Facebook has announced plans to team up with data marketing company Datalogix for an ad tracking study that has once again raised privacy concerns for the social media company. Datalogix will use e-mail addresses and other identifying data from Facebook and compare it to data from more than 1,000 retail loyalty card and other types of programs, representing about 70 million U.S. households, to find out if viewing ads on Facebook actually converts into purchases.
According to one recent study, Facebook carries almost 28% of the display ads on the Internet, and the company has come under increasing pressure from marketers to prove that their ads are effective.
However, some digital privacy organizations are claiming that the ad tracking efforts could violate the terms of Facebook’s recent settlement with the FTC over privacy issues, pointing out that users don’t have the option to opt-out of having their data used in the study directly through Facebook, although they can on the Datalogix website datalogix.com. The complaints also state that Facebook doesn’t give users enough information on how their data will be used. Similar concerns were raised about information used in Facebook’s just released Exchange ad program.
A Facebook spokesman responded that all of the data being used is anonymous and that they were using an external auditor to monitor their actions.
For affiliates the fact that Facebook is trying to offer more feedback on the effectiveness of their ads is a good thing. Privacy concerns that limit the the way Facebook can use personal data will have an impact on ad effectiveness. Stay tuned for more in this ongoing saga.
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