Facebook on Wednesday announced it will begin allowing marketers to work with third-party data providers to better target ads through its Custom Audiences tool. It retargets existing customers on the site by uploading their email address or phone numbers.
The social network will allow marketers to partner with Datalogix, Epsilon, Acxiom and BlueKai to run Custom Audiences ads. Businesses that already work with any of these companies can now use the same information they’ve used elsewhere to create Facebook campaigns.
Facebook will also work with the data companies to create pre-defined categories, such as “soda drinkers” or “auto-intenders.”
Regarding privacy, the four new data partners would use the same matching process that Custom Audiences already employs to protect personal information exchanged between Facebook, marketers or third parties. Facebook hashes the user information, meaning that it encrypts the data in a secure way that can’t be decrypted to maintain user privacy.
Since the launch of Custom Audiences in September, Facebook and its ad partners have reported promising results. During the company’s fourth-quarter conference call, for example, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg noted that online shopping site JackThreads had a 30% lower customer acquisition cost using Custom Audiences than other platforms and saw six times return on ad spend.
"We believe the extension of custom audiences to include select third parties will further improve marketers' ability to reach the right customers on Facebook and will lead to more relevant ads. We will be rolling out these enhancements over the coming weeks, starting with marketers in the U.S.," stated a Facebook blog post today.