By Keith Trivitt | Director, Marketing and Communications
In the Digital Age of marketing, connections are everything. Whether it’s connections with consumers (what modern marketers now call “engagement”), connections between consumers and brand advocates or consumer-to-consumer-to-brand connections by way of online review sites, we live in an increasingly interconnected world. Our offline lives have largely merged with our online lives.
Yet one critical aspect of consumers’ offline and online connections has been missing — until now. The announcement by Facebook of the launch of new “partner categories” marks a critical turning point in marketers’ quest to connect offline consumer purchasing habits and intent with online advertising opportunities.
Here’s how AdExchanger described the new ad targeting tool:
“Facebook is adding new offline purchase data from Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon. Advertisers can now target people who buy lots of frozen veggies, for instance, or children’s cereal. They can pluck these segments from Facebook’s self-serve interface, alongside its own social data. … It’s just the latest move in a sustained effort by Facebook to absorb the methods pioneered in traditional display over the past decade.”
What ‘Partner Categories’ Mean for Performance Marketers
Facebook’s new ad targeting tools will have a significant positive effective on many aspects of online marketing and advertising. Performance marketers may benefit the most from this new advertising tool. The ability to connect consumers’ offline purchases with potential intent to purchase via Facebook, and then to serve that consumer a relevant ad or lead generation opportunity, has long been one of performance marketers’ top wishes for Facebook advertising.
Here’s how MediaWhiz Senior Vice President of Media Services Peter Klein put it when I asked him yesterday for his thoughts on these new ad targeting tools from Facebook:
“This is a great move by Facebook. Facebook’s “Partner Categories” ad targeting tool clearly lends itself to better targeting of consumers and less irrelevant ads.
“Many big brands like GM walked away from Facebook after having issues getting an accurate read on its marketing ROI versus other online advertising channels. The launch of partner categories will help advertisers recognize a return on their marketing investment with Facebook. More importantly, though, it will help both marketers and advertisers move one step closer toward understanding how consumers’ offline purchasing habits and intentions influence their online activities, and vice versa. This is something that performance marketers have long desired when using Facebook for lead generation and display advertising campaigns.
“The launch of partner categories will also help Facebook become a more friendly performance marketing channel. The use of low engagement “likes” will come to an end and be supplanted with a true ROI-based ad model. The upfront cost to advertisers and marketers may end up being higher, but the results on the backend will more than offset for the difference. The naysayers who are fixated on online privacy should recognize that this will help better serve the consumer — one who has already willingly registered to be there.
Brands that wish to engage, acquire and retain customers more profitably would be wise to begin testing Facebook’s partner categories ad targeting tool. It offers marketers the ability to connect consumers’ offline purchasing history with their potential online actions. That is a level of customer that performance marketers can truly appreciate.
How do you think Facebook’s new “partner categories” ad targeting tools will impact online marketing? Are you planning to start using these new tools?