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April 4, 2018

Facebook Kicks Out Third-Party Data Vendors: How to Get Ahead with Declared Data Custom Audiences

It's a good thing that Facebook has cut our dependency on bad data. It's a nudge in the right direction, toward using custom audiences to target a more accurate audience.

Jenna Keegan

In case you missed it, Facebook has removed third-party data from its ad targeting solutions. Some are panicking, but this is actually a step in the right direction.


Third-party data is, more often than not, wildly inaccurate. It’s a good thing that Facebook has cut our dependency on bad data. It’s a nudge in the right direction; toward using custom audiences to target a more accurate audience.

Custom audiences can get even more custom

Custom audiences are better, but not perfect. When you upload a custom audience to Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn, or Twitter, your knowledge of your audience stops there. You have the email or username lists or your pixeled page audience size, but that’s about it. You don’t know what attributes the customers share. You don’t know much about their motivations, intentions, interests, and preferences – what really makes them tick. They are powerful, but limited.

So, where does declared data fit in?

Declared data is information willingly and actively given by consumers, including their motivations, intentions, interests, and preferences. It’s a type of first-party data, because once you capture it it’s yours and yours alone. It’s relevant and unique to your business.

Imagine what you could do with a custom audience that’s powered by declared data – hyper-relevant information right from your potential buyers.

Custom audiences start with tailored conversations

In order to use declared data to create custom audiences for retargeting, you first have to collect it. Luckily for marketers (but perhaps unluckily for society), people are checking their phones 150+ times a day. You can take advantage of that mobile attention to have digital conversations, at scale, with your customers.

custom audiences, retargeting

What does that actually look like?

First, you need to get people to pay attention. More than ever before, your marketing message has to be contextually relevant to have any impact. You’re now competing with texts, Snapchats, Facebook notifications, meeting alerts, and the hundreds of notifications that cross our phones each day.

Are you nodding along in exasperation? Thought so. So how can you break through that noise?

According to recent study by Accenture, 43% of U.S. consumers are more likely to buy from companies that personalize experiences, and 40% would provide personal data to companies online to get those tailored experiences.

If you approach your marketing as a way to begin a conversation with consumers, and give them an opportunity to tell you more about themselves, you create millions of opportunities to learn more about current and prospective customers and provide them with a better personalized experience. And that means higher conversion.

Instead of showing them paid social ads for your brand in general, you can upload that audience to your top-performing social network. Knowing you have that hyper-relevant audience, you can test creatives, messages, and offers directly related to your skinny jeans. Doing so makes sure you don’t have to worry that you’re showing ads to shoppers who’d never make that purchase. From the ad, you can drive shoppers to a custom landing page showing just your skinny jeans, increasing the likelihood of a purchase.

With declared data, you can create a custom audience of vacationers interested in booking Michelin-star restaurant tours or readers who want exclusive sports news. The declared data points that are most relevant to your business can be easily activated through powerful custom audiences.

Three more ways brands are using declared data to create truly custom audiences today:

  • A cruise line created a custom audience of vacationers who are booking a tropical cruise with their best friends within nine months, showing that audience only the most relevant offers and destinations.
  • When The Boston Globe used declared data to create custom and lookalike audiences on Facebook, they drove a 221% increase in paid subscriptions. First, they launched Jebbit experiences to isolate their three most-engaged reader cohorts: Sports, History, and Food + Culture. Then, they created custom and lookalike audiences on Facebook, and showed subscription offers based on the reader’s expressed, declared data interests.
  • A women’s eCommerce brand creates and maintains style profiles for its shoppers, always making sure their style preferences are up to date. By knowing the “why behind the buy” they can show them what seasonal apparel they need when the customer plans to make their next purchase.

Boden is a British-based eCommerce brand that sells women’s and children’s apparel. They launched a new line of children’s clothing for the Boden Mini brand using a mobile lookbook. The lookbook immersed shoppers in the line, allowing them to explore the clothing and indicate their preferences after perusing it. Boden then took the declared data from shoppers who liked the Boden Mini dinosaur line, and created a custom audience and lookalike audience on Facebook to advertise the line. Each consumer was targeted with the product they showed the most purchase intent for.

The results?

Using declared data to power custom and lookalike audiences drove a 10X return on ad spend and increased cart size by 33%.

How you can use declared data for retargeting

Rather than making assumptions on who might purchase the Boden Mini dinosaur line, the marketing team asked their customers who enjoyed the collection and retargeted that audience. They didn’t waste money putting those ads in front of people who were never going to buy, because they had the declared data to make better decisions and present relevant experiences in front of the best possible custom audience.

Think about your next campaign and what data you’re using to fuel it. What data points do you wish you knew to make that campaign successful? The data you need for better retargeting is right in front of you. All you have to do is ask.

The Declared Data Playbook
Jenna Keegan

Jebbit Grid Decorative
Jebbit Grid Decorative
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