News Feature | June 24, 2014

Facebook's New Advertising Targets Behaviors, Gives Users Control

By Trisha Leon, contributing writer

Facebook Ad Targeting Change

Social media is becoming an increasingly usable form of customer feedback. Online reviews, tweets, discussions in forums, and so on offer a wealth of product quality feedback, and companies are starting to take notice. Facebook, one of the most influential of these social media, is about to undergo changes which will allow users to have more control over what they see.

 According to an article in ITNews by Peter Sayer, Paris bureau chief for IDC news service, the new features will target ads based on the behavior of Facebook users on the site and also elsewhere, in apps and on other websites. Facebook will use the information gathered from all those sources to identify its users’ interests and match them with advertising, as it already does with information about their onsite activities.

A Facebook blog post explains, “Let’s say that you’re thinking about buying a new TV, and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps. We may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you’re interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV.”

Sayer writes, “Users will be able to opt out of the new information gathering. In mobile apps, they will be able to do this through standard iOS and Android controls,” adding, “while in their browser they will follow the opt-out mechanisms provided by the Digital Advertising Alliance. The company is also introducing new per-ad controls allowing its users to find out why they were shown an ad, and to request more or fewer related ads.”

U.S. users will begin to see the ad preference controls within a few weeks, and Facebook is working over the coming months to expand globally. VARs who rely on Facebook as a marketing tool need to understand Facebook’s new policy and make changes to their marketing campaigns, if necessary, to keep their messages in front of customers.