Facebook Mimicking 3rd Party Audiences

About a month ago Tim Jensen wrote a post here about how Facebook advertising would continue after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The general consensus was that Facebook would figure out some way to keep the sophisticated targeting without the 3rd party data. Along that line of thinking, I found some evidence to support the theory.

Facebook Mimicking 3rd Party Audiences

I was looking for targeting options for mothers with children in K-12 schools. I found a couple good options titled “Moms of grade school kids” and “Moms of high school kids”, but was bummed that they were based on 3rd party data. I was still going to use them, but knew it would be a short term thing.

However, as I scrolled further I found audiences with the exact same name, but inside the Demographics area (meaning it’s Facebook data). Take a look at these screenshots.

While the Demographics audiences are smaller (16M vs 9.9M and 10M vs 4.8M) these are so similar that Facebook gave them the same name.

What It Means For Advertisers

This is about as good as it gets for current Facebook advertisers. It shows that Facebook is already making significant strides to “preserve” targeting options even without 3rd party data.

To see if your audiences are getting mimicked by Facebook, take the following steps:

  • Go to Facebook Ads Manager and look at the Ad Sets tab.
  • Make a list of targeting criteria in your top ad sets that are using 3rd party data (or old criteria that used 3rd party data that you already phased out).
  • Go to Audience Manager.
  • Click on Create Audience for a new saved audience (we’ll just be testing, so don’t worry).
  • Copy/paste the targeting criteria and see if audiences show up without 3rd party data needed.

I’m guessing that we’ll see more and more of this as the date approaches for Facebook to drop 3rd party targeting options from the platform. If you find something interesting, please leave a comment below.

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