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How your in-store shopping affects the ads you see on Facebook

Zach Miners | Dec. 12, 2014
Tracking offline sales will play a big role in Facebook's advertising moving forward.

Facebook's Audience Network, meanwhile, lets companies get their ads placed in other publishers' mobile apps. That system was announced earlier this year at the F8 conference, with support for both iOS and Android apps.

For video, Facebook acquired LiveRail. Its technology lets publishers target video ads to specific segments of the population by age, gender and other traits. It's an important technology for Facebook, which has scaled out its video ads over the past year.

Its targeting and measuring capabilities are powerful, but they can't always work. A store needs to have some identifying piece of information about a customer, such as an email address, and sometimes the customer will provide a different email address than the one they use on Facebook.

The technology also doesn't work in large swathes of the developing world, where cash is used more widely than credit cards.

So where does privacy fit in? Facebook provides controls that it says provide users with information about how their data is used for advertising, though those controls are not always easy to understand. This year it rolled out a "privacy checkup" to remind users who can see their posts and other data they share.

"We want to make sure targeting is valuable and not creepy," Boland said.

And yet opting out of tracking for any website is very tricky, and especially those that rely on advertising for their business.

 

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