Facebook and how much data it provides to advertisers

There are three types of demands that advertisers have the power to make:

  • More engagement or ROI
  • Lower prices
  • More data

As the online ad market weakens, balance of power will move towards advertisers and they will demand more from each of these buckets.  I touched on this when I wrote about Facebook last year and wondered how many sites that require user registration have provided personally identifiable reporting to their advertisers.

Some of the biggest websites share personally identifiable data tied to engagement data with their clients but I don’t know how pervasive it is across the industry.  Maybe it doesn’t matter because even sites that don’t require login or user registration are able to personally identify you now.

Getting back to Facebook– they have a new product where you can target users by email address:

Facebook for example offers a service that shows ads to groups of people based on email address, but only if advertisers already have that address. Facebook says that it doesn’t give people’s email addresses to the advertiser. via “Anonymous” tracking now includes knowing your name, email address and everything about you — just not your full browsing history | VentureBeat.

It doesn’t matter if Facebook shares email address with advertisers because Facebook is getting those email addresses from the client.  What matters is whether Facebook is sharing other data (first and last name, etc.) to tie to those users  back to impression, click, or other engagement data without anonymizing it.

Personally identifable engagment data is what advertisers are asking for so I suspect the industry will move that way unless rules or backlash prevent it from happening.