Facebook feature updates are so frequent these days. In a span of 4 months, they have banned like-gaiting, killed off organic reach and cracked down on click-baiting. Even the most tech-savvy social media wizard could be forgiven for missing this latest one about custom audience targeting for advertising on the platform.
The update to Facebook’s Terms of Service for Custom Audience Targeting prohibits scraping UIDs for building custom lists of people to target ads. You may be tempted to blindly click the “Accept” button for these long texts without reading them. We have all done it.
But for those of us in the marketing & advertising world, this update means a lot. It clearly outlines what is allowed and what is not allowed in Facebook for advertisers.
What are Custom Audiences?
Custom Audience Targeting is a powerful feature of Facebook advertising. For those unfamiliar with the concept, we will just let you read this hilarious story of a guy who used ads targeted solely at his roommate. An ingenious prank to exact vengeance – a three-week marketing campaign costing just $1.70. It’s always good to learn through humour.
Facebook lets you advertise to a specifically created list of people through their email addresses, phone numbers, website visits, Facebook app IDs. These are custom audiences.
Common Custom Audience Targeting Methods
- Uploading email IDs or phone numbers – target ads specifically to these people
- Pixels on websites to target people reading specific articles by storing cookies from readers. Ads are then targeted to only those users whose cookies are stored on your page
- Uploading Facebook apps user ID lists
So what’s changed in the Terms Of Service?
- No scraping UIDs: Custom audiences using the Facebook ID must have accepted or engaged with the app
- Protection of Custom Audience info: Facebook will not share the audience info with 3rd parties or even for its own use
- No selling or transferring of Custom Audiences: 3rd parties are not allowed to create custom audiences on behalf of advertisers. They must use only the advertiser’s data
The All-important App ID
When you create a Custom Audience now, you need to specify a Facebook app ID. This helps Facebook check the Custom Audience for people who have logged in, used or engaged with its apps in some way.
Rules are Rules
No doubt there will be unethical attempts at finding a way around this. As of now, there are no known means of checking if the IDs uploaded are actually users from the advertiser’s app. Facebook will not hesitate to shut down your advertising account if it detects foul play so our advice is to do it right, all by the books.
How will this update to Custom Audience Targeting affect your ad campaigns on Facebook? Let us know below in the comments.