By: NATALIE TOPALIAN Digital Apr 17, 2018 Facebook’s Changes Are Making Marketers Nervous… But There’s No Need To Panic! Earlier this week, Natalie and I gave a presentation to a group of AAF West Michigan members on the topic of Social Media Sins. With all the commotion going on around Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal, we knew that this would be the perfect topic to cover—specifically, what marketers should and shouldn't do in reaction to the changes coming about from this event. While the dust is certainly starting to settle from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Commerce Committees on user data last week, the buzz amongst marketers is still loud. There is uncertainty. Third-party data is going away—but don't panic! Zuckerberg acknowledged the way they handle and collect consumer data is changing, which will impact the advertising platform. Third-party partner data is going away—and that's making brand marketers nervous. Many marketers relied on this data for hyper-targeted campaigns. But Facebook is still a strong asset for digital marketing because of its targeting abilities. The facts are that Facebook still has 2.1 billion monthly active users. 79% of Americans use Facebook—the platform with the second closest usage percentage is Instagram (which Facebook owns), at 32%. Facebook Messenger has over 1.2 billion monthly active users. Bottom line: Facebook still has a big audience. That hasn’t changed, and therefore, Facebook still needs to be part of your marketing mix. So, what should brand marketers do to adjust to these changes? Instead, marketers should be asking... How complete is our customer data? How much of our customer data sits in silos? Can we scale what we know about our customers? All of these questions are critical to audience targeting on Facebook—who, despite these changes, still has the most powerful audience-selection tools in the industry. Using what you know about your customers like demographics, interests and behaviors, you can connect with look-alike audiences. The possibilities are still great for Facebook advertising! Facebook still gives you three options for choosing your ad targeting audience: Core Audiences. Select your audience manually based on characteristics like age and location. Custom Audiences. Upload your contact list and, using the twelve available identifiers connect with customers on Facebook. Lookalike Audiences. Use your customer information to find people similar to them on Facebook. So, brand marketers just need to take a deep breath and not push the panic button. Facebook’s platform is still a relevant and important channel for marketers. Facebook’s Audience Insights still allow brands to gather and aggregate attributes about customers, such as interests and behaviors. Continue advertising on one of the world’s biggest networks. Your clients will thank you.