It seems that it was not too long ago that the world’s most popular social media network suffered harsh criticism over their lack of effective ad strategies, but no one can accuse Facebook (News - Alert) of being merely a social network anymore.
A couple of Instagrams and Sponsored Stories later, Facebook is now under scrutiny by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) over speculation that the company’s ad targeting has gone too far.
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Some sources view Facebook’s latest advertising method as more or less “following users to the supermarket.” But is there really any better way to gage the effectiveness of ads that appear on the social media network than to observe users’ buying habits after the fact? Facebook doesn’t seem to think so, but its strategy of observing “large groups of people” using data gathered by their new partner, Datalogix, while these people are away from their desk, is quite a significant step up from its last announcement regarding ad targeting during the initial stages of the Facebook Exchange project.
Facebook seemed to have taken quite a radical approach with Facebook Exchange according to the standards set by the network in the past to maintain the integrity of its site as a predominantly social media network. But since installing HTML cookies into people’s browsers was no more radical than what Google (News - Alert) and other search giants were already doing, many people opted to look the other way.
But what Facebook and Datlogix are doing now, is taking their observations of consumer habits to a more intrusive level. Datalogix is using “hashes” or codes that can be found within people’s e-mail addresses they provided on Facebook, and observing user’s buying habits while they are making purchases offline.
In another move, Facebook is requesting the participation of users to up its ad targeting by implementing FBX ads which allow users to click on an ‘X’ if they feel the ad is relevant.
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Edited by Brooke Neuman