Will Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica Scandal Impact Home Builder Marketing?

Unless you’ve been shielding yourself from all media sources for the past few weeks, you’ve most certainly heard about Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica drama and the potential ripple effect on your reach as an advertiser. If not, we’ll spare you the gorey details in this post, but may we suggest this abridged version of the story?

The implications are severe for political entities, but what does it mean for us marketers? Here are just a few questions we’re asking to see how this evolving scandal may impact Facebook marketing for home builders.

Will I Still Be Able to Get in Front of the Right People?
Perhaps one of the biggest blows came last week when Facebook announced they would be removing Partner Categories from its audience parameters. In short, the detailed targeting layers in these Partner Categories originate from outside data mining sources and after all the bad press, Facebook put the cap on letting marketers use these factors in their campaign setup. While there are still plenty of powerful targeting options left to choose from, we’re interested to see if the quality of traffic will be affected by the loss of identifies such as “likely to move.”

How Many People Am I Reaching Anyway?
A valuable targeting tool in ad campaign setup is the use of Custom Audiences. Facebook allows you to import a list of all your potential customers and matches them to Facebook users based on the data that’s in your list (email address, phone number etc.) Historically, once you’ve uploaded the customer database, you’re provided a potential reach number. This estimate was a best guess of how many prospective home shoppers on your list matched up to active Facebook users, as well as a marketers jump-off point to setting relevant KPIs.

Well, Facebook has had a change of heart and will no longer let advertisers see this potential reach number and since we won’t know how many people in these Custom Audiences are actually eligible to see our ads, we’ll have to run a lot more test campaigns to make sure the juice is worth the squeeze.

Will My Prospects Still Use Facebook?
While some doomsday theorists predict Facebook will suffer irreparable damage from this breach of user trust, we’re a little more optimistic. You still shop at Target and Home Depot after their data disasters, right? Time heals all wounds and the average consumer depends on Facebook as a living time capsule, as well as a direct line to family, friends and the world around them. If you ask us, complete abandonment is unlikely.

However, amidst all the Cambridge Analytica fallout, we can expect users to take a closer look at their privacy settings and be a little more wary of clicking “login with Facebook.” We’re paying close attention to wherever we’ve integrated Facebook into our builder clients’ websites and marketing strategies to ensure we don’t see drop-offs in engagement and conversions.

We want to know your thoughts. Tweet us @oneilinteractiv or send us a message on Facebook.


Megan English

Megan English

Director of Strategic Services

A homebuilding industry veteran and a marketer at heart, Megan makes it her mission get to the core of what you're trying to say and then find the best way to say it online. If you can get a few leads and laughs in the process, mission complete.