Facebook planning the ultimate ad targeting network

August 23, 2007

So I surmised previously (here and here) that some enterprising person may work out a way to scrape Facebook profiles to gather demographic and behavioural data which could then power an ad serving platform. I also asked whether Facebook is just a data gathering exercise…

An article in the Wall Street Journal has been published talking about just these ideas but it turns out that its Facebook who are planning a new advertising system using the data from profiels and the users activities and interactions on their social network.

It’s aiming for the holy grail of ad serving tools, to allow it to predict what products and services users may be interested in even before they have specifically mentioned them. Now that would be powerful!

Apparently this is top priority for Facebook workers now. They’ve got the audience, they’ve now got outsiders creating apps and building momentum for them now they just need to monetise all that activity.

If they get it right and can make this the most targeted ad platform around, keep their audience and get buy in from advertisers then they will have sealed their fortunes. This has the potential to be Adwords for a social network, and if Facebook can become the communications platform that some think it will then this will be massive!

Note: of course this could all result in a horrible backlash for Facebook if the users decide that using their personal info to target them with ads is unethical…

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