Facebook to follow you offline and see if you’re buying what they’re selling

 ftc facebook privacy

Facebook is beefing up its advertiser services after feeling the pressure to offer improved analytics tools for marketers to see just how well their Facebook campaigns are faring. Facebook has delivered, The Financial Times reports, by partnering with Datalogix to track whether Facebook users who click on ads end up purchasing products.

With a database of over 70 million Americans that have signed up for in-store loyalty cards and programs at over 1,000 retailers, Datalogix can match respective Facebook accounts to email addresses or other pertinent information that users would have provided when signing up for the in-store programs. Facebook then receives a report to identify its users that have made purchases at a retail location and those that have not after viewing an ad on the social network, potentially weeding out the pain points in an advertising strategy and helping measure the efficacy of Facebook advertising.

“We are working with Datalogix to help advertisers understand how well their Facebook ads are working. We also do this through our partnerships with companies like Nielsen and comScore and through our own advertising tool,” a Facebook rep told Digital Trends in a statement.

The partners have tested 45 campaigns and have found that Facebook advertising was an effective tool in a marketer’s toolbox. Of the campaigns measured, 70 percent of advertisers made $3 dollars from in-store purchases for every $1 spent. But the click-through rates on Facebook ads are less than desirable. Wordstream’s study suggests that desktop click-through rates stand at just 0.051 percent, almost half of an average click-through rate for any ad on the Internet. Facebook’s mobile ads and Newsfeed ads, according to our report on Socialcode’s study, fare far better with click-through rates of 0.79 percent and 0.327 percent respectively.

While the form of tracking will undoubtedly raise some alarms for existing users, identifying information and email addresses will remain anonymous. Datalogix categorizes people in its reports into general groups between those who have made purchases and those who have not. The real privacy kicker is that there won’t be an opt-out capability directly available via Facebook. Facebook didn’t answer our question about whether it would offer users an opt-out mechanism on its own site, and it would appear you will have to visit Datalogix’s website in order to get rid of the service. But Facebook’s spokesperson provided the following statement on the matter in light of the assurance that it was working with a third-party auditor:

“We know that people share a lot of information on Facebook, and we have taken great care to make sure that we measure the effectiveness of Facebook ads without compromising the commitments we have made on privacy. We don’t sell people’s personal information, and individual user data is not shared between Facebook, Datalogix or advertisers.”

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