Facebook announced yesterday that it is introducing what they are calling “partner categories” for advertisers. What this means is advertisers will be able to further narrow down what types of potential customers they want to advertise to.
While advertisers have always had the ability to target specific ads for specific people, the categories were based solely on “Likes” and activity on Facebook and Facebook only. What makes this announcement so intriguing is that this new form of ad targeting is actually pulled from third party data.
Companies like Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon will supply Facebook with information such as what kind of food you buy, your occupation and what car you drive. Before you get too creeped out, rest easy in knowing that Facebook is provided all of this info on an anonymous basis, meaning that your personal details are never disclosed to advertisers. You can also opt-out of this form of ad targeting at any time if you wish. Advertisers can also only target specific categories, and not specific individuals.
This news is incredibly valuable to advertisers who fit within selling products within these categories. Being able to further hone in on specific likes of a customer is certainly not a bad thing when it comes to selling products. Before, advertisers for a meat company might know that you like eating barbecue food, but now they can know what type of meat or what brands you are buying in stores already.
I hope this form of advertising expands outside of social network sites and onto online news sites. I think this is going to be a great way for sites struggling to earn revenue to try out a new way of catering to their audience.