Facebook Experiments with Targeted Advertising
Facebook has started experimenting with new ways to sell its greatest asset, namely personal data about its users.
In order to increase the effectiveness of adverts, Facebook has started allowing marketers to target users based on the email address and phone number listed in their profiles and their surfing habits on other sites. It has also started producing adverts that follow members on sites outside of the social network.
These moves come as investors put pressure on Facebook for it to become a bigger player in digital advertising. However, Facebook needs to tread a delicate line between using user data to increase revenues and respect user privacy.
Gokul Rajaram, manager of Facebook’s ad products said “we have been working to make it easier for marketers to reach the right people at the right time and place, in a way that respects user privacy.”
Many of the new services are already offered by companies such as Google and Yahoo, and Facebook said that it intends to follow industry data practices.
According to Facebook, it doesn’t sell data about individual users to advertisers. However, privacy advocates are calling for Facebook to receive special scrutiny as it holds far more personal information about users than any other internet company.