- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 5, 2015

Millions of businesses already rely on Facebook to deliver alerts and promos to fans and followers, but a new feature unveiled this week intends to give advertisers a better understanding of their clientele by harnessing the vast personal data collected through the social networking site.

Changes to the website’s “Page Insights” feature announced on Thursday now allows for advertisers to access certain information about nearby Facebook users, including age and gender, as well as details about the time of day potential shoppers are in the area and how far away they are from a given store.

Personal data, like pictures and names, aren’t provided to participating advertisers, and the metrics that are collected are first anonymised in order to prevent businesses from learning too much unique information about any nearby shoppers.

But coupled with another feature rolled out this week for advertisers — a tool that lets businesses with multiple locations send region-specific announcements — Facebook is appears committed to raking in more money from advertisers, even after announcing on Wednesday this week that ads sales increased 45 percent year-over-year to $4.3 billion last quarter.

“These are both ways for businesses with the insights product to understand the state of foot traffic around their [stores] and give them an opportunity to see how their ad campaigns affect that foot traffic,” Matt Idema, Facebook’s vice president of monetization product marketing, told Adweek.

“These are new capabilities for local businesses to create more relevant ads and drive better results through Facebook’s products,” he added to Forbes. “It’s a dramatic change for businesses using the Facebook products today.”

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