Facebook’s Partner Category Targeting: Is Your Head Spinning Yet?

Recently, Facebook announced something called partner category targeting, which lets us run ads based on a user’s retail shopping behavior and other offline information.


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We have already seen that Datalogix has been tying Facebook userid to their store purchases. If you use a supermarket loyalty card or have registered for a promotion with your favorite retailer, you’re in their system.
Of course, no retailer wants to divulge that they sell these data to third parties, but the fact is that most do. And that has given Facebook the ability to prove return on investment for brands that advertise with stunning results.

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This is on top of custom audience targeting, broad category targets, and the hundreds of thousands of precise interest targets available. Not to mention social connection targeting and standard demographic targeting.

Is your head spinning yet?

This is what Jason Keath of Social Fresh noticed:

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It’s an example of content auto-curated by Facebook, which is not necessarily an ad or even the “suggested post.” Now Facebook is finding not just the most interesting content from your pool of friends and brands, but one step beyond.

What This Means For Us

Facebook’s dizzying pace of technology improvements demonstrates that it is on the verge of solving the social ROI riddle. But marketers and vendors are struggling to keep up. Even though Facebook can link offline sales to social behavior, it still must tackle the attribution issue, to give partial credit to every marketing touch that led up to the eventual sale. The geeks will eat this up, while mainstream marketers are confused. Expect Google and Twitter to add to this with enhancements to their analytics and ad application programming interfaces.

Do you yearn for the days when life was easy — where there were only two or three kinds of strawberry jam in the supermarket aisle, as opposed to 73?

Dennis Yu has helped brands grow and measure their Facebook presences. He has spoken at Search Marketing Expo, Search Engine Strategies, Web 2.0, The American Marketing Association, PubCon, Conversational Commerce Conference, Pacific Conferences, HostingCon, Affiliate Summit, Affiliate Convention, UltraLight Startups, MIVA Merchant, and other venues. Yu has also counseled the Federal Trade Commission on privacy issues for social networks. Yu has held leadership positions at Yahoo and American Airlines. His educational background is finance and economics from Southern Methodist University and London School of Economics.

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