Facebook Ads, Pages, and Beacons
Earlier last week, Facebook continued its march to dominate the world in all things Internet related. And whenever the Facebook developers even breathe, we here at HackCollege are here to report the news. Facebook rolled out three new products. To help explain, we’ll address each of them separately.
(New) Facebook Ads
With their new system, Facebook promises more targeted ads to each user. How do they do this? They scan any “Interests,” “Activities,” “Favorite Movies,” “Favorite Books,” and other information in your profile. The advertisers buying the ads will never know that you specifically like the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Instead, the advertisers merely choose to serve ads to all people who list the movie in their favorites.
Although the ads are sifting through your personal information, Facebook promises that there is nothing to fear:
Behind the scenes, we’ve instituted a system that tailors ads to you and your interests, which should make ads more appealing. Advertisers never have access to who is seeing their ads, personal information about you, or even what social actions accompany their ads.
According to TechCrunch, the backlash for these ads has already begun. Other than their blog post, Facebook has made no mention on the News Feed to alert users of this new advertising scheme. That’s something we give a whole-hearted “=\” face to.
Think of Facebook Pages as profiles for businesses and celebrities. They’re a little more formal and sophisticated than Facebook Groups and they must be created by the person/group that owns the business or is the celebrity’s agent.
The Facebook team is definitely on to something with their Pages, especially with the ability to plug in other applications compatible with the Platform. Here’s what they have to say from their blog:
We noticed people wanted to connect with their favorite music, restaurants, and brands; but there was no good place for these types of affiliations to exist. Now, there is a place for them and you can become a fan of whatever pages you choose in order to interact with your passions in new ways.
This is great for small sites like us, because now we can syndicate our content a little bit easier. We are also no longer limited by the number of Facebook Apps that will work with a Group. Developers will be able to design and adapt current and new Facebook Platform Apps to work with Facebook Pages.
This is probably the thing that HackCollege is most excited (and scared) about. Facebook Beacons further confirm our [fear/hope] that Facebook is taking over the world. These Beacons allow outside sites to plug in with Facebook through a special protocol. Apparently this functionality is a big deal, since the New York Times is adding the Facebook Beacon functionality to its website aside from creating its own Facebook page. Here’s how the Facebook blog describes Facebook Beacons:
You now have the option to bring actions you take outside of Facebook back in. Just as Facebook shares your on-site interactions with your friends through News Feed, we now give you an option to let News Feed share your off-site actions with your friends as well.
Beacons on outside sites allow users to echo information back to Facebook. The quintessential example is eBay or Amazon; buy something on one of these sites and have the site echo your purchase back to your Mini Feed. Stalker-ish? Slightly. But it is optional.
Because the Beacons are the edgiest new feature, they also have the most potential promise. While echoing my shopping sprees on Facebook does not sound like the best use of technology, it instead could automatically add the album I just bought to my “Favorite Music” or something to that effect. A simple example, but slightly useful nonetheless.
How Are You Dealing With the New Features?
Let us know in the comments!