The ads you see on Facebook may soon look a lot like the ads you see on Google.
Marketers are now able to take keywords from your search query on Google (or Yahoo or Bing) and use that information to offer you more targeted ads in your Facebook feed.
That's thanks to ad technology created by Facebook ad partner Kenshoo Social. Kenshoo's technology is still in beta, but won't be for long. The company says that many of its clients should have access to the service in the coming weeks.
If you click on an ad that results from a search query, marketers can use Kenshoo to pick out keywords from your searches to better target you on the social network.
For example, if you search for "red running shoes" on Bing and click on a Nike ad that surfaces, Nike will recognize the keyword that surfaced that ad (probably "shoes") and then send you shoe-related ads on Facebook, too.
Previously, companies could target Facebook users that visited their sites with ads based on their interests on the social network. But the new technology offers up the search keyword that resulted in the site visit, something that was previously unavailable to marketers.
In other words, companies don't just know you visited their website, they know what you searched for that led you there. And now they can follow up with you on Facebook.
"For the first time, there's a gateway, there's a bridge between [search data and social data]," says Doug Chavez, global head of marketing research and content at Kenshoo. "Search, whether it's Google or Bing or Yahoo, is a massive data base of consumer intent that has largely gone untapped" by social media.
Facebook and Kenshoo worked together on the technology, but their partnership is not exclusive, according to a Facebook spokesperson. That means other marketing companies (and Kenshoo competitors) could build similar tools, a move that would still benefit Facebook.
Kenshoo's tool works by matching up anonymous Internet cookies from Facebook and the search engine, but user queries are not scanned in full. Nike, for example, would not be able to read every word you typed into your search query; the company only gets to see the specific keyword that triggered the ad.
"If you're providing a better experience for me, or helping me get a better product at a better price or get better information, consumers are generally pretty fine with that," says Chavez. "I don't see this as big brother at all."
Kenshoo is also a Twitter Ads API Partner, but wouldn't say whether similar technology is in the works for Twitter marketers.
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