“If you aren’t paying for the product….you are the product” is a widely used maxim in Silicon Valley. Facebook has been the poster child for this for a while and it has just opened up another aspect of ‘you the product’. Facebook has just announced the release of its next ad product Atlas. What it’s doing is using all the data it has collected about you (it says always anonymously) and is making it available to the world of advertising beyond the properties they operate. Essentially Facebook will offer an ad tag to publishers and app makers all over the web. Then as the publisher or app loads the ad managed by Facebook, Facebook will use everything they know about you to serve a super targeted ad based on what you are interested in.
If you are a keen golfer Google will target golf ads to you as you search, it will target text ads to golf themed content and will chase you around the web with retargeted display ads as you view content on other sites like CNN. The problem with that approach is that it’s heavily dependent on cookies which don’t work on mobile devices and are increasingly less effective on desktops devices. Now Facebook will take all the info you have discussed and posted about to create a profile of your interests which doesn’t require search info or cookies to serve to you across different kinds of devices. It does that through the mobile Facebook app which tells the mothership that you are about to view an ad served by any app on your mobile device. It’s both clever and a little creepy and likely to further bolster Facebook in their ongoing war with Google.