Facebook is now serving ads to people based on their physical movements.
In an update which is already servicing initial buyers KFC, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Macy’s, Facebook is allowing advertisers to put digital ads in front of people who previously visited their stores in real life, or the stores of their competitors.
Facebook’s location tracking feature is making this possible, with many users not even realising it has been enabled.
“Driving foot traffic to store locations remains a priority for marketers, and many businesses are doing this with our store visits objective,” said Facebook. “Facebook store visits reporting is an estimated metric based on information from people with location services enabled on their phone.
Gabriel Francis, product manager of offline sales at Facebook, said:
“This allows businesses to close the loop on their advertisements. Twenty years ago, during the advent of online advertising, we saw that people didn’t just want to understand the impact of their digital ads on individual purchases. They also wanted to use that information so they could optimise their ads in order to find their best customers and find the optimal conversion rate and then use that information to improve their advertisements so they could be really efficient with their ad spend.”
While Google already offers a service which tells advertisers whether their online ads led to physical sales, Facebook’s offering allows advertisers to target ‘lookalike’ audiences in real life, where they can buy against people who resemble physical-store visitors who they are directly targeting.
How will this inevitably impact the music industry? Say an advertiser in the promoting sector wants to target fans of their latest tour; in the same way digital marketing is run on Facebook where lookalike audiences are created using an established source audience, promoters can target fans of their act who attended a show at a particular venue, as well as people who resemble the same traits as those core fans.
Similarly, bands who host pop-up stores, in-store signings, record store performances and concerts can target their fans and fans of artists similar to them.
Perhaps the largest opportunity for record labels is in the serving of ads to people who enter a store where their records are sold, or attend a concert or festival where one of their acts is performing.
While RFID technology is now widely used at festivals – where its tech used for identification, payment, security and showing sponsors how popular their activations are – Facebook can help boost record sales, single and video streams, and even sell tickets through the new feature
Granted, Snapchat’s recent acquisition of Placed, which helps advertisers track real-life purchases and store visits, has been offering its advertisers the same thing since June. But Facebook has 2 billion users, that’s 185 billion more reasons for brands and bands to spend their advertising dollars on Facebook.
While the price-tag hasn’t been released publicly, Facebook may have a hard time convincing advertisers which purchases were made after seeing the ad – some may have already planned to return to the store anyway.
For those completely freaked out by the idea of Facebook literally shadowing your movements, you can switch Facebook’s location tracking feature off. In Settings, go to the Adverts section and manage your preferences.