San Francisco, CA (WLTX) -- In a newsroom post Thursday on social networking site Facebook, the company says they're expanding the information provided to advertisers to better target ads at users.
They report that starting today, they will collect more user information for advertising targeting, including personal internet browsing information that happens outside of the social network.
Facebook believes advertisers will benefit from this enhanced profile information collection will let marketing companies present more relevant ads on the social network. It says they will use data from their mobile app, in addition to collecting data from external websites & other mobile apps that users regularly visit, all data collected through Facebook's "plug-ins" that are integrated into most websites and many apps.
Say for instance you've been shopping for a boat recently online, have visited a number of boat sales websites (that include the Facebook plug-in,) and also have installed an app or two on your mobile or tablet device to expand your shopping options...
Facebook will scrape that information from their plug-ins across the websites and inside the apps, and use that to point ads at your profile. Those companies will then start presenting boating related ads to you as you visit Facebook.
All of the data collected, and then used for marketing, is similar in nature to browsing data Google uses to target advertising to everyone. Have you ever noticed how you've perhaps made a recent purchase through an online retailer, and then soon after you see ads for similar products as you're reading the news online? That's targeted to you by Google's Advertising products, based upon your shopping and purchases online.
Facebook is making these moves in an attempt to increase their advertising revenues, faced with that kind of competition from Google, with their ultimate goal in becoming more attractive to marketers.
In their release, Facebook details how users are now given more opportunity to opt-out of this type of ad targeting, including an "Ad Preferences" option on every ad seen inside the Facebook website and apps.
Users will be able to access a tool on every advertisement, reporting back to Facebook that they are not interested in seeing that type of ad, or type of product, in the future.
It's presented as an "Ad Interests" list - the browsing data Facebook has collected about you, organized into an advertiser-friendly list, and saved along with your profile.
Facebook's change in this form is a major shift for the social network, having previously not given users the option of changing what advertising is targeted or shown to you.