Facebook have announced that they are to begin serving advertisements to users based on their browsing history across the web and not just user’s activity within Facebook. The new contextual ads will be introduced in the USA first, shortly followed by Europe and Asia by the end of the year.
For example, if it is thought a Facebook user is researching a purchase based on their searches or app use, an appropriate ad will be served to them in Facebook.
However, the social networking giant have stated that they will provide users with tools to control the ads they are served. There has been a growing level of unease about behavioural advertising and the increasing volume of data captured and used by brands.
Brands are under increasing scrutiny from lawmakers over their use of data. The European Union’s data protection directive, expected to be voted on by European MPs before the end of the year, will force brands to receive explicit consent from a consumer before their data is used for marketing purposes, so Facebook is keen to stress to users that they can opt out.
Facebook will introduce “ad preferences” to provide users “with control over the ads that they see”. As a result, an arrow will appear in the top right corner of the ad that, when clicked, will present the user with four options:
• ‘this ad is useful’, which will mean users are happy to see more ads from that brand
• ‘I don’t want to see this’, which will block that ad
• ‘hide all from this advertiser’, which will block future ads from that advertiser
• ‘why am I seeing this ad?’, the user will be presented with an explanation of how the ad relates to their behaviour within Facebook and why.
It is thought Facebook is the first to specifically tell people how an ad is linked to an analysis of their interests.
We will watch the development of Facebook behavioural advertising keenly over the coming months to see if it will provide our clients with a worthwhile return on investment.
If you would like further information about Social Media or pay per click advertising, speak to a member of our team on 01202 677 277 who will be happy to help you.