Facebook's 'partner categories' targeting tool rolls out to the UK following successful year in the US

Roll-out: Partner categories is coming to the UK

Facebook is rolling out its targeted marketing ‘partner categories’ feature to the UK following a successful year in the US.

The tool gives marketers more options when targeting audiences through its use of third-party data from enterprise data and analytics firm Acxiom and digital media and offline purchasing data service Datalogix.

A Facebook blog post explained: “With partner categories marketers can now reach the right audiences based on the brands and products people buy. Say you're a local car dealership that wants to reach people who are likely in the market for a new car and live near the dealership.

“To date, advertisers have been able to show ads to people based on their expressed interests on Facebook. Now, with partner categories, the dealership can also show ads on Facebook to people who, for instance, have previously bought a particular car model that the dealership sells.”

The service now has more than 1,000 partner categories after launching with 500 in April last year in the US. During Facebook’s Q4 2013 earnings call, COO Sheryl Sandberg identified partner categories and custom audiences – another targeting feature launched in January last year – as important tools for marketers and said there was more opportunity in the area.

Custom audiences has been an important product in this effort,” she said. “When we launched it over a year ago, it allowed marketers to reach their current customers on Facebook. Since then, we’ve built more capabilities while maintaining user privacy.

“These include lookalike targeting that lets marketers reach people who are similar to their best six customers; and partner categories, which use third party data to improve our targeting so now marketers can reach exactly the people they are looking for - such as people who buy fashion apparel or are in the market for a new car.

“We’ve more than doubled the number of partner categories in the US and now offer more than 1,000. And we still believe there is still significant opportunity ahead as we continue to improve our targeting capabilities.”

The social network insisted that users’ privacy would not be compromised by the tool.

“Partner categories uses data from our select third party partners, Acxiom and Datalogix, and employs a privacy and data-protective matching process specifically designed so that Facebook does not send any personal information to the third party data partner,” Facebook’s blog post added.

“With partner categories, we only share with marketers aggregated information, like the size of the audience they're reaching, and we don't share specific information about individuals included in a category.”

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Angela Haggerty

All by Angela