Mark (DataSuckah) Zuckerberg has a new way of selling you to the highest bidder: by following you around the web (which he’s be doing for awhile) and – for the first time – selling that data to marketers.
Facebook Exchange (or FBX for short) is an advertising system that will let advertisers buy Facebook ads that will be targeted to you based on your off-Facebook browsing activity. Facebook announced FBX in June . . .
Previously, the ads you’d see on Facebook would be targeted based on your liked pages, the interests you put in your profile, your location, and other info that you chose to share with Facebook, on Facebook. Now, you’ll start seeing Facebook ads based on the pages you visit and the things you click while you’re off Facebook. Facebook has always had the ability to track users across the web through its social plugins, such as the Like button, but FBX marks the start of Facebook openly harnessing that data for advertising.
As BostInno points out, more data collection equals more worry, especially when Facebook is doing the collecting. Beyond that, you can’t opt out of this new ad system. And then there’s this:
Although Facebook isn’t currently combining off-Facebook advertising data with its massive database of personal info, it’s likely they will in the future. We know that they’re the master of small changes and gradual erosion of user privacy. Given the pressure they’re under to profit post-IPO, and given that advertising is 85% of their revenue, they’ll need to capitalize on every avenue they have.
One new avenue they’re exploring: How many ads can fit on a single Facebook page. From Inside Facebook:
Facebook now displays up to 10 ads on a single page
Facebook is testing a way to show users up to 10 display ads on a single page — up from the former maximum of seven per page.
We’ve seen 10 ads appear on permalink pages for posts that have a large number of comments. Click-through rates might be lower for ads that have to compete with nine others at a time, though users are somewhat likely to see these ads as they scroll down to see more comments. In the past we’ve seen Facebook testing up to seven ads at a time, all below the fold on pages where users are less likely to scroll.
This is just the beginning, folks. The revenue pressures never go away now that there are quarterly judgment days. If it gets too bad, though, people might eventually start looking to Exchange Facebook.
John Carroll, who also writes at Campaign Outsider and It's Good to Live in a Two-Daily Town, is a media analyst and mass communication professor at Boston University.
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