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2 minute read

Just last week, Facebook released a new privacy feature called Off-Facebook Activity.

The tool lets Facebook users see and control data that apps and websites share with the platform and keep a record of the kind of information third-party apps can access about a user’s behaviour.

With this new privacy feature, Facebook users can clear the history of apps and websites that have shared their data – kind of like when you reset your browser history in Google Chrome or Firefox etc.

You can also turn off future off-Facebook activity, which tells Facebook to disconnect any information that a company has shared from your account. Or, you can selectively choose which companies you want to stop sharing your activity and it’ll stop showing you those targeted ads.

The new Facebook feature allows you to control which sites share your information – Facebook

It is important to note that Facebook isn’t deleting the data that might have been collected. Instead, it’s removing the connection between that data and a user’s personal information on Facebook (any old data associated with an account is deleted, as well).

Off-Facebook Activity


Facebook Remarketing & General Ad Targeting Takes A Hit

This update impacts real estate businesses in two big ways:

Potentially removing the ability to remarket to website visitors

  • Smart marketers who invest in social media generally have the Facebook pixel running on their website/landing pages/apps
  • When a web user visits your site, you may then follow up this user with tailored ads on the Facebook network based upon the user’s on-site browsing behaviour
  • Facebook users can now opt-out of this by manually clearing their off-Facebook activity

Reducing the effectiveness of Facebook’s wider audience profiling for ad targeting

  • In tracking Facebook users off-Facebook behaviour it helps them understand the needs, wants and desires of its user base much better
  • Disconnecting a user’s off-site behaviour, therefore, strips away valuable intelligence on users that you may have been using to target your ads more relevant to the audience
  • Therefore, also impacting interest ad targeting, i.e. People interested in ‘real estate’, etc.

The direct and indirect impact of this latest update could be profound for both real estate businesses and Facebook alike.

Facebook CFO David Wehner, speaking at a Morgan Stanley conference in February last year, noted:

“It’s one of the factors that’s contributing to our expected deceleration of revenue growth throughout the year.”

Whilst this is unlikely to prompt an exodus of ad budgets from Facebook, it does require a rethink on social ad strategy in 2020 and potentially more focus on building and nurturing a highly engaged email list for other means of targeted communications.

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