New Changes to Facebook Custom Audiences & Why Transparency Is Essential


Facebook is always in a mode of change, and probably the only thing you can count on with Facebook is that the rules will keep changing.

But, this is actually good news! It means Facebook has our backs. They make changes that are best for their users, which is a goal we should share as Facebook advertisers. When we give Facebook users what they want with our ads, we get their business; it's as simple as that.

Facebook has made another change, and this one relates to Facebook Custom Audiences.

A Background on Facebook Custom Audiences

In a previous blog, we talked about Facebook retargeting and how to create Facebook Custom Audiences for campaigns.

Facebook Custom Audiences are a way for advertisers to target who sees their ads by ensuring their ads will reach people they have already developed a relationship with. Here are some examples of where these Facebook Custom Audiences might have been acquired from:

One of the ways in which advertisers can create a Facebook Custom Audience is by uploading a file of email addresses or phone numbers, which Facebook will then match to their user database. But big changes are here…

New Updates to Facebook Custom Audiences

Facebook's privacy crisis has resulted in numerous privacy issues as a result of their regulations about how user data was acquired. Mark Zuckerberg has made a public apology and has promised changes.

These changes also correspond with the EU's GDPR guidelines that have caused all advertisers to reevaluate and better manage the way they go about user privacy.

According to CNN, “Your personal information is Facebook's currency. It's bought and sold every day.” Facebook has taken a lot of slack lately because it's pretty scary how much information they are acquiring about their more-than two billion users. Now, they are taking steps to improve transparency.

Starting July 2, advertisers will need to specify where they obtained the audience's information in order to upload a Custom Audience. It's our guess that this is only the first step, as Facebook has stated that “We will continue to improve transparency over time to help people understand why they are seeing an ad.”

Advertisers will now need to specify if their Facebook Custom Audiences were:

In addition, there are two more changes being made:

These changes bring accountability and transparency, and it will allow Facebook users to understand why they are seeing a particular ad in their newsfeed.

Why It's Good to Be Transparent in Marketing

Candor Is In, and “old-school professionalism” Is Out

“Professionalism” is a completely different concept today than it was 10 years ago. These days, bloggers are becoming more real. Even corporations are reducing the “professional” image and replacing it with a more personal, candid tone.

And people like it because it hits home and helps them relate and feel like they are understood. As a result, they come to like the company even more.

Think about it, in this age, it's pretty outdated to have a super-professional company image like most companies strived to have in the 90s and 2000s. Now, people want the following:

Transparency Marketing Can Grow Your Company

As we mentioned in the previous point, suits and ties are out, and “old-school” sales methods are long gone. What's in is a more relaxed, creative, fun outlook on business.

It's important to look at this point in terms of growth. Old-school professionalism is boring, while real people marketing real companies in a transparent way is fun and engaging. Because transparency and honesty in marketing are in, your company seems dull and antiquated when you don't promote yourself that way. And if you seem outdated and boring, no one is going to want to do business with you.

To grow your company and succeed in business, you need to get clear on your branding, and you need to make sure your branding is personable. When it is, people will read your stuff, share your stuff, and link to your stuff. When you get people engaged like that, your company is sure to grow.

People Expect Transparency

People aren't as trusting anymore. They want authenticity, ethics, and transparent companies and leaders. They demand it because they aren't kept in the dark anymore.

Consumers are smart. How could they not be with all the smart devices they are using? They can get whatever information they want online, and bloggers, YouTubers, and product reviewers certainly make their opinions known. So if a company is trying to hide anything, it's not likely they'll get away with it.

Expect that people will discover your faults, and be transparent about it. Give them what they want and be real.

Transparency Helps Retain Customers

When companies are transparent and trustworthy, their customers stick around. According to the 2016 Label Insight Transparency ROI Study, 94% of consumers “are likely to be loyal to a brand that offers complete transparency.”

Furthermore, 81% said they would “consider a brand's entire portfolio of products if they switched to that brand because of transparency.” But that's not all—73% said “they would be willing to pay more for a product that offers complete transparency in all attributes.”

By being transparent, you'll gain a following of loyal customers who will want to continue doing business with you because they trust you.

How to Be Transparent

Sometimes, being transparent can feel like it's the opposite of what a company (or an individual) should do. After all, it's pretty nerve-wracking to be so open and intimately admit your faults. But it's not always about that, and we've put together six tips to help you start operating in a more transparent way:

Give Examples From Your Own Experience

When you provide examples from your own experience, you build immediate trust and demonstrate transparency. Here are some ways you might go about that:

Be Specific in Statements About Your Company

Instead of saying you're the best at something, explain why. It's hard to believe when a company claims they are the best, and people want proof. Here are some examples of how to do this:

Turn Your Mistakes Into Positives

Admit when you mess up and turn it into a positive by expressing what you can do or how you are making it right. Positive statements about yourself are hard to believe, but negative statements are accepted right off the bat.

So use honesty and don't hide your weaknesses, and the good news is that once your shortcomings have been recognized, the positives are easier to believe.

The worst thing you can do is try to hide mistakes in business. Instead, view them as part of the journey to growth and share them from that perspective. Then, others will accept them and come to like you and your company even more because you are providing them with a way to learn from your mistakes, while at the same time being more relatable.

Leaders Need to Lead Transparency

Employees follow their leaders, so leaders must be transparent themselves, and they must cultivate an atmosphere of transparency within the organization.

Furthermore, being transparent also means that you are transparent with your employees by demonstrating that you trust them and that you willingly share information with them about the company.

Be Ultra Clear About What Your Customers Can Expect

Consider showing breakdowns of the costs involved with your products or services, as well as detailed product descriptions that make it very clear what consumers can expect to receive.

The clothing company Everlane does both of these exceptionally well, and their growth has been phenomenal as a result. When you go to any of their product pages, they provide a “Transparent Pricing Breakdown,” and their product descriptions leave no questions unanswered. Plus, their tagline is “Our way: Exceptional quality. Ethical factories. Radical Transparency.”

Use White Hat Marketing Tactics

At Viral Solutions, we make it a priority to familiarize ourselves with Facebook advertising rules. Facebook will literally ban an advertiser for LIFE if they don't follow their rules, and many other companies follow the same kind of guidelines.

For example, Google no longer stands for SEO tactics that are simply trying to trick the system—they want their users to obtain the info they seek right away, not fall on to a listing that isn't helpful and is only on page one because it tricked its way there.

We're careful to run Facebook ads that don't make outrageous claims, not just to follow the rules but because we don't believe in tricking people. We’re big believers in white hat marketing, and we encourage others to do the same.

Your Takeaways & Action Steps


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About Jon Maday

Jon recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh with a degree in marketing and economics. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and loves his Chicago sports teams. Jon found his passion for marketing while in college and decided to pursue a career in the digital side of marketing. He is an eager learner and started with Viral Solutions as an intern before accepting a position upon graduation. Outside of work, Jon enjoys hanging out with friends and watching sporting events.