Facebook starts tracking app usage to target ads
Social networking giant Facebook is using a new way to deliver more targeted ads to its mobile users - by tracking the apps they use, according to a report on The Wall Street Journal.
Facebook plans to allow developers and advertisers to place ads for apps directly in a users' News Feed on their mobile devices, whether the consumer has noted an interest in that company or not, the report said.
Quoting people familiar with the company's plans, WSJ said Facebook can track what apps people have on their phones and then target ads based on that information.
It would then charge companies every time an app is installed on users' smartphones.
One of these people was quoted in the report as saying Facebook is considering launching the new mobile ad product on July 16, before it reports its first earnings as a public company on July 26.
The plan would be a departure from the past strategy of targeting ads based on a person's "likes" for a brand or company on Facebook, the WSJ noted.
On the other hand, the WSJ said Facebook can target mobile ads based on app usage because of its popular Facebook Connect feature.
The feature lets people log into various websites and apps using their Facebook identity.
Scenario, privacy concerns
One scenario cited by the WSJ report involves users who frequently play Zynga's "Words with Friends" can expect ads for other Zynga games on their mobile devices' News Feed.
But WSJ said some Facebook executives are concerned about a potential privacy backlash.
It said this may prompt Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to mention the new product in Facebook's earnings call with analysts, then launch it July 30.
While Facebook has 900 million users globally and more than half of them log in via a mobile phone, advertisers have been limited in reaching those mobile users. — TJD, GMA News
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