Facebook announced today, that “Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use. This is a type of interest-based advertising, and many companies already do this.” What this means for advertisers is a share in the benefits of Facebook using 3rd party website information to better optimize ads through enhanced behavioral targeting.
How does Behavior Targeting in Facebook work?
Right now, advertisers on the Facebook platform use two types of tracking pixels on their own websites to track customer behavior after they click on an ad. First is the Conversion Tracking pixel which tracks a specific goal completion page (i.e. Thank You page after completing a purchase) viewed by logged in Facebook users. The second, and more recent tracking pixel is the Website Custom Audience, which tracks all site traffic by Facebook users, and allows the advertiser to segment an audience by specific page view combinations. Both sets of data were only available to the advertiser who generated the data… until now. Starting with this announced change, advertisers can access this data from other advertisers within the Facebook platform, unless the advertiser chooses to opt out. Opting out means opting out of the program all together, so the only way an advertiser gets access to other advertiser data is to share their own data with other advertisers.
The only way an advertiser gets access to other advertiser data is to share their own data with other advertisers.
The important thing to note here is that this data can not be connected to a specific user within Facebook. Meaning, an advertiser can not connect a specific action or set of actions to any single user profile in Facebook. What they can do is target by group behavior, such as “all users who have visited my home page but have not purchased or viewed the shopping cart.” The only way to connect this to a specific user is if the user chooses to share a piece of personal information in a traceable way, such as creating an account on the advertisers website after clicking an ad.
The Trend Towards Seamless Advertising in the Facebook Newsfeed
Facebook’s Newsroom release states, “Enhancing interest-based advertising with information from websites and apps people use will improve performance for marketers by making sure your ads go to people who are the most interested in your products and services, and those who are the most likely to respond. These signals will improve our existing ad capabilities and be built into our existing interfaces. You don’t need to take any actions when creating ads or campaigns to take advantage of these enhancements.”
This is the next step in Facebook’s trend towards a newsfeed that cultivates increasingly relevant advertising for individual Facebook users, fostering an organic ad experience for finding what is relevant to them. Facebook users will be able to opt-out of their information being used in this way, or fine-tune the type of ads they are seeing through the new feature Ad Preferences. Having this user feedback to directly inform what types of ads they are wanting to see is a first for Facebook. Similar approaches have been made with ads through Hulu and other social media platforms which ask the user to either rate the ad or indicate if it is relevant to their experience. Based on the response, ad targeting becomes increasingly relevant for engaged users.
In this video released by Facebook, an employee explains how ads work and touches on the new ad preferences feature.
More details on this feature for advertisers will become available as Facebook rolls out these changes in the next month.