Ads on Facebook, we all have know them You probably have noticed that they are sometimes extremely relevant to your lifestyle and interest.
What exactly is possible with Facebook advertising and where does Facebook get this information about us?
In order to see what kind of possibilities Facebook offer you don’t actually need to advertise. All you need to do is fill an URL (of any site really) and you get to see how Facebook advertising works. I myself was a little bit shocked by what Facebook offers, although it wasn’t that hard to find out I just never bothered to look a bit further.
First of all you can target your audience by Location (Countries, cities), Age, Gender and language. Nothing really special about this just some demographics. Then it gets more interesting Facebook allows you to target people by their current relationship situations. This makes it possible to target at only the married couples or just an audience that exist of singles. But is doesn’t stop there it possible to target your audience at: Field of study, education level, work industries, employers, parents and so on. The one that i was quite shocked about it “Life Events”. You can actually target people who have an upcoming birthday, newlyweds, recently moved, have a new job etc. While your browsing through, Facebook shows you how many people are in the target group. This way is easy to say whether the people you want to target at are an actual relevant group of people.
Second step it gets even more interesting. Now that you have defined the demographics you get to target your audience by their interest.These a quite specific, for example if I’m looking to target people who are interested in sports, but nog just any sports but Yoga en Zumba. With Facebook advertising I am able to target at sports —> fitness —> zumba/yoga. This makes it really easy for ad to be relevant to the audience.But this is not all of it, their categories are very broad. From business to fashion, technology, gaming, children, tv shows. Literally any interest is in there. This makes it really easy for you to reach your target once you know their interests.
But Facebook goes even further, it also let’s you target people’s behavior: Online Activities such as gaming on Facebook or event creators and Facebook page admins, but the one that i found most interesting is traveling. You are able to target people on their traveling behavior. You can target business travelers, commuters and also people who have returned form a traveling trip. Imagine how easy this makes it for travel companies, or flight operators to target their audience. For example if KLM has a special sale for business travelers Facebook advertising is an easy way to reach this audience.
But where is it Facebook get’s this information from?
Well most of the information comes from information people put up on their profiles themselves. Where you work, how old you are, whether you are in a relationship or not, where you live etc. Just the simple demographics. The interests of course comes mostly from pages that you like, listed interests, activities, and groups that you participate in.
With Behavioral targeting it differs, when it comes to gaming all the data is pulled from activities performed on Facebook.
Facebook can tell which kind of mobile devices people use based on how they access their platform. The travel information is being pulled from information people put up on their profiles and travel apps they use.
So what happens if you don’t put any of this information on your Facebook profile? Well turns out that they use your circle of friends to fill in the gap. And as little as you put up Facebook always knows your age and where you live. This combined with your circle of friends provides Facebook with enough demographics to target at.
But it is not only the profiles where Facebook gets his information from, recently Facebook has been working together with several data mining companies to add additional information. This makes the targeting even easy. That brings us to real-life ad targeting. Facebook is able to use information on stuff you buy in real-life and cab use that for targeting on Facebook.
In collaboration with data companies such as Datalogix and Axiom who collect information about you through loyalty cards, public records info, mailing lists. So if you go shopping and use your loyalty card this information goes to one if the data mining companies who then share it with Facebook. The combination of the data from Facebook and the data company gives Facebook an even better idea of who you are and what you like. This makes the targeting extremely relevant.
If you do not want Facebook to know anything about you and your whole life I suggest you throw out your computer and start cutting your loyalty cards. Because it seems like there is just no stopping it.