Jake Fichman
Founder of Goldfish Marketing Agency | Government Media Advisor

EU ties Meta’s Hands on Paid Targeting

Image by Jakob Owens (unsplash)

Meta is set to implement a new approach in the EU, requiring users to give their consent to receive targeted advertising. This change has the potential to curtail marketers’ ability to customize ads on Meta’s platforms.

Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, is making a significant change in its approach to targeted advertising for users in the EU. In an effort to prioritize user privacy and comply with regulatory rulings, Meta will now seek consent from EU users before showing them personalized ads. This move could have far-reaching effects on marketers, limiting their ability to use data-centric strategies and highlighting the need for trust-based engagement.

The decision to change the legal basis for data processing comes after a ruling from Ireland’s Data Protection Commissioner (DPC), which acts as Meta’s chief regulator in the EU. The DPC ordered the company to reassess how it targets ads based on users’ data. While the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has stated that the decision excludes the UK, it is closely monitoring the situation to assess its impact on information rights in the country.

For marketers, this shift underscores the need to reasses data-centric strategies and evaluate trust-based engagement with consumers. This change in Meta’s approach echoes the impact of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency (ATT) feature, introduced in 2021. With ATT, users have to opt in to tracking for each individual app.

On average, app tracking was opted into less than 38% of the time in the second quarter of 2023 (Adjust). Privacy activists, like those at the Irish Council for Civil Liberties, believe that users are likely to reject targeted ads on Meta if given the choice.

While the shift to consent-based targeting may pose challenges for advertisers, it also presents opportunities for innovation. As marketers adjust to the new rules, they will need to revisit classic marketing disciplines such as segmentation, targeting, and positioning. Emphasizing genuine connections with consumers and leveraging first-party data will be key to creating successful campaigns in this evolving landscape.

Moreover, as Meta’s ad business heavily relies on advertising revenue, this change in approach may impact the company’s financial performance. In 2022, advertising alone accounted for more than 95% of Meta’s revenue.

In conclusion, Meta’s move to seek consent for targeted advertising marks a pivotal moment in the digital advertising world. It signals a shift away from data-centric strategies and highlights the importance of engaging authentically with consumers.

As the advertising landscape continues to evolve, marketers will need to navigate these changes to remain relevant and successful in the ever-transforming digital world. Meta’s decision may be just the beginning of a broader shift towards prioritizing user privacy and fostering more authentic brand-consumer relationships.

About the Author
Jake Fichman, a professional in the field of international communications and strategic messaging, holds positions as the Founder and CEO of Goldfish Marketing Agency and serves as International Media Advisor to the Prime Minister's Office in Israel. Making Aliyah from the United States in 2013 as a lone soldier, Jake's expertise centers on digital marketing, branding, website development, and performance advertising cross borders and cultural boundaries. As the Founder and CEO of Goldfish Marketing Agency, Jake has established an award-winning agency that excels in providing comprehensive marketing solutions. Under his guidance, the firm has garnered acclaim for its innovative approaches, driving the success of diverse clientele on both domestic and global scales.
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