Facebook to Offer Expanded User Data for More Targeted Ads

Facebook recently announced that it plans to expand the amount of information it provides to advertisers by including data from its billion-plus users regarding their Web-browsing habits. While the news may cause repercussions amongst Facebook users and critics in terms of privacy concerns, the move would also allow advertisers to better target their ads. The social network already allows advertisers to target users based on their activity, including “likes” and fan pages.

facebook33“More recently, Facebook has allowed advertisers to target Facebook users who visit that company’s own website, and to send Facebook a list of customers to whom they want to advertise on the social network,” reports The Wall Street Journal. “On Thursday, it said it will add users’ Web-browsing histories to the targeting formula for advertisers.”

Facebook’s advertising business generated $7 billion in revenue last year. It increased by a staggering 70 percent in the first quarter.

“Facebook probably knows more about individuals than any other online entity at this point,” said Megan Pagliuca, general manager and vice president of display media at Merkle Group. “I would argue Facebook knows more about some marketers’ customers than the marketers themselves do.”

To address user concerns regarding privacy, Facebook has introduced new user control over info that the network shares, and launched a message campaign led by a cartoon dinosaur. Users also have a means of opting out of seeing targeted ads based on their browsing habits.

“Facebook’s communicated this in a way that some people might even say, ‘This is going to be great,'” said Jonathan Adams, SVP for media at digital ad agency iCrossing.

“Adams said Facebook’s privacy controls could improve the quality of its data, if users change their list of interests,” notes the article. “He said Facebook’s move might also help advertisers target the same consumers on personal computers and mobile devices.”

“That’s something very few companies can deliver,” he suggested.

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