Warning: Facebook Is Now Marketing to Your Behavior

Michael Bird
Michael Bird Co-Founder, Social Garden

Posted on April 29th 2014

Warning: Facebook Is Now Marketing to Your Behavior

Major Changes to Facebook’s Advertising Platform

Facebook’s advertising platform, Power Editor, has received an overhaul throughout the last two months. Upgrades have been made to allow brands to not only structure their portfolio more efficiently, but also reach their desired audience more effectively.

Broad Categories have been phased out. Precise Interests are outdated. Facebook is now paying closer attention to more of your online habits.

It makes sense from a business perspective to spend more money on the right people doesn’t it? The advertising dollar is always under scrutiny, and it is becoming more and more important to ensure that it remains a viable investment.

So are we narrowing in on our target audience, or are we completely missing the mark? Considering that Facebook is the world’s most popular social media platform, it would be more than worthwhile for businesses and marketers to invest in Behaviour Targeting.

Introducing the shift from ‘Broad Category’ and ‘Precise Interests’ to ‘Behavioural Targeting’:

Previously, Facebook has focused on interests at face value. For Interest-based targeting, if a user liked a page, a brand or even a public figure such as the irresistible Ryan Gosling, they would be tagged as an avid fan. This strategy is limited by the thinking that if that user liked Ryan Gosling a year or two ago, an advertiser would market to them, even if they now found him to be distasteful, or had fallen horribly out-of-love.

For Broad Category Targeting, advertisers would base their target market on very superficial information that users would have entered. This would include anything from a specific TV show they may have liked, their interest in rock music, or that they are a parent of an infant.

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The information that is gathered for this strategy is not meaningful enough for the long term. It fails to take into consideration how interests may have changed. And unlike Behavioural Targeting, Broad Category Targeting also fails to take note of a user’s entire online experience.

Broad Category Targeting relies on outdated information that can be as long ago as 9 months. A lot can change in nine months, and it is important for marketers to realise that there is a great deal of potential in being able to define who their target audience consists of, based on their recent online activity. Having information about how people are using the Internet and interacting with each other gives valuable insight into a user’s buying habits and changing interests.

Behavioural Targeting treats each user as an individual whose entire online persona is not necessarily just based on their preference of music or their marital status. It gives advertisers the opportunity to take the specific habits of different users, so that they can figure out whom they want to be promoting their products to. Facebook is able to gather many different types of information that will help marketers determine users’ buyer personas, as well as personalities in general. For example, if a user has recently made an online purchase, depending on what they bought and where, they will be targeted for similar products sold at similar online stores. Similarly, if a user has shared an album of photos from their recent overseas trip, they are likely to be targeted if an advertiser is looking to promote their travel tours or facilities.

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But don’t worry! This doesn’t mean that as a user yourself, you need to worry about who has access to your information. The benefit is that if you’ve shown an inclination towards something, your eyes will be opened to more unique and differentiated options.

Marketers will be able to find characteristics of exactly who they want to be selling to, and these will be the types of people who are more likely to be interested in what you have to offer. In this way, Behavioural Targeting opens the doors to many advertising opportunities. These strategies will provide meaningful information about users’ online activity, making Facebook advertising even more effective.

The post WARNING: Facebook Is Now Marketing to Your Behaviour appeared first on Social Garden.

Michael Bird

Michael Bird

Co-Founder, Social Garden

This is a guest post written by Michael Bird,Co-Founder and the Director of Digital Strategy at Social Garden, an Australian based Digital Marketing Agency specialising in social media marketing, content development and SEO. You can connect with Mike on Google+, or click here to check out his blog.

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