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How GDPR Affects Facebook Advertising

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The European Union introduced the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25th of May this year. A move aimed at protecting the data of millions of web users around the world. GDPR was rolled out after the Cambridge Analytica Case. GDPR brought in changes and modifications in the data privacy policies for businesses across Europe. The main aim of GDPR is to provide transparency to the users.

This has also affected Facebook advertising and how brands on Facebook will use the data of Facebook users. Facebook made the announcement for the changes in the data privacy policy ahead of making the implementation obligatory for all brands, in April.

But before we go further into that, let’s look at what the GDPR entails for all the businesses in general. The primary reason for introducing GDPR was the protection of user data. This ensured that this data was not leveraged for wrongful, vested interests without the user’s consent. As a result, GDPR ensures that businesses take consent from their audiences before using or processing their data.

Most brands now float a message every time a user visits their website asking for consent. To run cookies for collecting their data for measuring website performance or other purposes. Customers can get access to more information regarding the same by clicking on links that lead them to full details about their cookies policy. This way, users get full transparency regarding the availability and use of their data.

Impact of the changes in data privacy policy on your Facebook Advertising strategy

How does this impact your Facebook Advertising strategy?

Facebook advertising also brought about changes in its data privacy policy following the introduction of GDPR. Although the GDPR had been extended in the European Union mainly, Facebook took the decision to alter their data protection policy in favour of their audiences from all over the world. As a result, Facebook will have to ask users before using their data for floating Ads to them. A non-compliance to this policy can result in hefty fines.

Facebook advertising involves the collection of user data for a variety of purposes- retargeting, custom audiences, etc. For a very long time, user data has been at your full disposal. The changes brought in by the GDPR enforce you and other brands on Facebook to ask users to review their information. You are also expected to ensure that all users review how their information is being used to generate Ads, with the option of even choosing not to share information and thus not seeing the Ads on Facebook.

As a part of the new data privacy protection rules, Facebook and therefore, you and other brands using Facebook Ads have to protect personal data. This implies getting consent before using sensitive user profile information such as religious views, sexual preferences, name, surname, etc.

The role of the Data Controller and the Data Processor

Whether you’re based out of the EU or not, from the 25th of May, 2018, all businesses are required to comply with the new user data protection policy.  On Facebook, the Facebook advertiser, that is, you, are the data controller. The reason and mean for collecting the data is decided by the data controller. Thus, you are the data collector on Facebook when you are using Facebook advertising.

The data collector is responsible for relaying out to your audience as to how you are using their data and for what purpose. You must give your users access to their data as a part of the new policy. They can also withdraw this data if it is for Ad purposes.

The data processor is the body or organization that carries out actions involving the use of user data as instructed by the data controller. Facebook plays the role of the data processor and is responsible for processing the data for the businesses using Facebook Ads service. The GDPR aims at ensuring that data processors work with data controllers to process data in accordance with the GDPR obligations.

Facebook acts as an intermediary between the users and the businesses. As such, Facebook and the different businesses using personal data are equally liable to follow GDPR rules.

Dealing With User Data After The GDPR Roll-Out

Facebook Advertisements make use of user data to target audiences, retarget potential leads, or measure conversions. While creating custom audiences, you, as an advertiser need to comply with the rules and ensure user data is not utilized without explicit consent. Sharing of user data between businesses will now go against the rules. Making use of user information for marketing and putting out Ads to users without taking their consent is no longer allowed.

Now, all the information of the Facebook users that you are employing to generate Ads to them, needs to be reviewed. You have to inform users about the information that you are using as also how you are using the information. As a part of the process, you need to ensure that you get the agreement of the users inputting their data to use.

GDPR Impact on Your Leads Ad Strategy

When you are making use of the Leads Ad on Facebook, you are getting people to fill out forms with their information. These forms already contain the personal information of your users. In this case, all businesses and Facebook have to notify users about the use of their data and obtain consent ahead of putting it to use.

New Rules For Facebook Pixel

Facebook conversion tracking rules and policies have also changed as a part of the GDPR regulations. Today, you may be using Facebook pixel for tracking conversions, tracking website traffic or collecting user data in any other way for targeting users with Ads. You will be needing to comply with the data protection policy. Each time you have a visitor on your website, Facebook pixel tracks your information for the purpose of Ad targeting. You will now have to gain the consent of users before monitoring their activity on your website.

An Overview of How To Use and Treat User Info

Facebook advertising policies will now require you to strictly follow user data protection at all times. As a brand making use of Facebook Ads, you have been using information from users to fulfil your targeting goals. The new Facebook Ad policies demand you to inform users before processing their data for Ad targeting. You also need to ensure that you gain agreement from users ahead of tracking and using their personal data.

Here’s what you need to focus on, to step up your game on Facebook:
  • Using Facebook messenger to leverage the sale of your products- Facebook messenger offers a speedy pathway to making purchases.
  • Employing Facebook messenger chatbots to facilitate the process of making appointments, purchases etc.
  • Leveraging Facebook messenger to record and store customer feedback for future follow-ups.
  • Actively responding to consumer complaints, queries and issues quickly, efficiently and in real time.
  • Sharing Ads and sponsored content through Facebook Messenger to drive your campaign.

Following the new Facebook advertising policy, Facebook floated out long consent forms to users. These contained details about the new Facebook data privacy policy. Users can skim through the form and then click on the ‘I agree’ button. This means that not much seems to have changed for the most part on Facebook.

However, websites need to inform users about the use of their information for Ads purposes. They also need to get consent before doing so. Many websites use the cookie policy notifications to bring this to the attention of website visitors.

As per the cookie policy, you must ensure that you gain agreement from website visitors before tracking their information. You must also provide them with the option of opting out of sharing their information.


At the bottom line, if going by general user behaviour and Facebook’s consent flow, it is highly likely that most users have given out clear consent to the use of their data for Ad targeting. But, at the same time, websites have to be particular about keeping visitors informed about the use of their data.  Informed consent from users is necessary before you use their data to fulfil your Advertising goals.


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