Facebook just allowed search retargeting firm Chango into its ad exchange, which means that advertisers can now use Chango's trove of search data -- including info it has collected from Google users -- to target Facebook users with ads.
It's a significant move for Facebook. Previously, advertisers could target Facebook users with their own data collected from "cookies," the little pieces of software that web sites drop onto your browser as you surf the web. That data tells advertisers what you're interested in -- cars, volleyball, whatever -- but it often doesn't indicate what you're shopping for.
Search data, however, does. Anyone searching for "Prada shoes" is likely interested in buying some. This is called shopping "intent" data.
Until now, Facebook has had very little ability to serve ads based on intent. Mostly, its ads are based on demographic data from your profile. Who you are, not what you're buying, so to speak.
Chango has 300 million "search profiles" it's collected from the various publishers it has worked with. And yes, a lot of that data comes from Google searches. (As a technical matter, it's not actually data that Google has given to Chango, rather it's data from Google searches that Chango has collected itself by dropping cookies on users' browsers.)
Given that the Facebook Exchange (FBX) already boasts higher than average returns for advertisers using it, adding search data to the mix seems like a significant challenge to Google's dominance of the area. As AdExchanger's Zach Rodgers puts it:
The move is notable in that it represents an incursion by Facebook on the “intent currency” of Google (Bing and Yahoo too), after a period of failed efforts by the search giant to capture Facebook’s social graph data to enhance its own core search functionality and advertising.
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