By: Samantha Bedford

Whether you’re utilizing your email list to create Customer Match audiences in Google, or creating a Custom Audience on Facebook, an often overlooked component of those programs is regularly scrubbing your targeting list for people who have opted out of receiving communications from your company.

Wait, What?
Take a look at the applicable terms of service pertaining to Facebook’s Custom Audiences.

What does that legalese mean? It means that if you’re utilizing Custom Audiences for your Facebook advertising efforts, you need to be scrubbing your Custom Audiences for opt-outs with the same regularity as your email campaigns.

What About Google Customer Match?
Technically, the Google Customer Match terms of service don’t explicitly call out opting people out of receiving marketing messages (might be a good idea to consult a lawyer on that one to be sure) from you within the context of Customer Match ads, however, you are still bound by the Privacy Policy that customers agree to when they sign-up to receive email notifications from your company.

Respect for the User
While Google’s policy might be a bit more technically lenient than Facebook’s it still stands to reason that as marketers, we are trusted with an immense amount of data on the people that have transacted with the companies that we work with. As a result, marketers must take a moment to remind themselves that on the other side of those endless spreadsheets of names, email addresses, phone numbers, etc. are people. People who have actively raised their hand and let us know that they don’t want to receive marketing communications from us should be respected.

From a business perspective, this makes good sense too. If someone has actively disengaged with the brand, they’re a wasted impression who will likely not click-through and convert. In the abstract, this isn’t a problem. One person isn’t going to sink the campaign, however, in the aggregate, over time, a poorly maintained customer data file will sink that campaign. This is particularly a risk if you start creating lookalike audiences based off bad data. If your customer file is full of people that have opted-out, you run the risk of modeling and targeting your efforts towards your worst customers, not your best.

Certainly, we cannot guarantee that people who have opted out won’t see any advertisements for your brand. For instance, they may be doing a relevant Google search and might be exposed to your search ad, or they might see a demographically targeted ad on Twitter advertising your company. These situations are impossible to avoid and you can’t opt out individual people from a display campaign, but you certainly can make sure that you’re not potentially adversely making an impact on their perception of your brand with bad list hygiene.

In short, as with regularly showering, washing your hands, and generally trying to keep the grime at bay, regular list hygiene is important to ensuring the overall health of your marketing efforts.

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