Facebook Partner Categories Announced

Facebook Partner CategoriesEver since the company went public last May, Facebook has been looking for ways to monetize and improve its offerings to businesses and agencies. The road was a bit bumpy at first, and many critics thought Facebook couldn’t hack it as a public company. Since then the company has made a lot of beneficial changes. They’ve done so much that GM returned to Facebook just this week. Late on Wednesday, Facebook made another addition to their offerings when they announced Partner Categories.

What Exactly Is Partner Categories?

With Partner Categories, Facebook “is taking another step ahead in its ad targeting strategy” as Ingrid Lunden writes at TechCrunch. Businesses and agencies are going to love Partner Categories because it is essentially “some 500 ‘unique groups,’ with more to come, which are descriptors…that match up with relevant people.” Basically, it’s now a heck of a lot easier for businesses and agencies running clients’ Facebook efforts to target large groups of users on Facebook, based on what they buy.

It’s a bit more complicated than that though. Partner Categories has the capability to provide highly targeted ads to its users. As Somini Sengupta writes for the NY Times, “Facebook has partnered with four data companies that track…online and offline purchase behavior.” This means that Facebook will be able to offer advertisers a much better picture of the people they are trying to advertise to.

Using outside parties to analyze their users’ information (and hopefully they keep privacy in mind!) means that Facebook recognizes they aren’t the ideal people to be doing these analyses. Using outside parties means that businesses and agencies can now target ads to people based on what “they buy across both desktop and mobile.”

A Big Improvement

Even more impressive is the fact that with Partner Categories, Facebook can now track what people “have shown interest in purchasing” in addition to what they have actually purchased, writes Nicholas Carlson at the Business Insider.

This powerful ability for advertisers to target their ads directly to people who have purchased or have shown an interest in certain products is really a leap forward for Facebook. They will be able to provide relevant ads to users who have already proven an interest in a product or an actual purchase in the past.

This puts Facebook much further ahead of where it used to be when it comes to providing effective ads to its users. So much so that Nicholas wrote that the Partner Categories “is nearly as valuable as Google search targeting.” He might very well be correct about this, but until we have some concrete stats and numbers out from Facebook or businesses and agencies using Partner Categories, we won’t know for sure.

The Future

There’s no doubt in my mind that this service will continually be improved upon by Facebook. If it turns out to be as precise as Facebook claims, this might be the one change that Facebook absolutely needed to secure its financial future. Now it’s a matter of getting as many businesses and agencies on board with Partner Categories and seeing whether the numbers back up the claims.

Will you start using Facebook advertising now that Partner Categories has been released?

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Patrick currently lives in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he is studying for a Master's Degree in Intercultural Relations. Upon graduation from Penn State in 2008, he spent two years overseas in Kyrgyzstan with the U.S. Peace Corps. While writing is currently his chosen way to put food on the table, he loves fitness and exercise, which he believes makes up for his avid computer gaming habit.

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