Facebook will soon start tracking every shop you visit in the real world.
Location services on smartphones will be used to track shoppers visiting bricks and mortar stores to convince retailers of the effectiveness of advertising with Facebook.
User data will be anonymised, so Facebook won’t tell retailers or advertisers who visited what shop, but will provide them with data that shows how online ads lead to physical shop visits.
The additions to Facebook’s Local Awareness system will also show users adverts for nearby shops and provide in-advert directions to find them. Facebook described the approach as a “native shop locator” that helps bridge the gap between mobile and physical shopping.
The adverts will also provide information about the shop’s opening times, phone number, website and give an estimated travel time. The new ads will be available to retailers and advertisers in the US in the next few weeks before launching globally in the following months.
According to Facebook, mobile is involved in 45 per cent of shopping journeys, but more than 90 per cent of all retail sales still take place in stores.
Results during Local Advertising trials have already been positive for Facebook, the company said. French supermarket E.Leclerc found that approximately 12 per cent of people who clicked on its adverts went on to visit a shop within seven days. The retailer reached 1.5 million people within 10 kilometres of its shops.
Facebook is also providing businesses with an ‘offline conversions API’ that will let retailers match transaction data from in-store sales with demographic information about shoppers.
Facebook’s year-on-year revenues grew 51 per cent to $5.38 billion in the first quarter of this year. About 80 per cent of that figure comes from mobile advertising sales.
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