Facebook Gifts: Will It Improve Ad Targeting on Facebook?Written by Michael Levanduski
September 30, 2012 # 9:24 am # Industry News, Specials # No Comments
People do not tend to use Facebook for anything other than what it was originally meant for, which is social networking. People visit the site or the app to see what their friends are up to, find promotions or information from their favorite brands or businesses, and other things like that. However, something that has recently become more popular is people relying on Facebook to remember the birthdays of their family and friends. Now, though, remembering the birthday will not be the only option Facebook offers in regards to celebrating your friends’ special days. Now, people can actually give real gifts to people over Facebook, by buying and sending them over the network.
I have never really seen Facebook as something that would turn into a place to shop, but apparently it has. Now, if you see that it is somebody’s birthday on Facebook, you can act like you never forgot by showing that you remembered to get them a gift. Here’s a little tidbit of information on the subject from an Ad Age article written by Cotton Delo.
It works by first letting the buyers browse through the selection of gifts (currently a hodgepodge including $35 cupcake orders from Magnolia Bakery and a $5 Starbucks gift card). Once they’ve made a selection, the recipients get an alert and provide a shipping address. Then the buyer enters credit card information to make the payment.
Ka-ching! Facebook gets a credit card number, a street address and a host of other identifying information it currently doesn’t have about its users.
Therein lies the purpose of this article. By allowing people to actually shop and have gifts delivered through the network, Facebook will receive a lot of information that they normally would have no access to in regards to their users. This will greatly improve their targeting abilities, making it a great day to be a marketer with Facebook. I mean, think of all the information you type in when shopping online. Along with your credit card information and street address, you often give your alternate email addresses, phone numbers, billing addresses, and quite a few other things that you would never think about including in your Facebook profile.
Was this the motive behind the decision to make a shopping option on Facebook? I don’t think so, but I do think that the people at Facebook were aware that it would be a nice added bonus. It is good for marketers in a few ways, in that if they are looking for a new place to sell their items, where better to do it than a highly visited network with a gigantic user base. Anyway, Facebook Gifts are available now, and I am sure they will see a lot of use. So, because of that, you can probably expect Facebook targeted ads to improve as well. I just wonder how far Facebook will go with using this newfound user information, and what kind of trouble they will get in if they do in fact go too far.