With information from users and data vendors, Facebook now gives advertisers complete digital profiles including what brick-and-mortar stores its users spend money. The new targeted data has been a success and led to higher sales, according to its recent earnings reported.
Advertiser Wayfair tripled its spending year-over-year on ads in 2013's fourth quarter, according to the Wall Street Journal. They've clearly been working on making these ad units very productive," Wayfair chief executive Niraj Shah told the WSJ.
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Using partners like Datalogix, Facebook could read what users bought at local supermarkets. Facebook reports that information it shares with advertisers is stripped of vital information to protect privacy.
"There's more provable attribution for the effects of Facebook than there has been ever before," Dave Donohue of Unified Social, told the WSJ.
In short, search engine Google, which accounts for 31.5 percent of the world's online ads, is used when people are looking to buy something, while Facebook is mostly used to tell consumers about new products. Facebook's online ad share is still only 6 percent but growing.
"The smart brands learned to use Facebook to create demand, and Google to fulfill demand," Bob Buch, chief executive of social advertising company SocialWire, told the WSJ.
Facebook's experiment, although it annoyed users, seems to have paid off for the social network. This likely means that Facebook will repeatedly harvest its users' vital information to serve its advertisers.