Facebook Ads Know Your Offline Buying Habits

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Facebook has long struggled with how to monetize the site without alienating its users. Though there have been many outspoken critics at every new ad update, for the most part the number-one social networking platform has done an admirable job. There newest innovation, however, might rub the public the wrong way.

Julianne Pepitone reports for CNN that ‘Partner Categories’, Facebook’s newest feature for advertisers, allows users to be grouped based on purchases made both online and in a physical store. That’s right. If you hold a membership card at your local grocery store and purchase a larger than average supply of one item in particular, Facebook, and its advertisers are going to know about it.

As an advertiser, you’re probably pretty excited about this development. While you won’t be able to see specifically who you are showing ads to, you will be able to see how many people fall into each category and why they were placed there, meaning what buying habits they exhibited to fit in this particular group. In this way, you get a more focused audience and can only show ads to people likely to be interested in your product.

As a typical Facebook user, you may feel that your privacy is being infringed upon. Previously, advertisers could only group you based on the information your volunteered on your profile and your online activity.

So, is Facebook going to far with this new feature? Regardless of your opinion, I’m guessing ‘Partner Categories’ isn’t going anywhere and similar innovations will be popping up for advertisers on other platforms soon.

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