Facebook Plans to Expand Ad Reach to Users outside its Social Network

'Facebook ads'

Facebook has plans to expand its ad reach to non-users.

BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Facebook announced May 26 that it will start posting ads on sites and apps that are outside its social network but they are members of its extended ad network called the Audience Network.

Until recently, the social media giant only displayed advertisements within its social network. Although the change may not seem much, Facebook could turn into a major player in the online advertising business. It could even start to rival Google when helping marketeers to place their ads across the Internet.

Facebook’s Andrew Bosworth noted that the company is aware that there are ‘some users’ who do not have or don’t use a Facebook account. For instance of the 3.17 billion Internet users across the globe, just 1.65 billion are caught in the Facebook network.

Facebook’s Audience Network, on the other hand, can reach both Facebook users and non-users. Within the social network, it is easier to place an ad as the site has troves of data on its users’ behaviors and preferences.

But now, the social networking giant could start harvest user data across the Internet through ‘likes,’ site cookies, and other tools at its hands. This info will be later used to match non-Facebook users’ interests with advertisements just like Google does now.

Mr. Bosworth explained that ‘like’ buttons and pluggins will play a crucial role in harvesting user data on third-party sites. The information will help the company better understand how to move the elusive non-Facebook audience.

For example, if a non-Facebook member clicks a sportswear site, Facebook may conclude that the user is interested in this type of clothing so it will target that person with sportswear-related ads.

As of now, the most popular technology to find out what users really like are website cookies, or pieces of codes with specific information that are stored on the users’ devices. Third-party sites can access these cookies and learn a lot about a user’s behavior across the Internet.

Though this method of tracking may seem disturbing to users concerned over their privacy, most advertising networks use it. Yet, Facebook believes it can do a better job than its competitors since it has so much info on its own users.

The social media site can use artificial intelligence bots to detect patterns in user behavior and estimate what a non-user of Facebook may like to buy. The strategy is dubbed ‘lookalike’ targeting by advertising experts.

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