Facebook, the second-largest digital publisher in the world behind Google, is an advertiser’s dream: a combination of mass reach and extraordinarily effective targeting. But the Cambridge Analytica revelations and subsequent congressional hearings have surfaced simmering concerns about user engagement, data privacy and ad targeting. What should marketers know about the changes ahead?
- The #DeleteFacebook movement hasn’t led to mass user defections. However, younger users were already starting to leave even before the Cambridge Analytica revelations in March, and privacy concerns may lead some Gen Xers and baby boomers to reconsider their usage patterns.
- Key metrics of daily active users (DAUs) and time spent were starting to show weakness even before the news broke. Anecdotal evidence of lowered engagement is gaining data support.
- Ad spending growth on Facebook will slow markedly this year, but that has less to do with Cambridge Analytica and more to do with larger ad-market dynamics. We expect marketers will continue to advertise on Facebook.
- However, changes to Facebook’s business terms and ad targeting products will affect marketers’ plans and will also renew the focus on first-party data.
- Third-party measurement will come under more scrutiny, as will the apps that connect to Facebook.
- Marketers should use this time to take stock of their data privacy practices, since any discussion of regulations could affect not only Facebook but their own broader marketing efforts.