Facebook Shuts Down Third Party Data (Partner Categories) And What You Should Do

With Facebook getting rid of third party data a new era in ads is on the rise

Well it’s a little bit of an understatement to say “It’s time to stop relying on third party data” as that is an inevitable truth.
Come Oct 1st Facebook will discontinue all use of third party data, otherwise known as partner categories.

Here’s an official statement from facebook in the ads manager

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You know, the detailed targeting you’re all too familiar with like income level, home owners vs non home owners, etc.
All of these and more will be no more come oct 1, 2018.

So What Can You Do Now That Third Party Data Is Discontinued? 

Rely on first party data,
Your data.
We know that’s a little easier said then done so let us explain.

How To Still Market With The Discontinuation Of Partner Categories (Third Party Data)

Collect first party data
First party data is data that only you have. It’s your audience; your customers, your fans.

This is what makes it more reliable than any other data set out there. Yes you can still go to the data companies that facebook has previously partnered with yourself (Oracle Data Cloud, Experian, Epsilon, Acxiom, and BlueKai) and buy data from them to be used your ads….. But before you go down that route, or IF you go down that route – you should understand who is already buying from you. Who is your consumer?

This is where Buyer Personas come into play. We can hypothesize all day about what our target audience is, but that doesn’t necessarily fall in line with who our consumers are. Two totally different things in some instances.

You need to collect and analyze data sets about who already shows an interest in your brand / company, and why. Then use this data to revamp your pre-compiled buyer personas. Or else you’ll just be wasting marketing dollars on a group that will show little to no interest in your company. We’re not saying you have to totally throw out your original buyer personas / target audience, but what we are saying is to fully dive into the audience that already shows an interest in you.

Then, once you’ve fully established yourself there, you can go on to tackling the harder task of your wanted target audience; or you can even use your first party data to rework and add to your wanted target audience.

Third Party data is non-exclusive, it’s not data about who is already your consumer, but instead its generalized data.
More over, it’s anonymous profile data that anyone can use as it’s collected and sold by government entities, large data mining corporations, and the like.

We’re not saying not to use it if you choose to – as many businesses use it. We are however saying you shouldn’t rely on it. You should understand your consumers to the point where you know the exact outside data you need to aid in targeting those who will be most receptive to your brand – that aren’t already your consumers.

The Days Of Third-Party Data On Facebook Are Coming To An End

How To Work Around Facebook Shutting Down Third Party Data (Partner Categories)
How To Collect First Party Data


To collect first party data and truly understand your audience and their buying intent you need to have a solid web infrastructure in place. It can either be self developed by your team or an outside IT team, or you can easily implement Facebook Pixel, and Google Analytics with the extra additives and configurations needed to fully understanding your web traffic. Taking another step further, you can run a simple survey-esque post across social media – having your audience chime-in and giving you better insights into who they are. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a survey in the traditional sense, but can be an engaging post that gets your audience talking about themselves, what your brand means to them, and why they purchase from you.

Taking this to online advertising now, you can simply upload the data from your Facebook Tracking Pixel to facebook (since we’re talking about how to effectively run ads on facebook now that facebook is canceling third party data) and target ads towards people who visited your website. Then, overlap it with the data you acquired from your audience itself to hone in on exactly who you should be targeting with the ads. From there you can make a look-alike audience from your consumer list / web traffic and target people who fall in line with those who already frequent your website / purchase your products – depending on the aim of the campaign you are running (awareness & traffic VS sale conversions, etc.)

How To Reach Your Consumers Now

What consumers want from brands is a personalized experience, one that mirrors the way they interact with peers, family and friends. But one after another, brands fail to deliver.

Although, it’s good to be focused on individualized metrics, data analysis, and the like. We can’t forget that at the heart of it, marketing is about CONNECTING with your desired consumers and the public. We need to create experiences and connect on deeper level, than just number crunching and “buy now” ads, with our audiences.

It’s the brands that are able to connect who have steadily seen growth, have stayed relevant, have risen to the top of their industries, and can adapt to any market change as they know their consumers on a personal level and listen to their needs, wants, and problems; then develop methods to answer these needs.

The New Era Of Digital Marketing

With the days of easy use third party data in facebook targeting being dead, a new era in digital marketing is to take reign. One that we’ve steadily talked about on this site.

The world as a whole is having a market shift with a heavy focus on Content-based Marketing.
Where first-party data and content is king.

Use this post to show you how to reach your target audience and grow sales.
Use that post to learn how to create a bigger fb pixel / custom audience. Which coincides with this post on:

How to effectively target ads on facebook now that third party data is discontinued 

Ending Note
It’s time to focus on user experience and your own data sets. Look at who is already buying from you then use that to expand your marketing reach and tell you how to target. Draw in your old and newly desired consumers with content. Build trust then go for a sale.



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