Facebook just sent out a mass announcement in the notifications box in users's screens informing users of new practices for Facebook advertising. In it, they describe that they will now be tracking your activity on other websites, as well as your usage of other apps on your phone, to target ads that are more relevant to you.
This type of advertising and tracking is certainly not new. Google has been doing this for years, and I've really never had a problem with it from Google. Anyone that buys digital advertising knows that remarketing (showing ads to users who have visited your website in the past) can be one of the most succesful ways to get a user to keep coming back to your site, or at the very least, help you run a good brand-awareness campaign.
Content targeting is even better. The ability to reach a completely targeted user who is extremely likely to be interested in your product or service inexpensively is the holy grail of marketing. Facebook has done a good job over the past year of tweaking their advertising platform to make it much more valuable to advertisers. But somehow, this kind of access just feels different coming from Facebook.
Maybe it's Mark Zuckerberg's unbelievable arrogance in always assuming everyone was ok with everything they did on Facebook being completely open, even in the face of harsh criticism. Maybe it's the fact that Facebook continues to sneak in additional permission requests to it's mobile platforms in the hopes that nobody notices. (You do know that Facebook for Android now has access to your text messages, right?) Whatever it is, I simply just don't trust Facebook the way I "trust" Google.
As a marketer, however, I couldn't be happier. My ads will get better and more targeted, and so will my clients'. Hopefully we can reach more customers at a lower cost, and all grow our businesses together.
You will have the option to opt out of these ads from Facebook, and even with what I wrote above, I probably won't. I used to resist changes like this until I realized that a little trust can go a long way. It wasn't until I started selling both my services and the products and services of others that I realized how often I'm trying to sell you something that will actually make your life better, more fun, easier, or otherwise be beneficial to you. If I didn't believe that, I wouldn't try to sell it to you. That may not be true across the board, but I've found it to be accurate more often than not.
I actually go out of my way to look at ads now, rather than going out of my way to avoid them, and I've found a number of products and services that have, in fact, made my life easier.
Photo: Flickr | Maria Elena
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What do you think, are you going to opt out of Facebook's new ad platform? Share your thoughts below.