Facebook Launches New Partner Categories Ad Platform As GM Gives The Social Network Another Try

Facebook is rolling out a new platform that focuses on serving users with advertising based on where they are located, their history of online purchasing, and browsing history.  Facebook launched around 500 “partner categories” that uses data from third parties like Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon.  An example Facebook provided is that a local car dealership may now be able to show ads to people who are likely in the market for a new car who live near their dealership.  Facebook was previously only capable of showing ads to people based on their expressed interests and “Likes” on the social network.  Facebook can show ads to people based on the products and brands that they buy on the desktop and mobile devices.

You will notice in the screenshot above that 14.8 million people are heavy buyers of children’s cereal because they spend 3 times or more than the national average based on volume unit spend in the children’s cereal category and have actively purchased in the last year.  This is just one example out of hundreds that people can learn from Facebook’s partner categories.

“Our ultimate goal is to make the ads people see on Facebook as relevant as the information they see from their friends,” stated Facebook Yvette Lui, the director of global marketing solutions at the global data & audience partnerships division within Facebook. “Targeting features like custom audiences and partner categories help make this possible. Our partnership with Epsilon gives marketers a more accurate and effective way to reach the right groups of real people, which makes for a better ad experience.”

This is the first official product that is coming out of a partnership that Facebook has with ad targeting data companies.  Testing for these products first started in September 2012 and it was initially announced back in February that the features would be coming out soon.  Facebook recently acquired Atlas from Microsoft as part of a strategy to provide online advertising services to companies.

As Facebook launched the new ad targeting service, the company won back a large client.  General Motors is testing out ads on Facebook again after bailing about a year ago.  “Chevrolet is testing a number of mobile-advertising solutions, including Facebook, as part of its ‘Find New Roads’ campaign,” said Chris Perry, the Vice President of Chevrolet’s U.S marketing division. “Today, Chevrolet is launching an industry-first, ‘mobile-only’ pilot campaign for the Chevrolet Sonic that utilizes newly available targeting and measurement capabilities on Facebook.”

The personal information about Facebook users will not be revealed.  Users can also opt out from getting ads from specific advertisers or from targeting altogether.

General Motors leaving Facebook was highlighted extensively since they pulled out three days before Facebook went public in May 2012.  GM has been in talks to return back to Facebook since July 2012.  Former General Motors CMO Joel Ewanick made the decision to end the marketing campaign on Facebook.  Ewanick and GM’s marketing company was interested in running higher-impact ads than what was available.

“We’ve had an ongoing dialogue with GM over the last 12 months and are pleased to have them back as an advertiser on Facebook. We look forward to working even more closely with GM in the coming weeks and months,” said Facebook in a statement.

[Image credit: Facebook Blog]

This article was written by Amit Chowdhry. You can follow me at @amitchowdhry or on Google+ at
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