Updated: Jan 31, 2021
Google and Facebook both announced rollouts of major changes recently that will likely hit advertisers, businesses of all sizes, and digital marketing firms with some shifts.
Facebook has long been criticized for its extensive use of customer data. A limited rollout of a new program speaks to these criticisms, allowing users to block advertisers from using their off-Facebook activity for remarketing purposes.
Google, meanwhile, will implement changes to its advertising platform in September 2019. As of mid-September, PPC managers will no longer have the option to choose accelerated ad delivery campaigns (except for video and display campaigns). While there’s a method behind Google’s madness, this change has sparked critique from some marketing managers, who feel that control is being wrested from them by Google’s automated system.
But what do these changes mean for you, your approach to content marketing in 2020, and your potential profits? Read on to learn more about these changes and if they’ll affect your company’s optimal marketing strategy or ultimate bottom line.
Facebook’s Changes: Third-Party Data Usage By Advertisers
Excessive gathering and use of customers’ personal data is a hot-button issue in terms of ethical discussions around content marketing in 2020. Partly in response to widespread criticism about Facebook’s use of data to target customers for advertisers, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in 2018 that the company would soon be taking steps to limit advertisers’ use of off-Facebook activity data.
This year, Zuckerberg is making good on that promise with a limited release of the Off-Facebook Activity Tool for users. Users who choose to use the tool will be able to prevent advertisers from using their off-Facebook data, such as purchases on e-commerce sites, search engine use, clicks, downloads, and web surfing, to remarket products and services to them.
While some advertisers are frustrated by the announcement, many users have come out in support of the changes, saying that it will give users more control over their Facebook experience and the use of their personal data.
It’s important to note that the tool won’t prevent advertisers from using Facebook-specific customer data to target potential buyers, so it shouldn’t throw your campaign strategy entirely for a loop. This data includes video views, filling out forms, and other forms of engagement with your brand. It also includes basic personal information, such as individual demographics (age, location, gender, and the like) and interests. All of this crucial data will still be up for grabs by advertisers. At the time of the announcement, Facebook representatives (Google’s Chief Privacy Officer (CPO) Erin Egan and the company’s current Director of Product Management, David Baser) expressed some concerns that the company’s advertisement profits could slow down in response, especially because content marketing in 2020 is so hyperfocused on customer data.
But personal information about demographics and interests, as well as on-Facebook activity data, is useful enough that it might not affect your overall bottom line as long as you employ strategic Facebook ad targeting tactics.
Google’s Changes: Accelerated Delivery is Slowing Down
Some PPC managers are unhappy about a newly rolled-out change at Google that will limit the use of the accelerated ad delivery option for shopping and search campaigns. Starting on Sep. 17, 2019, you will only be able to select standard delivery rather than accelerated ad delivery for new campaigns (except for digital and video). On Oct. 1, meanwhile, all of your existing campaigns will also be switched permanently to standard delivery.
Google’s rationalization for the change is that it won’t affect big-budget campaigns, as accelerated ad delivery (an option that enters your campaign into as many auctions as possible until your allotted budget runs out, as opposed to spreading it out throughout the day) isn’t effective for large companies anyway.
Google’s representatives also stated that smaller campaigns are harmed by accelerated delivery, as your budget could quickly be eaten up by auctions in time zones that aren’t relevant to your targeted audience.
While some see this move as a strategic, evidence-based one by Google, others see it as another chance to wrest control from individual PPC managers and put it back squarely in the hands of Google itself.
Some also see it as a move towards greater automation by Google and less individual choice for users. So, how could Google’s changes to accelerated ad delivery change your approach to content marketing in 2020? These changes are unlikely to affect you significantly if you own a small- or mid-sized business or digital marketing firm because accelerated ad delivery likely isn’t the best option for you anyway.
If you have a larger or big-budget business, you might want to focus more heavily on SEO keyword use and adjust the times when your campaigns will be delivered to make up for the change.