Concerned about your personal data being shared? Well, the latest news out of Facebook headquarters probably isn't going to make you feel any better. Starting today, Facebook is using the data it captures from you (and all of its other users) for its brand-new ad network, Atlas. It does so by serving up ads (even across non-Facebook sites) based upon what the company knows about you - which is considerable, to say the least.
The technology is called, "people-based marketing," and it allows Facebook to track every one of its 1.3 billion users on any communication gadget including desktop computers, phones and tablets along with other websites. And now, their advertisers will be able to do the same.
So what kinds of things will advertisers know about you?
They may know any or all of the following including: your age, sex, interests, local climate, hobbies, musical tastes, political preferences, whether you have pets, and the list goes on and on. And as far as their advertisers network is concerned (even if your identity remains anonymous as they say it will), you can be sure to see tailored ads and promotions coming out of the woodwork that align perfectly with your desires - and get this, no matter what device you are using.
Atlas harvests virtually all the data people reveal through this giant social media site as well as any others where users sign in with their Facebook credentials.
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg recently shared, "There is a huge shift to mobile and we're capitalizing on it by offering personalized marketing. Facebook has been built around people and focused on people since day one."
Omnicom Digital will be among the first to make use of Atlas for their clients PepsiCo Inc. and Intel Corp.
Maybe Omnicom CEO Jonathan Nelson said it best, when he explained, "(with this technology) You can get the right person at the right time on the right device. It's going to shift dollars, from more broadcast-oriented stuff to more finely tuned messaging." And he would know, since Omnicom is one of the first third party users of Atlas and a partner/investor with Facebook in the world of advanced digital tracking research.
And like I mentioned before, Atlas is going to reach people way beyond those moments when they're logged into Facebook. Instagram, for one, is a Facebook property. And if you are a company running ads there, Atlas will also allow you to see who saw them, looked at them intently, and if they eventually buy the advertised product.
Sure, there are going to be a lot of folks who are up in arms because their activities are being tracked. But, at least for the time being, Atlas says that marketers will not be given access to any data beyond what members have made available through their privacy preferences.
What about Facebook advertising outside of its main application?
Well, the social media giant doesn't seem to want to miss much traction here, either. This year, Facebook offered its advertisers network to software developers who could then run Facebook ads on their applications. And if that weren't enough, they also are in the process of acquiring LiveRail so they can serve video ads outside of Facebook.
So, unless you stop using Facebook and its other social media holdings, you are officially on notice. Fact: Your every move is being tracked. What might be even more amazing is that we have become so connected through Facebook, being tracked night and day - our wants and desires an open book to all - might not be enough to get us to stop using it.
All this with one caveat. Remember when I told you that, "Atlas says that marketers will not be given access to any data beyond what members have made available through their privacy preferences?" Well, here is an excellent way to lock down your privacy settings on Facebook, Google and LinkedIn that can help you keep unwanted advertisers and data miners in the dark.