After removing custom audience reach estimates in March last year, Facebook last week announced that it is bringing back the feature.
Last year, researchers at Northwestern University found a “unique bug” in Facebook’s Custom Audiences that could have allowed potential advertisers to infer several targeting attributes of people in audiences they upload. As a result, last March, Facebook announced that it had removed reach estimates for all types of custom audiences.
In an update on July 2, Facebook explained that it is reinstating custom audience reach estimates, after “working with researchers to improve the security” of the custom audiences reach estimate feature. The post also explained that Facebook focused on three key areas to work on fixing any potential misuse: privacy, protection and new usage restrictions.
The new restrictions include rate limits to the number of audiences or API calls that any account can have. The rate limits are not expected to impact advertisers but should prevent any potential misuse.
This case is important as it shows that Facebook’s bug bounty program is working well and especially in ads – an area that the company obviously wants to keep clean.
Many advertisers will be happy to have reach estimates back as they are a useful tool to easily manage campaign reach estimates, bidding, and budgets, and provide them with more precision when planning campaigns.