Facebook targets ads based on actual user purchases

The social networking company has tied up with data companies to serve ads

Facebook has launched a program that will target advertisements based on what users have actually purchased, but said that advertisers will not have direct access to information that identifies the user.

"To date, advertisers have been able to show ads to people based on their expressed interests on Facebook," the company said on Wednesday in a blog post. With the introduction of new "partner categories," advertisers can also show ads to users on Facebook "based on the products and brands they buy across both desktop and mobile".

The partner categories at launch include 500 distinct groups, ranging from people who are heavy buyers of children's cereals to people who are likely to buy an entry, economy or compact vehicle in the next 180 days. The categories can be fine-tuned to, for example, let a local car dealership show ads to people living near their dealership who are likely in the market for a new car.

Partner categories use data from third parties including Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon. These companies collect data from a large number of user purchases both online and offline. Datalogix, for example, claims to have data on almost every US. household and more than US$1 trillion in consumer transactions.

No personal information is shared between Facebook, third parties or advertisers, Facebook said. "Partner categories work the same way all targeting on Facebook works. The advertiser only knows the size of the audience and can't access any information about individuals included in a category," Facebook added.

The company's revenue from advertising was US$1.33 billion in the fourth quarter of last year, which was 84 per cent of total revenue for the quarter, and a 41 per cent increase from the same quarter in the previous year. The company has been trying to offer new services to advertisers, including recently testing targeted advertisements on users' News Feeds on Facebook, based on their browsing history.

Facebook, which has been frequently under scrutiny for possible invasion of user privacy, emphasised in a separate post that the privacy of users would not be compromised by the new partner categories program. It said it set up the program "in a way that people who use Facebook can understand how this advertising works and have the ability to control it."

When he sees a Facebook advertisement, a user can click on "About this Ad" from a drop-down menu, and identify the company responsible for including him in the audience for the ad. The user can also choose to opt-out from the ad or any ads from the Facebook partner. Partners have also agreed to provide on the "About this Ad" page a comprehensive opt-out of future targeting by that company, not only on one website, but across the Web, Facebook said.

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia or take part in the CMO Australia conversion on LinkedIn: CMO Australia.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Using artificial intelligence to surprise your customers

​We have expected artificial intelligence (AI) will become part of our everyday lives for quite some time.

Katja Forbes

Founder and chief, sfyte

Is customer segmentation dead?

Ginni Rometty, the CEO of IBM, announced the death of customer segmentation five years ago saying, "The shift is to go from the segment to the individual. She might have been a bit premature for most marketers, but if customer segmentation isn't dead yet, it's definitely on life support.

Richard Taylor

Senior digital strategist, Spinach

How people buy brands

Andrew Ehrenberg was a giant in the field of marketing science. He believed scientific methods could reveal law-like patterns of how people buy. In this post, I summarise one of Ehrenberg’s most important discoveries and its implications on how people buy brands.

Kyle Ross

Strategist, TRP

What a great article. Thanks for sharing. Today Digital Marketing is the basic need for a business to survive. As online presence is very...

Ecomsolver Private Limited

Want to master digital transformation? Stop thinking about your own problems

Read more

Feeling grateful that customer led digital transformation could improve business and generate more business growth. Many companies are no...

Lilly Lawrence

How a customer-led digital transformation has helped this CMO generate $6m in incremental business

Read more

If a business games me happy than there is a higher chance I will go to them.

Martinez

The Iconic: becoming customer-focussed transformed our business

Read more

That’s a great example of surprising AR ad that went viral because it was first of its kind. Probably a similar effect to some scale can ...

Natasha Kvitka

Using artificial intelligence to surprise your customers

Read more

Hey there! it is a really meaningful post. I too have written a few similar articles about SEM, SEO, Social Media, Digital Marketing Tren...

Rohit

Digital advertising continues to dominate marketing budgets

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in