I think Facebook is starting to have an addiction to getting in the news at least once a week. I can’t remember the last week where there wasn’t some new change or adjustment done to the largest social media platform. Facebook isn’t disappointing this week either. They announced changes to their ad service late yesterday that could bring in lots of revenue and also work great for businesses and agencies in terms of reaching users.
News Feed to See Targeted Ads
Finally it seems that Facebook has caught up to how everyone seems to advertise online. According to Alexei Oreskovic at Reuters, “Facebook is expanding the advertising system that lets marketers tailor messages to users.” You know those ads you’ve seen to the right of the news feed that have been there for what seems like forever? Those are targeted ads “based on websites visited in the past,” much like how ads work all over the internet.
Facebook is now moving these ads to the news feed in a move to improve the system they released last year called the Facebook Exchange. This is a long overdue move by Facebook in my opinion. Although, they have always seemed to appear hesitant about ruining the user experience with ads, and that could be part of the reason they’ve delayed making this change for so long.
A Change in Facebook’s Strategy
Peter Kafka over at AllThingsD has a great write-up on this story. He makes the important point that this is a rather interesting change for Facebook. Peter informs us that Facebook is moving outside of its strategy to target users based on their Facebook use and “is telling an advertiser that they can guarantee delivery of their message to someone who has visited certain websites.” This whole embrace of retargeting began only last year for Facebook and the latest move shows they are set to follow through in a big way.
The ads aren’t much different looking than sponsored stories, and Facebook has given no indication that they are shifting entirely to retargeting. They are keeping a foot on both sides of the fence; businesses and advertisers can opt for the social media, Facebook-centered advertising and marketing, the new retargeting model, or do both. Sounds to me like a great deal for all parties involved.
Will Users Care?
One of the more pertinent concerns to this move involves Facebook’s users. As John Roberts writes on CNN Money, “the larger peril may be the prospect of too much advertising undermining Facebook’s user experience and its vaunted design.” This is definitely a valid concern that Facebook needs to be careful with. They need to ensure that their ads are highly relevant to users based on their habits or else I’m sure that users will be noticing the ads in a much more negative manner than they should be for the retargeting to work well.
Ultimately this is a welcome step for businesses and agencies already active or looking to become more active in their social media marketing. The retargeted ads aren’t quite available to everyone just yet, but they will be soon. Facebook continues to make the changes that are beneficial for itself, and the businesses using their platform to reach a wide audience.
Do you welcome the chance to use retargeting on Facebook? Will you take advantage of retargeting when it becomes available to all?