Facebook Update Allows Users to Opt Out of Ads from Custom Audience Lists
Attention ad nerds, an update to Facebook’s policies may affect your ad campaign performance!
Last week, Facebook announced new measures to expand transparency and user control in response to criticism over political advertising on the social network. However, it will also have an effect on apolitical ads.
As part of the update, Facebook is once again setting its sights on the Custom Audience List—a feature that allows advertisers to upload a hashed list of contact information to help them target their advertising. Nearly a year ago, Facebook introduced a new version of its “Why Am I Seeing This” ad information. The new drop-down menu revealed info on the brand that paid for the ad, the biographical information they used to target the ad, and (if applicable) the brand that had uploaded the user’s contact info. That last part is what we’re talking about today.
One key part of that update was giving users more transparency into how their information was being obtained and used by third-party data providers, giving them better insight into their own browsing and privacy habits. Now, Facebook is giving them the option to hide the ads from those uploaded lists completely.
It’s important to note that users have always had the option to hide all ads from a specific advertiser. However, as explained by Facebook Director of Product Management Rob Leathern,
“Now they will be able to stop seeing ads based on an advertiser’s Custom Audience from a list—or make themselves eligible to see ads if an advertiser used a list to exclude them. For example, if a candidate has chosen to exclude you from seeing certain fundraising ads because they don’t think you will donate again, but you still want a chance to see those ads, you can stop yourself from being excluded.”
Basically, this update will allow users to opt out of any ads that have been targeted to them based on a certain Custom Audience list, not just from the business that uploaded it but from any related brands using that list:
“You can control the use of lists at a business level. You could disallow the use of lists by multiple advertisers at one time, if they are using lists uploaded by the same business account.”
Why It Matters
Advertisers often use Custom Audience lists for testing and targeting specific segments of customers (for example, existing customers vs. new leads). For example, it doesn’t make much sense to spend money advertising a sign-up link to existing customers, and you may end up annoying them more than anything.
However, Custom Audiences are often what brands use to advertise to their most active customers—ones who have provided their emails and have already opted in to receiving communications from that brand or related brands.
Losing out on the ability to show ads to those customers may hurt how well the campaign performs. On the other hand, it could potentially save advertisers money in the long run. If someone opts out of seeing an advertisement, then that ad likely was not relevant or interesting to them, and you may have been wasting money by targeting them in the first place. It will also force advertisers to exercise caution when it comes to how they’re using data and promote better advertising practices.
Additionally, any measure that Facebook takes to restore public trust will ultimately benefit both everyday users and advertisers because, by alleviating those fears, it encourages those users to continue using the platform.
Overall, this is a step toward handing over more proactive control to Facebook users. Not only will they be able to see why and how they’re being targeted but also allowing them to opt in or out of that ad targeting.
The new option will roll out later this month, at which time, users will have access to these settings in the “Advertisers & Businesses” section of “Ads Preferences.”