Facebook users are accustomed to seeing ads off to the right-hand side of their News Feeds.
As well as suggested pages showing up alongside posts about their friends’ pets.
Now they can expect to start seeing ads – targeted especially for that user – based on his or her likes and browsing history.
Facebook is calling it FBX-targed ads, and they’re promising advertisers that it’s an opportunity to gain space in the “the most engaging place on the web.” The company points out that users spend more time in the News Feed than any other part of Facebook.
Why the need for ads? Facebook needs to make money. And just like non-pay television channels and over-the-air radio, they pay the bills with advertising. The company say users won’t see an increase in the number of ads, but that this system will make the advertising more relevant and engaging to people using Facebook.
When a television commercial or a print ad is displayed, everyone watching the show or reading the magazine sees it. It doesn’t matter if they’re interested in the product or not. For example, if the product is women’s shoes, a lot of people who aren’t interested in shoes at all might see the ad.
In fact, odds are that most of the people who see the ad aren’t interested. With a targeted ad system, Facebook will look for users who like the pages of certain shoe companies or fashion publications. They can look for people who have posted about shoes and commented on photos of shoes and then slip the shoe ads in those people’s News Feeds.
In a tight economy, any system that promises to find consumers who are actually interested in your product sounds exciting to advertisers. At the end of the blog post Facebook used to announce FBX ads, marketing companies were already posting comments and offering to show businesses the best way to use the new ads.
Many have expressed privacy concerns over this type of targeted advertising, but Facebook argues it’s just a way of giving people what they want; making it a win/win situation for advertisers and Facebook users.