Facebook wants to be everywhere, and so far, they’re doing a good job. Over 600,000 million accounts have been created worldwide, and the appeal spreads over age demographics, with the over 55 set being the fastest growing age group. Now Facebook wants to use all this data to deliver targeted ads. This isn’t new; the social media site has been doing this for some time. What is new is the speed with which Facebook delivers the ads. Based on status updates and wall posts, Facebook can select ads near instantly based on a person’s interests at a specific moment.
A Facebook spokesperson says, “Advertising on Facebook can be more useful for people because they have explicitly shared their interests on the site. We use this information to show people ads that they may be interested in.” The social media giant is testing ads that relate relevant content based on real-time updates, posts, or Pages liked. An example? Say you posted that you just bought designer clothes on sale. It is not unreasonable to expect to see ads targeted towards clothing retailers and designers.
Some see the move as brilliant; it takes targeted ads to a new, instantaneous level. CEO of Facebook software and marketing company Virtue, Reggie Bradford, says, “The long-held promise of local is to deliver timely, relevant and measureable ads which drive actions such as commerce, so if Facebook is moving in this direction, it’s brilliant.”
Others may think it’s creepy. Do you want Facebook to “know” what you’re thinking? Gartner analyst Andrew Frank says that Facebook needs to toe a fine line. “The main issue is tuning it right so it’s relevant, but not too relevant. I’ve heard reactions across the board, from people who say this is really creepy, to people who say it’s really good and it makes the ads more interesting and relevant.” Facebook needs to make the ads personalized – but not personal. It can’t be too obvious that the user is being targeted. Finding the balance is what Facebook hopes to do with their tests.