This POV continually updates as relevant news hits.
Julie Hurvitz Aliaga
Vice President, Social Media
Associate Director, Search & Social
With recent Facebook news, we want to assure clients that we continue to work directly with Facebook to stay on top of changes, and we will be keeping you apprised of how it affects you. While some of the moves Facebook is making will change the way that advertisers are able to engage audiences on Facebook, it’s important to note three things: 1 – The biggest implication for pharmaceutical marketers is the discontinuation of access to Acxiom (3rd Party) targets, 2 – most changes will not take effect until October 2018 and 3 – as far as we can see, changes will be relatively mild and not have a negative impact on brands. Please read on for full details and background, and we will be adding updates to this as the news progresses.
Since news broke, Facebook has been working day and night to ensure updates are being made to their privacy and data-sharing/targeting capabilities — with their user’s privacies at top of mind. We are in close communication with our Facebook partner to provide you with latest updates. Updates are in chronological order below, followed by additional background.
Facebook has announced a few changes to address critique that some of their ad practices could be seen as discriminatory. They have removed several options in targeting and will be requiring all US advertisers to complete an online educational training before placing ads. Additional detail can be seen on the Facebook blog.
In further efforts for Facebook to protect user information, many updates have been made in the last few months to Facebook and Instagram’s APIs which many advertisers, including CMI, rely on for social analytics. Essentially, this API gives advertisers a window into what people are saying and sharing within the social platforms.
What we know:
CMI will continue to stay close to these updates with all of our social suppliers and continue to deliver solutions and workarounds to ensure we are receiving meaningful data to help positively impact your business.
Facebook is extending the timing for the removal of Partner Categories targeting. This means you will be able to create, edit and duplicate campaigns containing non-EU Partner Categories until August 15. Delivery to these audiences is still planned to end on October 1st.
Custom Audiences Update: Come July 2nd, Facebook is updating the work flow for uploading and sharing Custom Audiences, which includes:
Moving forward, Facebook will provide more transparency to people about what information was used to reach them (email address or phone number) and the source of the information (if it was direct from an advertiser or with partners) via the “Why am I seeing this module?” on an ad. CMI/Compas continues to monitor changes at Facebook and will keep our clients apprised on what they need to know.
Last week, we updated you on the background of a developing story surrounding Facebook data sharing and privacy concerns. This week, Facebook took further precautions to ensure user data privacy. Below are the steps being taken by Facebook, including a timeline:
Custom Audiences: Facebook temporarily removed reach estimates for Custom Audiences after researchers from their bug bounty program identified a potential flaw in the feature which could allow advertisers to discover targeting attributes of the people in the audiences they upload. Bug Bounty is Facebook Security program, providing recognition and compensation to security researchers practicing responsible disclosure.
On 3/28/18, Facebook announced that they will remove the ability to use Partner Categories, a targeting solution that enables third-party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. This includes usage of Acxiom, an third party data provider to Facebook, offering the ability to target verified HCPs through their third-party agreement and data share. Facebook shared the following timeline for this new update:
The biggest implication for pharmaceutical marketers is the discontinuation of access to Acxiom (3rd Party) targets.
A detailed look at this developing story:
No doubt you’ve been seeing a lot of news about Facebook this week, including stories about use of the company’s collected data and changes to the algorithm. This POV will address the latest news and how it may impact pharma marketers.
Cambridge Analytica, a data-analytics and messaging company, is accused of deceitfully collecting millions of Facebook profiles and creating psychographic algorithms to influence the 2016 Presidential election. Personal Facebook account information was accessed through users who clicked on a quiz/survey (*app) and unknowingly gave research company, GSR, access to their friends’ Facebook profiles. Cambridge Analytica then purchased this data from GSR, at which point the unethical data mining practices were brought to light and Facebook made aware (in 2015), eventually asking Cambridge Analytica to delete the GSR data from their platform, which they apparently didn’t. Over the weekend Christopher Wylie, a data scientist who helped build out Cambridge Analytica’s psychographic algorithms, officially came forward and went into detail on how they used psychographic information to determine optimal messaging and placement in order to sway voters.
*Information was obtained by those who participated in a 3rd party app survey
Facebook has now taken a hard stand and has blocked access for all the guilty parties, while Mark Zuckerberg took to Facebook to make a public statement. We reached out to our Facebook reps and they have emphasized the following:
On the afternoon of March 23, 2018, Facebook provided an additional update to agency partners:
“We know we need to do more, and we are making further changes to our product, policies and processes. We’re going to set a higher standard for how developers build on Facebook, and what people should expect from them and, most importantly, from us,” the memo stated. You can see the memo in full here.
Additional Important Background
It’s worth noting that in addition to Facebook’s response to this situation, we have already seen Facebook take strides in other areas when it comes to advertising transparency to users on the platform. Beginning earlier this year, Facebook revoked the privilege for advertisers to promote in the Right Rail without having a Facebook page/profile, so users can know where the ads are coming from. Facebook is currently testing a new section on a brand page where users can see all ads stemming from the page, even if they do not fall into the ad’s intended target audience. This is set to roll out in the U.S. this summer, in advance of the mid-term elections.
All of this is occurring at the same time Facebook is riding out algorithm changes that aimed to prioritize posts and content generated by personal connections (friends and family as opposed to businesses, an update CMI/Compas shared earlier this year here and in The Scoop), to provide a better user experience. This change impacts a business’ organic reach, meaning this content will be de-prioritized from an organic standpoint, and there is and will continue to be an even greater need to rely on advertising/paid social to stay top of mind and in front of your target audience.
While Facebook is making this change knowing time spent and engagements will probably decrease, the belief that the quality of the time spent on the site would be more valuable, putting its users first.
What this Means for Pharma Marketers
At CMI/Compas we manage our clients’ campaigns with a central focus on audience behavior and preferences and includes measurement at every step of the way, enabling us to be agile and pivot when needed. Because of this, we strive to deliver successful solutions when/if updates occur with suppliers, such as this. In addition, we are committed to always collect and use data in an ethical and fully transparent way.
CMI/Compas continues to stand behind Facebook as a valuable strategic supplier. Their dedicated Facebook Health team is composed of pharmaceutical and healthcare specialists, many of whom dedicated their entire careers to the pharmaceutical industry. Our partners at Facebook understand the importance of staying compliant and ensuring every CMI/Compas client initiative stays within strict pharma guidelines.
CMI/Compas will continue to closely follow this situation and keep everyone informed as Facebook continues to refine its advertiser transparency and data privacy policies.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to our CMI/Compas Drive team with any questions or concerns.