Facebook watching your store purchases

The company is partnering with a consumer data firm to show a connection between its ads and members' buying behavior.

By Kim Peterson Sep 24, 2012 2:25PM
The biggest problem in online advertising is proving that ads can spur sales. Facebook (FB) is moving a step closer to that goal by following people to the grocery store.

No, Mark Zuckerberg's minions aren't stalking you in the dairy section. Instead, Facebook is getting mountains of data from stores about the purchases its users make. It's trying to make the connection between its advertising and what users buy.
It wants to show advertisers that it showed Joe Consumer an ad for Folgers and within days he bought a can of Folgers. If it can pull that off, well, its ad prices will go through the roof.

Here's how it works:

Facebook has begun paying a company called Datalogix, which has the purchasing information from about 70 million American homes, the Financial Times reports. Datalogic gets much of that data from loyalty cards at grocers, drugstores and other retailers.

Facebook buys that information and, using its dark magic, matches it with specific users. It relies on email addresses and other information people submit when they open a Facebook account. From there, it's very easy for Facebook to connect the dots. It shows some users an ad for yogurt, for example, and waits to see whether those people buy that brand of yogurt.Full Shopping Cart in Grocery Store -- Fuse/Getty Images

The two companies say they have measured 45 campaigns, the Times reports. And 70% of the time, every dollar an advertiser spends on Facebook gives it $3 back in incremental sales.

How obnoxious is this? There really is no privacy when it comes to Facebook. And users can't go on Facebook and opt out, the Times reports. Instead, they have to go to the Datalogix website to opt out.

Facebook and Datalogix say they anonymize the data and don't share information about individual users' purchases with advertisers. But privacy advocates tell the Times that Facebook shouldn't be doing this without express consumer approval.

Over at Marketing Land, Greg Sterling says tracking offline sales has always been the holy grail of online measurement. There have been a couple of privacy bills related to consumer data, but they have stalled in Congress, he adds. The Obama administration wants to push tougher rules to Internet companies, but even those rules would be voluntary.

The only thing that may get those rules going is a consumer revolt. But what's it going to take for people to finally be fed up? I can see a future in which we buy milk at the grocery store and Facebook sends an ad to our phones saying: "You really need Oreos to go with that milk you just bought. They're in Aisle 5 for $2.49."

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Tags: FB
14Comments
Sep 24, 2012 4:06PM
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Facebook becoming the next Homeland Security of the retail consumer.
Sep 24, 2012 3:39PM
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people actually look at those adds?
Sep 24, 2012 6:07PM
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I never joined facebook...Saw how much time others wasted on it...

Now Im seeing how much money others wasted on it...lol

Have NO Trust with facebook....

Sep 24, 2012 3:46PM
Sep 24, 2012 4:10PM
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Yeah, yeah.. they have been doing this crap for a long time... so...  nothing new here... they are doing it for obama, mitt and just about every other no count companies in the world.. that includes your local wal mart  AKA (china mart)....

 

so many people just don't care.. that is why this country is in the shape it is in.. NO ONE TO BLAME BUT THE GENERAL PUBLIC...

 

 

 

 

Sep 24, 2012 4:48PM
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EVERY PURCHASE YOU MAKE WITH CREDIT OR DEBIT CARD IS ON TAPE AND MORE THAN ANYONE KNOWS.IF THEY WANT THEY CAN WATCH YOU EAT DINNER.GET USED TO IT CAUSE IT'S ONLY GONNA GET WORSE.
Sep 24, 2012 4:32PM
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And of course we can trust the data from a private company paid by FB to tell advertisers the "truth"......really customer xyz bought tampons 4 days after we showed them an ad .....

Anyone who believes this magic bean show is an idiot.
Sep 24, 2012 6:03PM
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$2.49 for Oreos?? Where? Last time I looked they were going for $3.99 per package.
Sep 24, 2012 7:42PM
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 I can see a future in which we buy milk at the grocery store and Facebook sends an ad to our phones saying: "You really need Oreos to go with that milk you just bought. They're in Aisle 5 for $2.49." LOL. Nice. I see it already!
Sep 24, 2012 4:40PM
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SO DOES OUR GOVERNMENT AMERICA IS GETTING MORE LIKE RUSSIA EVERYDAY AND THAT'S OBAMA'S PLAN ONLY THERE WON'T BE A WALL CAUSE HE LETS EVERYONE IN.
Sep 25, 2012 11:02AM
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Facebook can do what they want to get ads and show specific ads. I have a pretty nice ad blocker on Chrome, so I never see any ads when I browse facebook at home. And when it gets to a point of the ads invading the mobile app, I'm sure someone will create a third party facebook app that doesn't have the ads, so I'll probably end up using that.
Sep 24, 2012 5:35PM
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Privacy is an ILLUSION.  Just accept it.

Sep 24, 2012 7:59PM
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Who care? So what if they know you are buying oreos, my neighbor probably could guess what im buying everyday.  If they want to waste their money putting adds on your fb who cares.  If that really effects what you buy then fine but i could really care less what adds I see.  It's the same thing as watching TV.  You dont have to watch the comercials or buy what they are trying to sell you.  and we live in an electronic age, of course companies know what you are buying, even if enough people cared that wouldnt change bc we all like the convenience of having a credit or debit card and the companies are rich, they just want our money.
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