It has been a few months since Facebook made the surprising announcement to remove Partner Category targeting. Many thought this would cause major changes to automotive marketing and advertisers’ ability to target users. Since then, Facebook has been fairly quiet on the subject, which has caused a lot of misinformation to enter the conversation.
In the immediate aftermath, advertisers were quick to dismiss Partner Categories altogether. I wrote a brief blog post on the subject and, admittedly, some of the possibilities I speculated didn’t come to fruition. However, I knew that regardless of the fate of Partner Categories, Facebook was listening to their users and taking an important step. Recently, Facebook has made important changes and announcements that have clarified their plan: Partner Categories are here to stay, but users will have more control and insight than ever.
A Balanced Approach:
Partner Categories are not going away, but the public is becoming more aware of how data is being used for targeting, where that data originated, and how that data can be used. This is, in large part, a solution that gives both automotive marketing professionals and Facebook users what they both need.
More Information & Control for Facebook Users:
Recently, I noticed an unusual prompt as I logged into Facebook. The prompt informed me, as a Facebook user, what Partner Category data is. It occurred to me that this was likely the first time many users of Facebook had ever heard the term Partner Category. I was assured that my personal data was off-limits and was told how Partner Categories provide a more relevant advertising experience. Perhaps, if I wasn’t so interested in the subject, I would have dismissed this prompt as an annoying pop-up between me and my feed and closed it as soon as possible. The marketer in me read every word carefully. Ultimately, the prompt ended by giving me the option of opting out of Partner Category targeting but warned that my feed may become less relevant as a result.
Access to these controls doesn’t just exist in a one-time pop-up dialogue. Users can update this setting at any time under their advertising settings in Facebook. Additionally, they see a similar message reiterating the value of Partner Categories for increasing the relevance of advertising. It’s noteworthy that Facebook makes a point to state that opting out will not create a reduction in the number of ads a user will see. The message reads:
“When you allow us to use this data, you may see ads for hotel deals if you visit travel websites. Or if you buy running shoes, you may see ads for other sports apparel.If you don’t allow us to use this data for ads, we won’t delete any data. You’ll still see the same number of ads, but they’ll be based on things you do on Facebook Company Products, or they may be from a specific business that you’ve shared your contact information with, if we’ve matched your profile to their customer list.”
In addition to the option of opting-out of Partner Category targeting, Facebook will soon be providing more information to curious users. When you see an automotive marketing ad or any other ad in your feed, you can get a glimpse into the targeting parameters under the ‘Why am I seeing this?’ option of the post menu.
Under the ‘Why am I seeing this?’ feature, users currently have a hint that audiences are provided by partners such as Oracle Data Cloud. Adding to this detail, users will soon see if they were targeted through a first-party audience based on their email address or phone number as well as whether Partner Category data was used in the ad targeting.
What this means for Automotive Marketing and Marketers:
As an automotive marketing proffessional, it’s in my best interest for users to opt-in for Partner Category targeting. With this, I am able to deduce those that are likely in-market for specific vehicle models and more. Marketers have always owed it to their clients to help create relevant ads that incite a positive reaction from their audiences. Now more than ever, users are keenly aware of the fact that advertisers are able to target them based on a bevy of information they may or may not have divulged directly to Facebook. They also have more control than ever regarding which types of ads they want to or don’t want to see.
It’s important to know those bad ads won’t cut it anymore. If a user doesn’t want to see your ads, they can effectively opt-out of seeing your content. They may even opt-out of seeing ads that utilize Partner Category targeting altogether. Marketers have to hold themselves to higher standards and understand that potential consumers are more empowered than ever to control the ads they see and that’s a trend that isn’t going anywhere.
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