Facebook’s new ad targeting scheme is so interesting because it begins to enable advertisers to target individuals again, instead of behavior. In a way it brings advertising full circle…
This is how the world used to work – If you were Acme Floor Wax you ran a full page bleed in Ladies Home Journal because you knew that educated suburban Moms tended to be disproportionally interested in your product. Banner ads digitized that system, but the targeting was weak early on because A.) The online community was so homogeneous, and B.) It was hard to get good demographic segment data from anonymous web site traffic.
Google changed the game, creating an ad medium designed and built for an interactive medium. Now Acme Floor Wax could target its link at people looking for “floor wax,” regardless of their demographic composition. “Search Ads” crushed “Display Ads” online, and never looked back. “Behavioral Targeting” kind of takes this to the next level, looking at behavior across web sites and trying to infer purchase intent.
Facebook’s ad approach is something totally different, in some ways bringing online advertising full circle. Now you can target the person instead of the behavior, and as advertisers come to understand this, the likelihood it will catch fire is quite high. The problem, from the perspective of the user, is that the system is too targeted. Since my private, personally identifiable information is muddled with my interests, tastes and demographic segment data on facebook, I feel kind of exposed and intruded upon by the medium.
The solution to this problem: De-couple who I am from what I like. Keep the former private and empower me to control who gets access to the latter. That’s matchmine.
It’s a movement baby.