Facebook has become an indispensable tool for today’s marketing professional, so what does the social media giant’s pivot to privacy mean for marketers?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was building a more privacy-focused social media platform at its F8 conference this year.
Earlier in the year, the CEO said the social networking platform would concentrate on private interactions, encryption, reduced permanence, interoperability and secure data storage.
The shift to more private channels comes after a string of controversies around data security and online safety in recent years, notably the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.
Broadly speaking, there will be a push to highlight group texts and private messages rather than public-facing communication like the news feed.
It will also encrypt users’ messages to each other by default, meaning Facebook will no longer be able to read private chats between friends.
The big question is how the new focus will impact the company’s business model, which uses people’s data to allow advertisers to target ads.
Here are some key takeaways from the recent changes and what they mean for marketers:
Facebook has redesigned its main app to emphasise groups and make it easier for users to discover and engage with people who have similar interests.
For marketers, this could mean Facebook users spend more time in closed group chats rather than the newsfeed, where most ads appear.
However, marketers can still research to find groups that match their target audience and approach them to see if they can run an ad within the group.
For example, if you are a local cafe, then you might want to approach a local community group on Facebook and see whether you can advertise a promotion within it.
The other thing to do is make sure your content is topical, interesting and shareable, so that users can easily distribute your content within closed groups.
It’s also worth noting that the new group changes will mean users who belong to a group can see group content pop up in their newsfeed, so many people will likely continue to use the newsfeed.
New ‘Clear History’ feature
Another area to keep an eye on is Facebook’s upcoming Clear History feature, which will be rolled out in the coming months.
Users will be able see the apps and websites they use that send Facebook data and give users the option to clear the information from their account.
Facebook said the feature may affect advertising targeting, as it will prevent advertisers from targeting users that have cleared their history with tools powered by its business features, such as Facebook pixel.
Advertisers appear divided on how much impact Clear History will have on advertising and marketing activities on Facebook.
On the Messenger front, marketers have welcomed the introduction of new Messenger lead generation templates to the Ads Manager that make it easier for businesses to connect with potential customers.
Businesses can create an ad in the main Facebook app that drives people to a simple Q&A in Messenger where they can learn more about their customers or book an appointment in the conversation.
Overall, Facebook’s focus on privacy will be positive for users, however marketers will have to think outside the box more and more to get the most value from the social media platform.