Facebook’s data essentially, can be second to none. The billion users it serves have told it that who they are, where they come from, where they’ve been, where they are going, where they would like to or want to be, and what they like. Hence, unlike Google, it does not have to gather all that information from their browsing behavior.
So, when the social behemoth decides to file a patent that suggests that it will be building a mega ad exchange network capable of harnessing its social data to serve not just ads, but paid content and on websites beyond its own social platform, it’s a total PR blackout for the ad world.
The ad world currently comprises of Google, Bing, Yahoo, and Firefox.
However, the true impact of the patent goes much beyond the search world, affecting other content recommendation giants including Taboola, ContenClick, Outbrain, and nRelate. Hence, if the patent came to fruition, the impact will be devastating.
At MEP brainstorming sessions, we iterated the possibilities, and they left us speechless. According to the patent application, the basic idea is that advertisers will be able to integrate their data with Facebook’s social Graph and find users that match their targeted profile. Imagine an user profile for the ad (both normal and native) as follows: a woman in her 30’s who reads about health (specifically jogging), who is actively involved with certain health groups, and who has recently bought a pair of sneakers.
Facebook can give it to the advertisers by allowing the content maker or the advertiser to place their content within the ad exchange. According to Facebook’s patent application, this content could be anything: ranging from a news article, a gaming app, an image, and even a wall post, among others. Facebook will display the ad to the super-targeted user.
For the advertisers this is great news, and at MEP we will continue to keep abreast of the developments and creating our own contingency processes in case the behemoth’s war chest is let loose.