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Facebook Will Track Shopping Habits
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Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
8/15/2014 | 1:25:36 PM
Shopping
I am much more likely to shop on my tablet than my phone, simply because I find the larger screen more convenient for shopping. Will FB data shine much more light on that trend?
Alison_Diana
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Alison_Diana,
User Rank: Author
8/15/2014 | 2:52:50 PM
Re: Shopping
Ditto, @Laurie. Companies should find this information useful when designing websites, apps, and processes. Obviously they can fit a lot more info on a desktop vs. tablet, on a tablet vs. a smartphone, and having to cope with the incorrect display is frustrating (viewing non-smartphone optimized sites on my iPhone drives me to distraction!). 
progman2000
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progman2000,
User Rank: Moderator
8/15/2014 | 4:38:53 PM
Re: Shopping
I don't trust the phrase "Don't Worry" with anything Facebook does...
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/18/2014 | 3:14:45 PM
Re: Shopping
@progman2000 you're smart :-)
Thomas Claburn
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Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Author
8/15/2014 | 7:21:38 PM
Re: Shopping
>Facebook can track and link activity on various devices since users must log in first to use the service.

This is why you should log out of Facebook.
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
8/16/2014 | 5:34:16 PM
Re: Shopping
@Thomas I agree with you. I feel in someway its the interfering with the privacy of an individual. This is one thing FB is banking on profits but can you feel what all others they are doing with your data behind closed doors.
Gary_EL
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Gary_EL,
User Rank: Ninja
8/15/2014 | 10:42:08 PM
Re: Shopping
Facebook knows so much about me and communicates it so well to ebay that I hardly have to think about what I want to buy - it's all there waiting for me as soon as I log in, with comments and recommendations. Don't worry about the NSA, they're amateurs compared to this crew.
stotheco
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stotheco,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2014 | 2:52:58 PM
Re: Shopping
The thing about Facebook is that people are willingly giving them all this information. The photos, personal info like names, school, birthday, and whatnot-- Facebook doesn't need to do much digging because it's all there.
zaious
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zaious,
User Rank: Moderator
8/18/2014 | 12:34:28 AM
Re: Shopping
@stotheco: the information you mentioned are from past (school, etc.). The key infromation is what you are buying recently or planning to buy. If you buy an iPad or Glaxy Tab - you are likely to buy a sleeve. If you are looking for Hawaii vactions, you are likely to buy tikets and book hotels. A famliy's puchase pattern can indicate that they are going to have a baby. We are, simply, exposed!
jastroff
IW Pick
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jastroff,
User Rank: Ninja
8/18/2014 | 1:10:16 PM
Re: Shopping
Yet another reason only to look at pictures of dogs and cats posted on Facebook
Susan Fourtané
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Susan Fourtané,
User Rank: Ninja
8/18/2014 | 3:24:28 AM
Re: Shopping
Stotheco, 

This is not about the personal data, photos, and things that people graciously choose to share with the world on Facebook.Tracking shopping habits doesn't involve any personal information. No one knows it's you the one purchasing X thing at X time on X Website on X device. You are a number there. 

Once the CEO of an eCommerce company explained and showed me how it really works, what kind of information the software gets, how it gets it, how it shows on a screen, and how it is actually used by a marketing department to better target products. Since then, I have seen these tracking shopping habits in a different light. I could understand it better and know that it doesn't intrude in your privacy. 

The result of tracking shopping habits is to show people better and more personalized advertising for increasing the chances of a purchase. So, instead of showing you things you would never buy you start seeing things that you actually like, need, or want. 

Another thing to think about is that if Facebook would be intruding in your privacy it wouldn't be happily announcing it publicly. 

-Susan
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/18/2014 | 3:17:09 PM
Re: Shopping
@stotheco you're spot-on. people may complain about facebook and its privacy implications, but in the end, they're the one giving up this information. Facebook is a free service, so there is some quid-pro-quo, but how much you give up is up to you.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
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8/21/2014 | 5:34:40 PM
Re: Shopping
I agree. I think this particular project is pretty benign, as far as users are concerned. As described, it's better to think of it as sociological data, or like a really granular census of our retail habits, rather than Facebook's interest in you as an individual. I don't really worry about that sort of thing. I'll worry when my car can talk to my insurance company, or when my fork tells my health insurer if I'm eating what I'm supposed to.
vnewman2
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vnewman2,
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8/21/2014 | 7:05:28 PM
Re: Shopping
@Michael - I'm with you on this - I'm not alarmed, nor will I change any of my browsing/shopping habits because of it.

The one thing that did alarm me is how, just the other day, Facebook posted that my friend "Likes" Facebook.  Said friend has been dead for 3 years.  

Ewwww.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
8/21/2014 | 7:09:21 PM
Re: Shopping
Agreed, I'd find that unsettling too. Ewww, indeed!
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Moderator
8/21/2014 | 9:30:55 PM
Re: Shopping
If I don't want my husband tracking my shopping, what makes Facebook think I wouldn't mind them tracking my shopping habits?
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Moderator
8/21/2014 | 9:37:24 PM
Re: Shopping
@Michael Endler, I hope I won't get flooded with more advertisement emails, as a result of Facebook tracking my shopping habits.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
8/22/2014 | 10:09:34 AM
Re: Shopping
not only is facebook tracking you on their website.  But they are hijaching user accounts for their marketing campaigns.  I guess now we can't even trust what our friends liked on facebook.
PedroGonzales
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PedroGonzales,
User Rank: Ninja
8/19/2014 | 11:22:47 AM
Re: Shopping
You are right.  If you are willingly giving your information to Facebook it can't be call invasion of privacy.  I think Amazon has a better chance because they know what you purchased and where you clicked.  Facebook can't determine whether you went to your desktop to purchase that item. 

 

 
freespiritny25
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freespiritny25,
User Rank: Moderator
8/21/2014 | 9:41:19 PM
Re: Shopping
@Pedro, Those are 2 valid points. I also suppose that if they are going to tell us that they will be doing this, it's not an invasion of privacy. We would be agreeing to it by continuing with our shopping habits on Facebook.
danielcawrey
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danielcawrey,
User Rank: Ninja
8/16/2014 | 12:25:47 PM
Re: Shopping
I certainly can see how this would be valuable to marketers, and it's just something else that Facebook can offer to its advertisers that perhaps no other company can do. 

Google should be able to do this as well – surprising that they aren't already. But maybe with this Facebook announcement, they will also release a similar product for marketers. 
nomii
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nomii,
User Rank: Ninja
8/16/2014 | 5:36:43 PM
Re: Shopping
@Daniel I agree. Its kind of "following the suit". I believe the success belongs to those who are courageous enough to take the initiative and in that sense FB is taking the lead. We expect other market joints to follow the suit sooner or later.
stotheco
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stotheco,
User Rank: Ninja
8/17/2014 | 2:52:16 PM
Re: Shopping
No surprise that Facebook is turning to this to monetize. Considering how ads and sponsored posts haven't really taken off on a grander scale, this will perhaps give them a boost in income.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/18/2014 | 3:20:46 PM
Re: Shopping
Altimeter's Rebecca Lieb wasn't sure this would significantly spike Facebook's revenue, but it could have a trickle-down effect. The more information marketers have about their campaigns, the better they're able to spend their money and achieve better results. This will boost their spending confidence.
Kristin Burnham
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Kristin Burnham,
User Rank: Author
8/18/2014 | 3:18:52 PM
Re: Shopping

@daniel I was surprised Google hasn't done this already, too. I'd wager they'll have something similar to offer advertisers and marketers soon.
Michael Endler
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Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
8/21/2014 | 5:21:02 PM
Old ideas change when everything can be tracked
In the abstract, what Facebook is observing isn't that surprising. Consider this:

The social network analyzed recent campaigns and found that of the people who showed interest in a mobile Facebook ad in the US, nearly one-third converted on desktop within 28 days. Facebook also found that people who showed interest in a mobile ad before converting were more likely to do so on a different device as time passed. 

To me, this is the digital equivalent of the person who liked a coat while window shopping, returned to check it out a few more times, maybe tried it on "for fun" one or twice, and finally, on the third or fourth visit, made the purchase. The behavior isn't new or surprising, but the context is wildly different, and so are the implications.

There's more planning involved in repeatedly checking out a desired item at the store; with a web browser, you have less logistical inconvenience to overcome, and less time to reconsider an impulse purchase (i.e. I doubt that the real world behavior I described results in brick and mortar merchants with a ~33% purchase rate per 28-day cycle, but I'm not surprised that online retailers manage this rate of success).

The other huge contextual difference, as others have pointed out, is that electronic behavior can be tracked much more easily than physical movement. A store salesclerk might become aware of your recurrent interest if you keep going back to admire the theoretical coat-- but a service that can track your browsing will definitely become aware of repeated visits to the coat's Amazon page.

Then again, before long, even of our behavior in physical stores might be mined for data. Your smartphone (or smartwatch, or connected eyewear, or whatever) will know when you're in proximity to stores, and when you enter them. It will be able to report to a "beacon" (or whatever they end up being generically called) where you linger, what objects are nearby, how often you return to certain locations, and, finally, when you buy. I think that's a natural extrapolation of some of the stuff Cisco and Apple have already talked about, for example, and an example of the way data will generate targeted ads, hopefully without feeling too much like Minority Report. That kind of service will (or at least should) require that users opt in for personalized ads, which is a bit different than the anonymized data described in this article. Still, I don't doubt that anonymized location data will be used similarly.



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