Written By Joe Lavan – VP Digital Strategy, Target Data

User privacy and how brands can utilize data has been a dominant topic not just in tech, but front-page news across the country. While there are whispers of a repeal or at least a loosening of policy – Facebook announced last week that it would shut down its partner categories section eliminating third-party targeting options for clients leveraging the social platform. These privacy concerns and how it will affect advertising on the platform have not only grabbed the attention of brands – but also Wall Street. So, what does that mean for us?

As the future of advertising on Facebook continues to evolve, the ability for brands to use their own household-level data to market on the platform remains unchanged. Also unchanged is the need for brands to reach qualified customers across such a strong performing channel as social. Facebook has opened up machine-based prospecting product (look-a-like) as a solution for new customer acquisition, but given the turmoil Facebook is going through, as well as skepticism on both the user and brand level of how these segments are built – I’m not too bullish this will be a valued solution.

That leaves us with the alternative option of audience onboarding – and I think the opportunity for Target Data and companies that have CRM expertise. Facebook’s prospecting product will be a cost-effective solution for brands – but it still has the flaws of the recently shut down third-party data marketplace given the inability to track online activity back to a user, and ultimately determine channel worthiness within a larger media mix. As you can see in the recent Acxiom release around the new Facebook changes  – the Liveramp segment of their business is still expected to grow.

I think this gives credence to the idea that offline-built addressable audiences, which are then onboarded into digital audiences, is the smartest solution for brands who wish to add or continue to target across social media.

Advertisers and agencies are already aware of the need to develop deeper people-based capabilities  – and I think the more channels that limit traditional digital targeting tactics like the use of third-party cookie data, the larger the opportunity for companies who can build qualified acquisition audiences within channel privacy constraints. Disruption is always a catalyst for opportunity – and I think that companies like Target Data who have the ability to provide easily trackable solutions and transparency around data segmentation are well set up to succeed on both existing channels, and as new addressable mediums emerge.