There’s a lot of noise in the media right now about tech brands like Facebook having too much data on their users.
Facebook is listening to this and has introduced a new tool that allows users to opt out of targeted ads.
Is this the end of marketing on Facebook as we know it? No, not even close, but the changes are important.
In this article I’ll show how you can opt out of interest- and email-based targeting and how you can adjust your Facebook ad funnel moving forward.
How to opt out of Facebook ads
Users can now see which interests their account is linked to and which businesses have uploaded their email list for ad targeting.
To find this for your account, visit Settings > Ads and then you’ll see the following screen:
Your 'Interests' tab will show the audiences you’ll be collected in if an advertiser decides to target that interest:
You can manually remove any interest yourself by clicking on them. You can remove them all if you wish.
Next up is the 'Advertisers and 'Businesses' tab. This section will show which businesses have uploaded your email list to Facebook:
You can choose to hide all ads for any of the advertisers in the section.
The 'Information' tab shows your personal data that can be used in targeting:
Users can also choose to opt out of seeing ads based on their pixel, actions on their other products (WhatsApp, Instagram), and whether they want their name to be shown on ads where they have liked a page or posts:
Users will also be able to hide specific topics for a timeframe of six months, one year, or permanently:
Finally, if users want to understand how Facebook uses their data to find ads, there is a section where they can read more.
These settings are hidden to most and chances are, unless prompted to check out this section of their Facebook account, most users will never visit.
What does this mean for advertising on Facebook?
This really isn’t a big deal for marketers who use interest targeting or customer lists as part of their Facebook ad funnel.
Facebook had over 2.38 billion active users in the first quarter of 2019. The small percentage of people who are going to opt out of interest-based targeting isn’t going to make a huge difference. Even if a user deletes all their ad history so their profile is "clean," if they are active on Instagram or Facebook they will start being assigned tags and interests again which they will need to remove.
Just because a user opts out of interest-based ad targeting, they are still going see Facebook ads. Users can opt out of seeing ads based on their interests and behaviors, but they cannot opt out of seeing ads on Facebook altogether.
Interest targeting on Facebook is just one small part of their ad platform. You can always target by age, gender, and location, and through re-targeting you can shift the uninterested users to the ones who are serious about your product and show them the next steps in your funnel.
It’s more important to have a great offer, product, service, and customer experience than it is to be able to use interest targeting on Facebook. If you have a great product, then with a good marketing team you’ll run profitable ads on Facebook.
More transparency to come
I’m sure this isn’t the end of Facebook offering its users more transparency in how their data is used in ad targeting.
I don’t see it as a big deal but rather just a step forward. The Internet is moving fast and is changing all the time, and as marketers we cannot complain or moan about it. We should adapt to the environment around us and improve our funnels.