Facebook Utilizing Real-Time Conversations For Ad Targeting

Filed as News on March 24, 2011 6:07 pm

Facebook Real-Time Ads

Are you sick and tired of seeing teeth whitening ads on your Facebook account? Or perhaps even ads that seem to fully miss your lifestyle? Facebook may soon have an alternative, the social networking company this month began testing a new way to target users by data mining their real-time conversations.

The current testing environment is only targeting 1% of Facebook users, an amount equal to approximately 6 million users, not a bad study group.

The move marks yet another attempt by Facebook to more directly target users, you may recall that they recently began offering “sponsored stories” in which users brand interactions are posted via a side bar with included ads.

The new program is simple, for example a user may type “I really want to buy a new pair of Nike basketball shoes” at which point they may immediately see a Nike ad, perhaps a coupon for “x amount” off a pair of shoes at Foot Locker.

For users who may be a bit confused, it is true that targeted ads have been offered for some time now on Facebook, however a real-time based ad platform is a new opportunity for the world’s largest social network.

The platform is being tested on only 1% of users because Facebook says the algorithm they use is so complex that it must be tweaked to perform at levels advertisers will appreciate. Unlike search engines such as Google and Bing, Facebook often ignores keywords and looks at other factors to determine which ads will best target their core user groups.

Facebook says their ad targeting algorithm hasn’t changed, other than standard tweaks, instead they have just worked to speed it up, allowing for immediate ad retrieval upon new wall posts being implemented.

The new methodology makes sense for Facebook and their advertisers since it will greatly reduce the time from user impulse to targeted ad serving. If say you want a pizza, receiving a coupon from Pizza Hut two minutes after putting up a post about your desire for pizza is a far better  advertising opportunity than delivering that same ad or a coupon to a user hours later, typically after they have already acted on their posted desires.

What do you think about real-time ad targeting? Hopefully it means a lot less annoying and irrelevant ads.

 

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