26 Sep What Facebook’s Latest Feature Means for Brands
Facebook is rolling out a new feature that is great for users, but bad news for advertisers. The new “Clear History” tool will allow users to disconnect their off-Facebook activity from their profiles, which will ultimately clear data that brands have been collecting with the pixel since its implementation in 2015. This decision from Facebook will definitely have an impact on Facebook ads and their targeting, but until it officially rolls out, advertisers can’t be certain just how big an effect it will have.
Keep reading for all the details you need to know about this potentially impactful tool, but in order to understand the “Clear History” tool, you must first understand how the Facebook Pixel works!
What is the Facebook Pixel?
The Facebook pixel is code that is placed on your website. The pixel works by placing and triggering cookies to track users as they interact with your website and with your Facebook ads. The pixel is what allows us to tell you exactly how many sales or leads came from an ad, but the pixel can also track user behavior on your website. It collects data that helps you track conversions from Facebook ads, optimize ads, build targeted audiences for future ads, and remarket to people who have already taken some kind of action on your website.
Now Back to the Clear History feature!
This new tool is designed to give users more control over their data and in light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, it was a great move on Facebook’s behalf to show users their commitment to privacy. Facebook users have long been asking to have more control over their own data and the “Clear History” tool hopes to meet these demands. The “Clear History” tool will allow users to see what apps and websites are currently tracking their online activity and give users the ability to disconnect them from their data. However, it should be noted that this tool won’t stop Facebook from tracking you or keeping your history on their servers, it just means that your data won’t be associated with you.
Needless to say, this will have a significant impact on any brand that is utilizing Facebook ads. Facebook has stated they will be reaching out to advertisers and agencies and be giving them a chance to prepare before the tool rolls out universally. While Facebook will still have plenty of data for targeting, the data will be anonymous, making targeting a much more difficult task (but not impossible). There is also the question of how widely used this feature will be. There is no word yet just how much Facebook will be advertising this feature and how many people will go through with adopting it. While Facebook may want to tout their newfound transparency with data, users might be slow to implement, especially since Facebook has been so slow to release it.
Facebook is currently in the midst of rolling the “Clear History” tool out in Ireland, South Korea, and Spain, and hopes to have it available to all users within a few months. However, it is already months behind its targeted launch of Spring of 2019! While the tool isn’t widely available yet, it’s only a matter of time before we see it in the United States, so it’s something all digital marketers should be aware of.
So, what should marketers be doing, now that they are armed with this information? The short answer is…nothing yet. But, it’s definitely a good time to reevaluate your current Facebook targeting practices and be aware of what may change in the coming months. Are your current campaigns relying on the pixel and custom audiences? If they are, it may be time to get creative and find a workaround to recreate them without that dying data!
Written by Kateri Bean.