Facebook has launched a beta version of their new mobile ad service that will allow them to serve targeted ads to users even when they visit other websites or apps. Member information such as gender, age, location and Likes can all be used to show you hyper-relevant ads similar to how Google AdSense works.
The service could allow the social network to rake in serious advertising money without having to introduce additional ads to their website / mobile app. For developers and brands, it’s a powerful way to target specific demographics. Since Facebook is gathering information about a person directly from their profile, it’s much more likely to be an accurate assessment of that individual versus relying on data from generic tracking cookies. Companies will likely pay top dollar for this prime marketing information.
Facebook told TechCrunch they’re just testing the platform right now to see how the ads perform and whether or not people find them relevant. The social network isn’t revealing any information yet pertaining to advertisers, ad networks, ad exchanges or publishers taking part in the test.
The publication further points out that this is an important time for Facebook as they are utilizing data instead of their traffic for advertising dollars. They launched an in-feed advertising unit last month that allowed developers to pay to place their ad inside news feeds. The ads seemingly do little more than clutter up the feed and reduce its overall value to members.
It’ll be interesting to see how this test plays out and if (or when) Facebook plans to take it full-scale. We’ll no doubt be hearing more about this as some are likely to speak out about Facebook selling user data for their benefit.