Skip to main content

Personalisation vs. Privacy

The Ban on Behavioural Advertising

What’s Happened?

Meta is banned from processing personal data for behavioural advertising in all EU member states.

Behavioural advertising allows brands to tailor ads based on users’ online behaviours, demographics, preferences, and search, creating a more engaging and relevant experience. However, controversy lies in the methods used to target these behaviours, as it grants access to consumer information they may, or may not, be willing to give.

Meta has never explicitly asked users for consent to track their personal data. This raises valid concerns about privacy, as some users may find themselves unwittingly sharing more data than they’re comfortable with. The ban aims to reverse this, by ensuring users have the choice to opt out of targeted advertising based on tracking. 

Some authorities have already taken action against Meta for violating the ban, which took effect on the 7th November. However, the situation is still evolving, as Meta has been given the opportunity to challenge the decision in court on the 6th December.


Meta’s Response to the Ban

In response to the new European regulations, Meta has announced plans to introduce an opt-in/opt-out system in the form of a subscription model. This will be introduced in all EU member states, and offers users a choice: either pay a monthly fee for an ad-free, tracking-free experience, or opt-out for free platform access in exchange for tracking data.

GDPR regulators have since criticised the model, and Meta could face further legal challenges and delays before it can launch the subscription to its platforms.


What Are the Possible Outcomes of The Ban?

The fate of Meta’s subscription service, and behavioural advertising in the EU overall, is still uncertain. Even with a subscription model in place, the future of targeting will rely on the choice users make.

There are a few possible outcomes that could happen as a result of the ban:

Reduced Ad Effectiveness: With less behavioural data, advertisers may lose the ability to tailor ads to their audience. This could result in users being shown less relevant ads. 

Increased Ad Costs: If users opt-in for the subscription service, they will no longer see ads on Meta platforms. This forces advertisers into more competitive auctions as the size of ad inventory reduces. To win the auctions, advertisers may have to bid more, which could result in an increase in ad costs across the platforms.

Limited Ad Reach: If users opt-in to the subscription service, this could limit the ad reach and audience size, especially for those in niche or specific markets.

Tug’s Take On How To Prepare for the Future of Targeting

As priorities shift in favour of user privacy, it’s time marketers start thinking about exploring new ways to connect and engage with users.

One of the best ways Tug recommends to do this, is to centralise and harness the full use of businesses’ first-party data – the information collected directly from audiences through their websites, apps, and email list. Businesses can leverage first-party data to gain a deeper understanding of their audience and tailor their ads accordingly.

At Tug, we developed a solution that helps our clients own and harness their own first-party data. Our Tug CID Tool tracks and measures sales growth at each stage of the conversion funnel, without relying on third-party data sources, such as Meta. 

We help our clients leverage their first-party data in various ways, such as:

– Setting up their data to be used in the most effective way within the platform.

– Running lead generation campaigns to collect information about their audiences’ interests and preferences, then customise ads based on this information.

– Asking custom questions to collect more specific and relevant data from an audience that can then be applied to improve campaign strategies. 

To Summarise the impact of Meta’s EU behavioural advertising ban is a major shift in the digital advertising landscape. It’s becoming increasingly harder to target and reach an audience without violating user privacy and consent. 

Advertisers must learn to navigate the delicate balance between privacy and personalisation. Valuing users’ privacy is more important than ever. The future of targeting is not about tracking, but about trust.