The end of Facebook partner categories and what that means as an advertiser

Facebook has had a rough ride of late and there has been a lot of change on the platform, particularly for those of us who run advertising and marketing campaigns.

One of the latest major changes to take place was recently announced on one of their blog posts and that is bad news for advertisers as they are shutting down partner categories.

It will most certainly help to improve user privacy, which has been such a hot topic in the news lately, BUT it will limit advertiser’s ability to target individuals. How limiting this will be and to what extent remains to be seen but suffice to say that it will have an impact.

What are Facebook Partner Categories?

For those of you that run advertising campaigns on Facebook you will know that currently you can target users based on the information from three different sources:

Your own data: This is information that you have acquired yourself with lead capture and landing pages such as Names, Email Addresses etc

Facebook’s data: This is all the data that Facebook has on its users such as pages they like, their location, jobs, behaviours

Partner Categories: These are advertising targeting options on Facebook based on user information provided by third parties like Experian, the credit referencing agency.

Direct from Facebook they say:

Partner Categories are based on information provided by Facebook Marketing Partners with the Audience Data Provider specialty. These categories allow you to further refine your targeting based on information compiled by these partners, such as offline demographic and behavioral information like homeownership or purchase history. For businesses that don’t have access to customer data of their own to create Custom Audiences, Partner Categories may be a good option.

These partner categories have become an integral part of any advertisers play book for a long time and they will be sorely missed. One of the great things about Facebook advertising was that it allowed advertisers to run adverts with such sophisticated and unique targeting options.

So what options do you now have to target people with that kind of data in advertising?

That now leaves you with a few options but perhaps not the answer you were looking for

1 – You could hope that Facebook users have voluntarily given this information on their profile. Not really likely to happen as more and more people distrust Facebook over the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

2 – Get the data from third parties. You can acquire your own user data and then use that within Facebooks advertising. This option won’t be cheap though and additionally you run the risk of falling foul of the new GDPR regulations if you don’t follow a very strict protocol.

3 – Collect your own data. Running a successful lead capture from landing pages has been the standard model for businesses building their own lists for years. This can lead to much higher conversion rates on adverts as you are serving them to warm leads.

4 – Outsource your advertising to a media buyer. If you don’t have the resources to do it yourself, media buyers and advertising agencies can build a list for you with their own marketing initiatives and data.

The solution you choose will depend on many factors like company size, current resources and the stage of development.

If you’re an SMB, SME, Brand or Startup looking to gather data yourself then why not get in touch and we can run you through our lead generation initiatives with an automated marketing and sales funnel process.

About the Author

Tim Lord is the Creative Director of TR8 Media; a designer, web developer, producer, business development & marketing consultant with over 14 years experience in IT and Media Production.

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