What the End of Facebook Partner Categories Means For Advertisers


Facebook recently announced multiple advertising data usage restrictions it plans to implement in the coming weeks. The biggest change is the elimination of Partner Categories, a valuable tool enabling brand marketers to target Facebook users with offline purchase data.  

Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and in the midst of consumer backlash, Facebook is working to limit vulnerability to their consumer data, and remove applications which share consumer data outside its walls. This includes data matching for 3rd party data targeting.

As a native advertising marketplace reaching 220MM consumers, Nativo believes in the power of in-feed, non-disruptive advertising on the open web. In the wake of Facebook’s announcement, here are three key observations and implications for brands:

1. Brands Need to Expand 1st Party Data Practices

Given Facebook’s 3rd party data restrictions, recent browser updates to limit cookies and GDPR implementation; brands cannot be as reliant on 3rd party data targeting. The shift makes brands’ 1st party data segments even more valuable.

Nativo is a firm believer in helping our clients enhance their 1st party data set by enabling access to audiences who engage with their branded content across the Nativo marketplace. Not only is this an easy way for a brand to quickly accumulate 1st party audiences, but when tested, these users convert just as well as users who go directly to the brand’s own website.

2. Work Outside of Facebook or BYOD to Leverage 3rd Party Audiences

Without the option to use Partner Categories, brands now need to acquire data separately through their DMP, and upload or match those segments into Facebook as a custom audience. Although Facebook has a wealth of data on its own, it was still reliant on 3rd parties for offline behavior and purchase data. In contrast, Nativo makes 3rd party data segments readily available across our premium marketplace, through our partnership with Oracle. The cost of data is included with a managed service media spend.

3. Trust and Context Are as Important as Ever

Facebook’s restrictions on 3rd party data, as well its previous decision to highlight friends’ posts instead of news articles, underscores a key consumer trend: Consumer trust in social media is at an all-time low. A recent Digital Content Next survey revealed 89% of consumers prefer content on publisher sites or apps, and feel there is too much low-quality, non-credible content on social media. Nativo believes in the power of context,
aligning branded content with relevant editorial in premium publisher environments, and allowing brands to drive quality engagement with their creative assets such as content, video or the substance of their brand sites.

Also available on the blog: Facebook’s Data Predicament

Interested in Learning More?

As a media partner who strongly believes in brand-safe environments, contextual relevance and brand data ownership; Nativo works with marketers to deliver brand lift across the consumer journey, and support 1st party data collection and enhancement.

As you review your marketing plan, consider us a resource on this recent Facebook announcement, as well as your data strategy and options. Please fill out the form if you would like to request a meeting. We will work with you to put together a solid plan for the future.