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Custom audience targeting: controversial or clever?

Both Google’s customer match and Facebook’s custom audiences allow advertisers to securely upload CRM data into the Google and Facebook buying platforms in order to anonymously use the data to create and refine their targeting pools.

There has been plenty of recent media coverage on customer match and custom audiences in relation to data protection and safety around these features. Therefore it is worth exploring in more detail as it pertains to client campaigns in relation to these features.

Essentially, European regulators have accused Google, Facebook and Twitter of violating privacy rules and breaching data protection, leading to ongoing legal action and hefty fines. Facebook is being sued for breaching privacy laws due to personal data that had been sent to the US. However, since this increased criticism and lawsuits, seven principles have been set up by the EU to ensure companies are complying with the EU Data Protection Directive. As it is now, customer match and custom audiences do comply with EU law. The seven principles are outlined below:

  • Subjects whose data is being collected should be given notice of such collection.
  • Subjects whose personal data is being collected should be informed as to the party or parties collecting such data.
  • Once collected, personal data should be kept safe and secure from potential abuse, theft, or loss.
  • Personal data should not be disclosed or shared with third parties without consent from its subject(s).
  • Subjects should be granted access to their personal data and allowed to correct any inaccuracies.
  • Data collected should be used only for stated purpose(s) and for no other purposes.
  • Subjects should be able to hold personal data collectors accountable for adhering to all seven of these principles.

All Response Media Viewpoint

In addition to adhering to the seven principles, we follow the tightest data privacy and protection directives. This ensures that when activating these initiatives for our clients, media suppliers confirm that the data that is uploaded onto their platform is ‘hashed’, meaning that it is not possible to break down the different user details from these lists once uploaded.

We restrict and control client customer data and clients are encouraged to anonymise customer data before uploading that data with us. In terms of customer matching and custom audiences, we are currently using this data to:

  • Exclude existing customers from clients’ marketing activities
  • Target specific customer segments with specific messaging
  • Maximise cross-sell opportunities
  • Profile customer segments, creating and serving ads specifically to ‘lookalike’ or similar audiences to that which has been uploaded.

Across ARM, we have clients utilising customer match and custom audiences across different verticals. Customer match and customer audiences have for some clients become their main targeting line: after testing several different targeting options, these approaches have been seen to drive the highest conversion rate and lowest CPA out of all digital channels. If you would like more information on this subject, please don’t hesitate to contact us.