Just over a month ago now, Facebook announced that they’d be removing their third-party partner categories feature from Business Manager. The decision follows recent concerns surrounding Facebook’s handling of user data, and allows the company to demonstrate its commitment to increasing the transparency of their data-related activity.

The timeline

Facebook rolled out the changes over a fourteen day period:

  • From May 11th, marketers in the UK were unable to select partner categories’ data in their campaign creation
  • From May 25th, Facebook no longer delivered partner categories built on audiences from the UK, Germany and France, and disallowed campaigns from serving third party data to UK audiences

Remaining targeting options

We imagine marketers will be beginning to place much more emphasis on first party data and custom audiences will play a much greater role in social targeting strategies, from re-targeting website visitors to uploading CRM.

Creating lookalike audiences from campaigns that are already using third party data remains an option for marketers to consider. This gives companies a chance to identify audiences with similar behaviours and interests to the third party data audiences whose data they’re using currently. The benefit of this is that audiences will be classed as first party and will be available for use in future campaigns.

Of course, there is still the opportunity for marketers to use Facebook’s range of detailed targeting options such as demographic, interest and behaviour targeting.


Though the shutdown of third-party partner categories marks a significant restructuring of the social media marketing landscape, we see it primarily as a positive; it ensures far greater protection of online data, and the remaining targeting options are more than sufficient for generating successful marketing campaigns.

We’re keen to see how marketers continue evolving to these changes as they happen and will be sure to cover any future updates of this kind on the Fusion blog!