What do privacy changes mean for the future of social media?


By Matt John

If you’re keeping up to date with the latest tech news, and the war between Facebook and Apple, it would be easy to slip in to doom and gloom about the future of social media advertising.

After all, on the face of it, advertisers will have less reliable data and fewer conversion points. This will lead to less informed optimisation and measurement. So, not a good week to be working with social media! But what are the main changes going to be?

Let’s start with ‘retargeting’

This is a staple of many campaigns, but it will have a much more diminished role in the future. iOS users already have to opt-in for it, but only around 7% in the UK are doing so. Which means a huge reduction in audience size for all retargeting groups. It also makes the process a lot more unstable and unviable.

Then you have ‘ad and event limitation’

Facebook are now limiting not only the number of ads a company can have live. They are also limiting the amount of conversion points on a website down to 8. This means clients and advertisers will need to be more sophisticated and organised in their approach to advertising, website design and conversion process.

Finally, there is the impact to ‘conversion campaigns’

All of the above will most likely cause disruption to conversion based campaigns. These are typically served to a warm audience as the system uses conversion data to make sure it’s serving content to those most likely to act.

However, with change, comes innovation and new ways of thinking

Social media has become a jack of all trades for advertising. It’s been used for all major advertising metrics, from brand awareness to engagement to conversion. And this has always flown somewhat in the face of traditional marketing, where certain channels and outlets tend to sit firmer at one end of the scale.

Privacy changes could lead to a repositioning of social media. Something that’s been needed for a while. Now, social media will have to move up the funnel and focus more on a brand awareness and engagement led approach.

This can be seen as a loss. But really, it’s a return to socials roots. It will realign how people think about platforms and what they truly shine at. Social will be key for anyone looking to deliver quick and effective campaigns for instant ROI or those keen to build innovative digital experiences that connect and create long term loyalty.

Social media will achieve this by being unique in what it offers

  • Creative expression – no channels in any other markets offer the sheer volume and selection of formats to bring creative to life than social does.
  • Reach and awareness – retargeting may not be an option but social will always get big numbers with either broad or niche targeting.
  • In-platform engagement – social media often wants to create a community feel. By keeping users in platform and encouraging engagement, we can start to see the benefits of a more joined up online community.

It’s good to stay ahead of the curve

These changes are coming. So, we’re pre-empting them and we’re also reacting to the immediate changes that are happening to targeting, retargeting and the data we work with right now

How? By implementing a system called ‘Optimised Targeting’

Using this system, we’ll gather information around the age, gender, device, placement etc. of our target audience and use this to adapt our targeting segments.

Combined with our usual optimisation process, this will enable us to make informed decisions using data and deliver more targeted results.

To see how this could work for you, please get in touch.