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Critical Update: Facebook Ads Policy Change in Europe

Published on: November 17 2023 by Ben Heath

Critical Update: Facebook Ads Policy Change in Europe

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Changes to Facebook Ads in Europe
    1. Applicability to EU Advertisers
    2. Privacy Settings Prompt
    3. Personalized Ads vs Generic Ads
    4. Comparison with iOS 14 Prompt
    5. Impact on Ad Performance
  3. Adjustments for Advertisers
    1. Supplementing Data with UTMs and Conversions API
    2. Evaluating Core Markets
    3. Planning for Potential Rollout to other Countries
  4. Ad Performance Monitoring and Adjustments
  5. Beneficiary and Payer Information for EU Ad Sets
    1. Setting Up Beneficiary and Payer Information
    2. Relevance for Same Business and Agency Cases
  6. Conclusion

Facebook Ads in Europe: Understanding Recent Changes and Advertiser's Perspective

Recently, there have been significant changes to Facebook ads in Europe. These changes have implications not only for advertisers based in the EU but for anyone running ads targeted towards EU countries. In this article, we'll explore these changes, their impact on ad performance, and how advertisers can adapt to them to ensure continued success.

Changes to Facebook Ads in Europe

  1. Applicability to EU Advertisers: The new privacy settings prompt introduced by Facebook applies to all advertisers targeting users within EU countries, regardless of their geographical location. This implies that even if you're based outside the EU, you need to comply with these changes when advertising to EU audiences.

  2. Privacy Settings Prompt: Facebook is actively asking users within the EU to review their privacy settings related to ads. Users are prompted to decide if they are comfortable with being tracked and having their online activities observed by meta (formerly Facebook). This prompt is increasingly appearing in the native language of each EU country to enhance user understanding.

  3. Personalized Ads vs Generic Ads: Facebook's pitch for tracking user activities is to provide more personalized ads based on their online behavior. Users opting to be tracked are promised ads tailored to their interests, while those avoiding tracking receive generic ads similar to traditional TV advertising. However, it remains to be seen how many users will choose to be tracked, echoing the iOS 14 prompt experience where only a small percentage agreed to tracking.

  4. Comparison with iOS 14 Prompt: The privacy settings prompt for Facebook ads in Europe shares similarities with the iOS 14 prompt. However, this EU prompt is applicable to all devices, not limited to iOS users. The results from the previous iOS prompt indicate that a large majority of users tend to opt out of tracking.

  5. Impact on Ad Performance: While it is challenging to predict the exact impact on ad performance at this stage, it is essential for advertisers to prepare. The iOS 14 changes did not cause the doomsday scenario predicted by some experts. Facebook and Instagram advertising continues to thrive with more money spent on ads than ever before. Advertisers should expect a similar situation in Europe, with some users opting out of tracking, potentially affecting the data available for campaign optimization.

Adjustments for Advertisers

Adapting to the changes in Facebook ads in Europe requires strategic adjustments for advertisers. Here are some considerations:

  1. Supplementing Data with UTMs and Conversions API: In situations where the available data is not ideal due to tracking limitations, advertisers can resort to alternative methods such as using UTMs (Urchin Tracking Modules) and the conversions API. These additional techniques can compensate for the potential data gaps and help improve campaign performance.

  2. Evaluating Core Markets: Advertisers need to assess whether advertising in the EU is a core market for their business. If EU markets are peripheral and the main focus lies elsewhere, reallocating advertising efforts to non-EU locations might be a viable option. However, if the EU is a crucial market, advertisers should continue targeting it and explore alternative ways to optimize campaigns despite limited tracking data.

  3. Planning for Potential Rollout to other Countries: Given the global shift towards online privacy, it is likely that similar tracking limitations will be implemented in other countries. Advertisers should proactively plan and prepare for potential changes in regions outside the EU. By anticipating these developments, advertisers can respond effectively and minimize any negative impact on their campaigns.

Ad Performance Monitoring and Adjustments

Advertisers should closely monitor ad performance in different locations affected by the privacy settings prompt. Keeping a vigilant eye on changes in key metrics will enable advertisers to make timely adjustments. If there is a noticeable drop in performance in EU-targeted ad sets compared to non-EU ones, consider the following actions:

  1. Diverting Budget: Shifting budget from EU-targeted ad sets to regions unaffected by the prompt can help mitigate the impact of limited tracking data.

  2. Stricter Tracking Policies: Emphasize approaches that do not rely heavily on tracking, such as optimizing campaigns for specific engagement metrics or leveraging remarketing strategies.

  3. Exploring Alternative Elements: Experiment with different ad elements that do not rely on tracking, such as compelling copy or visually appealing creatives, to engage and convert users.

It is crucial to remember that the impact of these changes is subjective and can vary depending on your specific circumstances. Therefore, continuous monitoring and agile adjustments are essential to maintain advertising effectiveness.

Beneficiary and Payer Information for EU Ad Sets

With the recent changes, Facebook requires advertisers running EU-targeted ad sets to provide beneficiary and payer information. Here's what you need to know:

  1. Setting Up Beneficiary and Payer Information: When creating or editing ad sets targeted at EU countries, you will encounter a new beneficiary and payer section. This section prompts you to indicate the person or organization benefiting from the ad set and the person or organization paying for it. Typically, this will be the same business, but certain cases may involve different parties.

  2. Relevance for Same Business and Agency Cases: If the business running the ads is the same as the beneficiary and payer, you can select the appropriate option or choose freeform text to reflect this alignment. However, if an agency is involved and handles payment on behalf of the advertiser, different options need to be selected to accurately represent the beneficiary and payer.

Adhering to this requirement ensures compliance and avoids potential account suspension resulting from incorrect information. It is a simple process that can be easily completed in the account settings section.

Conclusion

While the changes to Facebook ads in Europe present challenges for advertisers, they are by no means insurmountable. By adapting strategies, supplementing data, and closely monitoring ad performance, advertisers can continue to leverage the EU market successfully. Additionally, being aware of potential future rollouts and preparing in advance will help advertisers navigate similar changes in other regions. Remember, this change is an opportunity to explore alternative methods and optimize campaigns without solely relying on tracking data. Stay informed, agile, and proactive to stay ahead in the evolving landscape of online advertising.

Highlights:

  • Changes to Facebook ads affect advertisers targeting EU countries.
  • Users in the EU are prompted to review privacy settings regarding ads.
  • Personalized ads require user consent for ad tracking and tailored content.
  • Impact on ad performance is uncertain but can be mitigated with adjustments.
  • Advertisers can supplement data with UTMs and conversions API.
  • Evaluating core markets helps decide on advertising priorities.
  • Advertisers should plan for potential rollout to other countries.
  • Monitoring performance and making adjustments are crucial.
  • Ad sets targeting EU countries require beneficiary and payer information.
  • Adherence to beneficiary and payer requirements ensures compliance.

FAQ:

Q: How do the recent changes to Facebook ads in Europe affect advertisers outside the EU? A: The changes apply to all advertisers running ads targeted at users within EU countries, regardless of their location. Advertisers outside the EU need to comply with these new requirements when targeting EU audiences.

Q: Can advertisers still track user activities on Facebook ads in Europe? A: Users now have the option to choose whether they want to be tracked, impacting personalized ad delivery. Advertisers will have limited access to tracking data, which may affect campaign performance.

Q: What can advertisers do to compensate for the limited tracking data in Europe? A: Advertisers can supplement tracking data with alternative methods such as UTMs and conversions API. These techniques can provide additional insights to optimize campaigns and improve performance.

Q: Will similar changes be rolled out to other countries? A: It is evident that online privacy is becoming increasingly important worldwide. Hence, it is likely that tracking limitations similar to those in Europe may be implemented in other countries in the future. Advertisers should be prepared to adapt their strategies accordingly.

Q: How can advertisers ensure compliance with beneficiary and payer requirements for EU ad sets? A: Advertisers need to accurately indicate the person or organization benefiting from the ad set and the person or organization paying for it. This information can be provided within the beneficiary and payer section in Facebook's ad set settings.

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