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Social Media Marketers: Impacts of Facebook’s Clear History

by | Oct 13, 2019 | Social Media Marketing

When it comes to Facebook marketing, big changes are in the air. Facebook’s Clear History will have a direct impact on marketers; this future addition to the platform will have an effect that will be felt by advertisers. We want to help our digital marketing friends with some helpful information regarding the effects on your campaign strategy. Managers and marketing executives might also be interested in this change to Facebook. 

When this feature is officially introduced, you will have the knowledge of what it is and how it will affect you. How to effectively learn and integrate the changes is the goal of marketers.

Why Clear History?

First mentioned at a 2018 F8 Conference, Clear History was announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg; at that time, they were working on a tool to clear the browsing history on the Facebook platform. The CEO made it clear that Facebook would let its users:

  • Disable collection history.
  • Remove data in gathered from browsing and within the app history on its platform.
  • Capture which apps and websites collect user data and when that data is accessed.

Then, it was announced just recently in a blog post that this is a tool that will control user data even off of Facebook. In other words, users can turn off the function and/or delete tracking data that is sent to Facebook after the user leaves its site. Information affected relates to:

  • Facebook
  • Pixel
  • API
  • SDK

After the user leaves Facebook and disconnects with Clear History, their data will not be used for targeting information. Advertisers who use Facebook tools to find targets, such as the widely used Custom Audience, will no longer be able to do this.

Social media marketing may be disrupted for advertisers, as privacy has become an important issue. Facebook has also announced that private communication was being planned on its other platforms that include Messenger, Instagram and WhatsApp.

Focus on Privacy

Since the Cambridge Analytica scandal, an incident that made headlines when private user data that was utilized for other purposes without permission, changes have been made. As a result, Facebook agreed to privacy policies in accordance with European and US government scrutiny and a more intense focus by regulators.

With the Clear History feature, Facebook users will be able to see a list of the sites that use Facebook tools for business. While it will be delivering a higher degree of transparency for users, Facebook’s Clear History also has drawbacks for its users. By disabling or deleting their history, a user’s advertising experience may become less relevant and more of a random situation, according to Facebook. Users may not enjoy this and may come to see Facebook advertising as spammy.

What This Means for Facebook Marketing

Not yet released, this new feature will most likely make it more difficult to target users who have cleared their history. Pixel will be affected, and users will be getting ads that are less relevant.

As an important social media marketing platform, some may question whether Facebook will remain a valuable option for marketers, with its reach to over 2 billion users globally.

On the positive side, the Clear History tool will not affect any of the analytical and measurement tools. Identifying information will be removed and websites visited will not be available, but aggregated analytics will remain. And this new feature may also encourage marketers, who will have to start from scratch, to build better and more accurate pictures of their user groups.

It is also believed that some Facebook users may decide not to utilize this Clear History feature. Some of the main reasons for this are:

  • Having to re-sign in apps after logging out
  • More random display of ads
  • A personalized advertising experience will be lost

As Facebook continues to grow, marketers will be watching how the Clear History feature affects advertising.

In Conclusion

Facebook’s Clear History feature, as announced in 2018, will soon be up and running. It will allow users of this platform to disable collection history and remove browsing and app history data.

At a time when privacy is an important issue, this feature adds more transparency to Facebook, after the Cambridge Analytica debacle. Under government scrutiny, Facebook began to make more changes regarding the privacy of their users.

For marketers, this will affect social media marketing by making targeting of audiences more difficult. Pixel, which allowed vital tracking of user actions, will be affected; advertisers may have to begin from scratch, which in the long run might drive more up-to-date user personas.

On the other hand, Facebook users may opt out of using the Clear History feature, due to the inconvenience of having to re-sign in and receiving ads that are more random and not aligned with their interests.

Facebook marketing will be different when Clear History becomes available to its users. Advertisers may benefit in the long run; strategies will definitely change, though, and this could be a valuable occurrence for both consumers and marketers.


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