Facebook And Your Data… Is It All Bad?

Facebook And Your Data… Is It All Bad?

Rain and summer, burgers and health, Facebook and data… don’t worry, you don’t have to guess the next two words in the sequence – these are just examples of two words that are rarely married together in a positive and upbeat sentence.

While we’d love to dive into the granularity of a burger’s calorie content, we are an integrated communications company so we’re going to have a look at the last two words on that list.

Facebook and data (your data specifically) – there’s not a great deal of positivity out there. Don’t feel like you need to take our word for it, type ‘Facebook and your data’ into Google and see what comes up.

Okay fine, we’ll just tell you a collection of headlines on the first page.

• ‘What you don’t know about how Facebook uses your data’ (NY Times)
• ‘All the ways Facebook tracks you – and how to limit it’ (Wired)
• ‘9 terrifying ways Facebook uses your data’ (Privacy Australia)
• ‘Facebook’s data-sharing deals exposed’ (BBC News)

Ouch, feel that venom.

You have to scroll down to page 8 of the aforementioned Google search before you find a partially positive result (courtesy of howtogeek.com). You get the picture.
It’s not a surprise either. Remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal? A one sentence summary in case you forgot: Facebook harvested the data of up to 87 million Facebook profiles to provide assistance to Donald Trump’s successful presidential campaign in 2016, while, closer to home, Brexit was thought to have been influenced but never proved.

There have been countless other articles about supposed misuse of data and various breaches – for those, you really can Google yourself.
The bottom line is that, yes, Facebook owns a complete treasure trove of your data. Via the terms of you signing up to the platform, they are pretty much at liberty to use it as they please. And they do.

And still, is this such a terrible thing? If you’re an SME with a brilliant product with limited marketing resource, then no, it’s far from terrible. Similarly, if you’re a consumer that likes buying a brilliant product from an SME business with limited time to seek them out, then no, it’s far from terrible for you either.


Rewind back to a world before Facebook, ahh simplicity. The biggest platform for businesses to advertise their product would have been through the ad break on Channel 4 during a summer’s evening as you awaited Brian Dowling’s punishment for discussing nominations outside of Big Brother’s diary room. Gripping.

This platform was taken by the big hitters; the likes of Coca Cola, McDonald, Nike etc… small companies had to rely on magazine inches, local billboards and WOM (this meant actual spoken words too, not just sharing stuff online – scary thought).

Right, back to 2021 you come, what’s the first thing you do when those adverts disrupt Bake Off? You open Facebook and start scrolling – this is now the platform and the playing surface has been levelled when it comes to getting something under your nose…. we’re talking about Facebook Ads.

Of course, you’ll still see the big hitters on Facebook too, and Instagram by extension. However, with the very next swoosh of your finger, you’re just as likely to see a small company appear with a product that is relevant to you. Forget 5-minute ad slots on TV every 15 minutes – the average Facebook user spends 58 minutes on the platform per-day, for Instagram it’s 53.

So, how do small companies reach their relevant audience?

Well, here are a few examples of the ‘user interests’ that you can use in Facebook Ads Manager to target somebody.

• Peperami, those sticks of pork
• Benidorm, the TV show
• Biodegradation
• Lisa Kudrow, the actress

Yes, these are all ‘interests’ of the author of this article (Facebook has over 400 interests tagged to me alone, much of them as niche as the above). These interests are all picked up through my own search history, consumption history and engagement history online (aka MY DATA) and, you know what, they are spot on.

So you see, this is how smaller companies can get their product out there to a relevant audience – rest assured there will be an interest that matches every B2C business in the country. A small but niche audience is relatively easy to get in front of, and it ensures minimal wastage from your marketing budget.

This is merely scratching the surface, there is a whole arsenal of Facebook tools that can be utilised by savvy marketers to out-manoeuvre wealthy competitors.

Here are some stats that you won’t find by looking at the first page of the ‘Facebook and your data’ Google search results.

• ⅔ of Facebook users visit a local business Page at least once a week
• An average Facebook user clicks on 12 ads per month
• 72% of B2C marketers reported that Facebook was their top social advertising channel
• Although difficult to summarise in one stat, the benchmark average conversion rate for a Facebook ad campaign is between 9-10%

Guess what fuels those stats? It’s Facebook and your data. See, It’s not all bad.

If you’d like someone to demystify audiences, paid advertising or even just explain where you should start with optimising your digital presence, get in touch today. We can discuss your needs and make a plan to help you create better business.

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