Internet users are accustomed to the idea of targeted advertising. Both Google and Facebook take into account the things you look for online, the things you look at, the people you are connected to, and so on, and use this information to pelt you with ads they think you will respond to.
Having been forced to stop using data gathered from WhatsApp to deliver targeted ads to social network users, you might think that Facebook would consider toning down its ad personalization. But you would be wrong. For the last few weeks, Facebook has been testing the delivery of targeted ads to Roku and Apple TV based on what people are watching.
As revealed by a Bloomberg report, Facebook is gathering information about the shows Roku and Apple TV owners are streaming. It then uses the Facebook profile linked to the same IP addresses to tailor the commercials that are shown to individual users.
A Facebook spokesperson says that the tests are being carried out on the A&E network as well as Tubi TV. At the moment the test involves displaying ads for its own products and services, non-profit groups and a small number of well-known brands. If the tests prove successful, it is safe to assume that more advertisers will get on board and more commercials will be customized in this way.
While Facebook has long-relied on advertising — it is second only to Google in this regard — the company’s latest experiments show just how much importance it places on video. If the advertising venture takes off, there will be money to divide up between various streaming networks but, as Bloomberg points, tracking the efficacy of individual ad campaigns could be tricky.
And then, of course, there is the question of privacy…
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