paid advertising platform. Along with the phased elimination of Partner Categories worldwide, European countries such as the UK, Germany and France have already seen changes take effect in relation to the Facebook Custom Audiences feature; and the U.S. is next.

Changes to Custom Audience Targeting in the U.S.

On July 2nd, Facebook is announcing new requirements for its Custom Audiences feature in the U.S., focused on additional accountability and transparency. Custom Audiences allow advertisers on Facebook to upload and target against their own customer data, thereby helping them reach consumers more likely to have a relationship with their business. When businesses upload their own data to Facebook, it’s not always clear where that data originated (often, it comes from one of Facebook’s third party data aggregation partners), and Facebook wants to make that more transparent.

As a result, the following changes will be reflected in the July 2nd update:

1. Origin of audience data requirement

Advertisers will have to specify the origin of the audience’s data they upload to Facebook, indicating whether the information was collected directly from people, provided by partners or a combination of the two. Then, in the drop-down menu of each live ad, a “Why am I seeing this?” section will show people the source of the information (advertiser or partner) and if the advertiser was able to reach them through their phone number or email address.

2. Audience-sharing requirements

Facebook will be strengthening the requirements for when an advertiser shares Custom Audiences from a customer file— such as with its advertising agency. In these cases, both parties will need to establish an audience-sharing relationship through Business Manager, and agree to specific Custom Audiences Terms.

3. Terms education

Digital advertisers who use Custom Audiences have always been ultimately responsible for having any necessary permission to use and share people’s data. While these responsibilities won’t change, advertisers will start seeing more regular, detailed reminders of their obligation to help protect people’s privacy before they run their ads. Facebook will also require everyone on an ad account uploading Custom Audiences to accept the terms, rather than only requiring this from the admin on the account.

If you’re an advertiser on Facebook, be sure to look out for these updates taking effect July 2nd. If you’re curious how these changes will affect you, we can help.