This morning, Facebook is launching what it calls “partner categories.” It brings offline and third-party data from data brokers Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon to all categories of Facebook advertising.
Facebook previously incorporated this data into its targeting capabilities under Custom Audiences. Now it’s available for all Facebook Ads and to all users of the Power Editor. Starting today, partner categories will be available to advertisers in the US.
The data are drawn from a vast range of sources including online behavior, offline loyalty cards and myriad other places.
Partner categories adds roughly 500 behavioral and interest-based categories and sub-categories that can be combined with Facebook’s existing targeting capabilities. Now marketers can target groups such as “Children’s Food & Product Buyers” and combine that with, for example, Facebook interest and geo-targeting.
Below are a couple of screenshots provided by Facebook showing examples of the way the categories appear and the reach that they offer:
Facebook was careful with me to emphasize that privacy is protected and “no personal information is shared between Facebook, third parties or advertisers.” The marketer will only see the size of the targeted audience. However the layers of increasingly rich data and information being incorporated into the system are sure to raise concerns among privacy advocates.
Data from these vendors have long been used in both offline (e.g., direct mail) and online advertising. What’s new is Facebook’s reach and ability to combine these data with its own targeting categories.
From a pure marketing perspective these data and capabilities are obviously very powerful and will be increasingly attractive to brands.