The CCPA is reducing Facebook Ads retargeting reach but there may be a workaround

The California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) went into effect on January 1, 2020, and appears to be affecting Facebook Ads retargeting campaigns. However, there may be a simple workaround to restore campaign performance.

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Now that California’s consumer rights act is in effect, Facebook advertisers may need to employ a workaround to make sure their ads reach California users.

It has been two months since the California Consumer Protection Act (CCPA) went into effect, and Facebook advertisers are already seeing an impact. As early as February 20, both Abdul Nusrat and August Nobel on Twitter, reported massive drops in the share of ad spend going to California for retargeting campaigns. According to Noble, campaigns with as much as 25% of ad spend going to California last year saw the state get only 0.01% of the budget in February.

The clients at AKvertise are experiencing the same alarming results. One client had 13.42% of their budget go to California in December – that number decreased to 3.33% in February.

MonthTotal SpendCA Spend% CA
September$129,455.99$16,647.3412.86%
October$168,138.68$21,308.2012.67%
November$291,008.59$40,982.1614.08%
December$266,704.47$35,802.6413.42%
January$93,769.76$6,444.836.87%
Feb 1-23$72,997.69$2,429.163.33%

The decline is happening regardless of the total budget size. Another client whose total budget ranged from $1,900 to $760 per month during the last six months saw the amount of spend going to California drop from 8.63% in September to 0.8% last month.

MonthTotal SpendCA Spend% CA
September$1,019.81$88.048.63%
October$761.36$67.348.84%
November$1,438.96$96.766.72%
December$1,596.23$103.756.50%
January$1,912.51$41.572.17%
Feb 1-23$1,226.13$9.790.80%

The likely cause for these massive drops is the CCPA, a consumer rights protection statute granting California consumer’s the right to know how their personal information is being collected, used and sold (and to opt-out of their data being sold). The law applies to businesses that earn $25 million or more in annual revenue and buy, receive or sell the personal information of 50,000 or more consumers, households or devices. There’s a special stipulation that businesses handling the personal info of more than four million consumers will have additional obligations. Facebook has not clarified how the CCPA will affect advertisers – but, from the look of recent retargeting ad campaigns, it’s clear anyone trying to reach audiences in California will be impacted.

Facebook and Instagram Ads retargeting workaround for CCPA

This latest development could prove devastating for advertisers who depend on California audiences to reach revenue goals, but there may be a solution. Since advertisers are no longer able to create effective campaigns using Pixel-based Custom Audiences to retarget ads to California users, our agency has devised one workaround for Facebook and Instagram ads. Instead, we created new ad sets targeting only California users who have engaged with a post or ad from the client in the last 180 days.

This strategy allowed us to target users who most likely clicked on the client’s ad and visited the client website or landing page without relying on the Custom Audience website visitor remarketing filter. Less than a week after setting up these new ad sets, our clients were already seeing conversions.

We’re still in the early days of CCPA and far from knowing what the full impact will be on advertisers. With so much disruption happening, it’s more important than ever for advertisers to keep a close eye on campaign reports and monitor their ad spend distribution.

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Akvile DeFazio is the President of AKvertise, a social media advertising agency. She specializes in Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter Ads. Follow @AkvileDeFazio