Facebook introduced partner categories in April, allowing brands to target ads to users by category, such as “auto intenders” (users whose behavior indicated interest in purchasing a car) and “soda drinkers,” based on their activities both on the social network and elsewhere on the Web, including mobile and even offline. Now the number of partner categories has doubled.
Facebook is more than a social networking site; it’s a business with many complex features working together. Once a small website (for only Harvard University students), Facebook has long since shed its small-town ways for bigger, flashier effects in the horizon. Facebook now combines the best of social networking tools and online marketing tactics to create a single platform that is attractive to both users and businesses, and it is only getting started.
Facebook may have started out as a way for people to connect with their friends, but in the process of becoming the world’s largest social network, it has evolved into the greatest marketing platform on earth. The key to the success of its marketing platform lies within two core elements: the social graph, and reach.
Facebook’s transition to a mobile-first company continued with great speed during the first quarter of 2013, as the social network reported that 30 percent of its total advertising revenue during the period came from mobile, up from 23 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012.
In an effort to attract advertisers, Facebook has partnered with firms such as Datalogix to find out how the social network influences online purchasing behavior. These efforts will likely be ramped up, as TechCrunch reported Thursday that Datalogix has raised $25 million in Series B funding, led by Institutional Venture Partners.
Facebook’s ad-targeting capabilities took a giant step forward with Wednesday’s launch of partner categories, which allow brands on the social network to show ads to users based not only on their Facebook activity, but their activity across the Web, via both desktop and mobile, and even their offline purchases and tendencies.
It’s no secret that Facebook in recent years has become a data company. The more data Facebook has about its users — such as gender, education, likes, and location — the better it can serve targeted ads. But Facebook has to strike a cautious balance with regard to targeting. Whereas many users see ads that are wholly irrelevant, many others feel that Facebook can be too invasive when it comes to advertising.
A report last week that Facebook was testing a new type of targeted advertising, along with several third-party partners, which would allow brands to market to users based on items they have previously expressed interest in while surfing the Web was confirmed Wednesday with the social network’s announcement on its Facebook Studio blog of the expansion of its custom audiences offering with data-centric partners Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom, and BlueKai.
Facebook is testing a new type of targeted advertising that will allow brands to market to users based on items they have purchased in stores, and it teamed up with data providers Epsilon, Acxiom, and Datalogix on the trial, according to a report in Ad Age.