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

Latest Videos

Conversations over a cuppa with CMO: Microsoft's Pip Arthur

​In this latest episode of our conversations over a cuppa with CMO, we catch up with the delightful Pip Arthur, Microsoft Australia's chief marketing officer and communications director, to talk about thinking differently, delivering on B2B connection in the crisis, brand purpose and marketing transformation.

More Videos

Great article!

Daniel Dan

What robotic process automation can do for marketers

Read more

We can deliver DIP N PAY JP54,JET A1,D2,FOB @Rotterdam CRUDE OIL CIF /DIP N PAY TANKFARM CHINA ,we have sellers that can work based on st...

JSafra Bank

Google+ and Blogger cozy up with new comment system

Read more

JP54,D2, D6, JetA1 EN590Dear Buyer/ Buyer mandate,We currently have Available FOB Rotterdam/Houston for JP54,D2, D6,JetA1 with good and w...

Collins Johnson

Oath to fully acquire Yahoo7 from Seven West Media

Read more

Great content and well explained. Everything you need to know about Digital Design, this article has got you covered. You may also check ...

Ryota Miyagi

Why the art of human-centred design has become a vital CX tool

Read more

Interested in virtual events? If you are looking for an amazing virtual booth, this is definitely worth checking https://virtualbooth.ad...

Cecille Pabon

Report: Covid effect sees digital events on the rise long-term

Read more

Blog Posts

A Brand for social justice

In 2020, brands did something they’d never done before: They spoke up about race.

Dipanjan Chatterjee and Xiaofeng Wang

VP and principal analyst and senior analyst, Forrester

Determining our Humanity

‘Business as unusual’ is a term my organisation has adopted to describe the professional aftermath of COVID-19 and the rest of the tragic events this year. Social distancing, perspex screens at counters and masks in all manner of situations have introduced us to a world we were never familiar with. But, as we keep being reminded, this is the new normal. This is the world we created. Yet we also have the opportunity to create something else.

Katja Forbes

Managing director of Designit, Australia and New Zealand

Should your business go back to the future?

In times of uncertainty, people gravitate towards the familiar. How can businesses capitalise on this to overcome the recessionary conditions brought on by COVID? Craig Flanders explains.

Craig Flanders

CEO, Spinach

Sign in