Meta is Developing a New ‘Basic Ads’ Product for Facebook to Counter Losses Due to Data Privacy Concerns

A basic Facebook ads product, which doesn’t use advanced targeting? How would that work?

As reported by Business Insider, Meta is reportedly developing a new, privacy-friendly Facebook ad offering which would use a lot less user data for targeting.

As per BI:

“Facebook is in the early stages of developing a product that wouldn’t rely on any anonymized personal info from users, two ad buyers from different ad agencies told Insider. “Basic ads,” as Facebook engineers have been calling it, is aimed at brand advertisers that are trying to build awareness and shape perception of products. One of the buyers, who are known to insider but spoke anonymously to preserve their relationship with Facebook, said it would be measured by basic metrics including engagement and video views.”

Engagement and video views, hey? That would theoretically mean that the performance and reach of your ad would be relative to how much engagement it generates. Create a good ad and your cost for exposure would reduce, as user interaction would help to fuel more reach in the algorithm.

Though that reach would not be as targeted – so the benefits you would glean from creating better ads would have to be counterbalanced by exposure to users who are never going to become your customers. Though some of them might, and the more reach you get, the more chances that you’ll connect with the right people, as opposed to honing in on them through Facebook’s current advanced targeting tools.

As such, Basic Ads, you would assume, would also be a cheaper Facebook ad option (though the price would be variable based on advertiser interest). The focus would be on building general brand awareness through broad audience exposure – so if you’re not looking to target any specific audience or group, you could run a basic ad, targeted to Facebook users more generally, while if you’re confident in your creative, it might also be a viable opportunity.

Though overall, these less targeted campaigns would also, you would assume, be far less effective in generating direct results. But then again, if the price is right, and you’re able to run broad-reaching campaigns, that could still be a good way to boost exposure, without utilizing more invasive user data elements.

The product is being developed in response to Apple’s ATT update, which has seen many Facebook users opt out of personal data tracking in the app. Indeed, Meta noted in its Q4 2021 update that Apple’s new privacy prompts would cost the company around $10 billion in lost ad revenue throughout 2022. Some have put that estimate even higher, while there are also ongoing effects for Facebook in not being able to build its data banks.

Years of highly publicized privacy missteps have cost the company, with many of its 2.9 billion active users taking the opportunity, when prompted, to cut off Meta’s data access.

Meta has tried to curtail the trend by highlighting how targeted advertising helps SMBs, in particular. Though clearly, those pushes have had limited impact, leaving Meta to seek out new ways to mitigate the data losses, and keep the ad dollars coming in.

Providing alternate ad options could be one avenue to take, and at Meta’s scale, they’ll likely still attract significant ad spend, even with reduced targeting.

In some ways, it’s a step back to more traditional ad offerings, with TV and magazine ads never able to offer specific targeting at the level that Meta can. But the reach of each option is still enough of a lure to keep advertisers interested, and that’s largely the same principle that Meta seems to be applying in this approach.

But we don’t have the full details as yet.

According to BI, Meta was initially hoping to begin testing its Basic Ads product in January, but it didn’t meet that deadline. The option is expected to be tested in Europe first (where it will fit in with the expansion of the EU’s GDPR push), before being made available to US brands.

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