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Facebook seeks to optimise multiplatform shopping

20 June 2016 - 14:06 by Graham Miller

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Advertising is a key source of revenue for social networking giant, Facebook. And with access to anonymised data on the movements of more than a billion people, it can do a much better job of targeting ads than many of its rivals.

In the past week, it was confirmed that the firm will be enhancing its Local Awareness service, which provides ads to users based on their geographic position. To achieve this, it will be bridging the gap between safe shopping online and the high street by letting retailers know about the habits of their customers.

Because the data is being delivered anonymously, users are not at risk of having their privacy compromised. But, however, it will give outlets a better idea of where and when customers make purchases.

Smartphones are harnessed in almost half of all retail excursions, even if bricks and mortar purchases still make up the majority of sales. And Facebook recognises that in a multichannel world, being able to follow this journey from initial interest and research to carrying out a transaction is immensely valuable.

In addition, this technology will allow retailers to track how impactful their online ads have been in securing offline conversions, a capability which has previously been unavailable due to technological constraints.

Eighty per cent of Facebook’s £3.77 billion in revenues generated over the past 12 months come from mobile ads, according to Wired. Moreover, retailers clearly understand that this makes a major difference, not only influencing how people carry out safe shopping online, but also dictating their habits in the high street.

Some users may be concerned about the extent to which their movements are being tracked by Facebook, but the only way that social networking services like this can remain free is for them to make money from ads, which rely upon access to personal data.