Forget the fluffy promise of increased engagement. Facebook knows the quickest way to make more money is to give advertisers what they really want: immediate results. The social network is doing just that by opening up its News Feed to retargeted ads, eerily aware messages that marketers love and members won't be able to miss.
Facebook announced Tuesday that it had started a small test to let advertisers and agencies use Facebook Exchange (FBX) to serve retargeted ads -- specifically called "Page post link ads" -- to your News Feed, which, of course, is Facebook's prime real estate. These ads take into account people's browsing behavior outside Facebook, as captured through cookies, with the aim of offering up messages about products they've already shown interest in.
Previously, Facebook was only letting advertisers pitch members with these types of ads, which link out to landing pages and allow for conversion-tracking, in the oft-ignored right-hand sidebar of the site. Now that the ads are running in News Feed, Facebook members can't ignore them. That's great for advertisers, fantastic for Facebook, especially as its under pressure to boost revenue, but it's a risky maneuver that reminds people that they're always being watched.