Facebook is testing new ad targeting options that display creative beside content that is contextually relevant, similarly to Google’s AdSense but with one important difference — ads would be targeted in real time as conversations are happening on the social network. Irina Slutsky reported the test in AdAge earlier this week.
Facebook confirmed to me that they’re doing a test to surface relevant advertising more quickly. The tests are occurring this month for 1% of Facebook users, or more than 5 million people, according to the AdAge report.
Facebook has long targeted ads by users’ interests, but, with this reported test, it will begin adding users to interest groups very quickly by virtue of their posting their status or a wall post on a subject. Facebook doesn’t use comments on wall posts or statuses, chat, or messages, to infer interests.
For example, if I posted about growing strawberries, I could be immediately added to the group of people who are interested in gardening. Then, ads for garden supplies could immediately appear in the sidebar, potentially capitalizing on my current mindset.
Facebook’s latest ad efforts have centered around “Sponsored Stories,” which let businesses amplify — by having them posted in the right sidebar — organic actions that users have taken. For example, if a user’s friends ‘like” a Page, they’d normally see that news story in their News Feed. With Sponsored Stories, they could also see the same information on the right sidebar.