The social media site will launch a feature next week that will allow advertisers to use email and telephone lists they’ve collected on their own to aim ads at customers they have yet to connect with on Facebook.
According to a Facebook spokeswoman, email addresses supplied by both Facebook and the advertising companies will be hidden from the party that did not originally possess them, and advertisers aren’t supposed to have access to additional user data.
Early testing showed advertisers were able to double their “fan” bases in two weeks, with each fan acquired at record low cost.
[I]t starts with a customer list that a business has already created — for example if I’ve given my email address to the bookstore on my block so that I can hear about future sales and events. Businesses will be able to upload those lists of email addresses, phone numbers, and user IDs to Facebook, though the data will be hashed first so that Facebook doesn’t have access to that information. Meanwhile, Facebook’s user data will be similarly hashed, so the company can compare both sets of hashed data, creating a list of users whose contact information matches up with what the advertiser uploaded.
After that, businesses will have the option to target their ads at that group, or they can further target their content towards a certain demographic within the group (say, females between 25 and 45). The simplest use case: Most businesses have loyal customers who aren’t Facebook fans, so they can create an ad for those customers asking them to become fans. Advertisers can also offer deals — an auto repair shop could tell customers that they’ll get a free oil change if they become a fan. It’s applicable beyond brick-and-mortar businesses too — an app developer could target lapsed users with an ad outlining the features in a new update.