On Wednesday, Facebook officially plans to roll out a new advertiser tool to help advertisers directly target Facebook users based on their offline spending history.
A data broker like Datalogix, for example, aggregates information about which items and brands a consumer buys through sources like loyalty-card programs. Through software that obscures users’ identifying information such as email addresses and phone numbers, Datalogix and Facebook can combine their databases, and group users based on their offline purchases. Then, through the “partner categories” tool, brands can select which groups should see their advertisements.
For instance, a review of the “partner categories” tool by The Wall Street Journal found that categories often apply to tens of millions of people—for instance, there are some 20 million U.S. users who are heavy juice buyers on the social network.
A small chocolatier can target young parents in New York who buy lots of organic food products, for example. Hyundai Motor Co. recently ran a test to send ads to people identified as “intenders,” or those likely to buy a car soon based on their use of auto-research sites.