How Facebook is making Googley eyes at you.

googley eyes
We’re all used to seeing targeted ads on our Facebook newsfeed. When you create a profile as a 40+ female who likes Masterchef and The Real Housewives of Beverley Hills (much classier than the O.C. bunch), it’s not a big leap to see why they’re serving you up ads about losing tummy fat.  And if you’re a bloke drawing breath, Viagra will pop up on a regular basis. (Pun intended.)

But yesterday I realised Facebook now knows what I’m doing OUTSIDE of their pages.

In the morning a friend asked me if I had heard of a small, relatively obscure UK brand of jewellery. A few hours later, after I Googled this “Victoria Emerson” of the purportedly fabulous “wrap-around bracelets”, I opened my Facebook app to find THIS, front and centre of my newsfeed:


My first thought was: “Cool, they’re on sale, which is excellent because $199 was a bit bloody steep.” Quickly followed by: “Weird, how could this possibly be a coincidence?”

And it’s not. Facebook is now targeting your web-browser and using information about what you search and view outside of Facebook, to inform what you see INSIDE of Facebook.

Predictably and innocuously they call it “Making Ads Better and Giving People More Control Over The Ads They See”.

The rest of the world calls it Online Behavioral Advertising and you can opt out of it here.

I’m very conflicted about all this. On one hand it’s a little creepy to know Facebook is making Googley eyes at me and my family every time we check out a website.

On the other hand, as a marketer who pays for Facebook’s ability to find my audience, I can see how it will make reach and engagement potentially so much better.

If your business sells products to new homeowners for example, you can now target them based on the real estate, removalist and locksmith websites they’re viewing. You’ll know exactly what they’re interested in and how you can help.

In view of the recent complaints that Facebook is no longer a free business tool, features like this can remove the guesswork and substantially improve your ROI. I’d be willing to bet most marketers would pay for that.

Victoria Nikulin

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