What f8 Means for Advertisers: The Ability to Target Users Based on Media Consumption

Advertisers will gain an important new way to target Facebook users thanks to changes launched earlier today at f8, we’ve learned after talking with two Facebook Ads and marketing executives. Facebook announced a new class of Open Graph applications that let users share what they listen to, watch, and read with friends. These news feed and Ticker stories will feature new “Listened”, “Watched”, and “Read” button. Advertisers on Facebook’s Ads API or who work with the Direct Sales team will soon have the option to target users who’ve shared through these apps or clicked these buttons, letting them reach consumers of their content that might not have Liked a related Page.

For example, rather than just targeting users who Like the band Coldplay’s Page, advertisers will be able to target any user who shared a Coldplay song through Spotify or another Open Graph application, and any of their friends who clicked “Listened” on a shared story about Coldplay. Granular targeting will allow advertisers to choose if they want to reach users who listened to a specific Coldplay song, any Coldplay song, or anyone who used the Spotify app. Advertisers will also be able to turn media sharing and usage of these feedback buttons into Sponsored Stories that turn what would have been news feed or Ticker stories into sidebar ads.

An added bonus of users sharing more about themselves and their behavior is that Facebook gain more data to power ad targeting. Facebook’s profile redesign last year made biographical data and interests more prominent, encouraging users to provide more information about who they are and what types of media and companies they care about.

Many users have interacted with more brands, artists, and pieces of media than they’re willing to list in their profile. However, they might be comfortable stating that they watched a movie their friend posts about. With the new feedback buttons, Facebook is turning these behaviors and activities into targetable information for advertisers.

At first, only music, video, and readable content will feature these new feedback buttons, but Facebook’s VP of global marketing solutions David Fischer tell us the site is considering releasing more, including a “Want” button for products. Soon developers will be also be able to create their own feedback buttons. This could bring these new ad targeting opportunities to more industries such as ecommerce, consumer packaged good brands, and games.

Here are some more examples of how the new ad targeting capabilities could be used:

  • A concert venue could target all users who said they listened to band to sell tickets for that band’s upcoming concert.
  • A band could target all users who listened to one of the songs off their soon to be released album about that album going on sale on iTunes
  • A big box retailer could target all users who shared or said they watched any movie starring Johnny Depp to sell a new DVD box set of the actor’s films
  • A film studio could target any user who said they watched a trailer of a new film that a friend shared after watching it on IMDB.
  • A tech conference could target any user who said they read an article on any of the major technology blogs
  • A baby clothing retailer could target any user who said they read on article about how to buy clothes for infants on a blog for mothers.