Facebook hoses down privacy fears over major new ad features, including tracking users on third-party mobile apps and websites

Facebook has announced it is rolling out a range of new features for advertisers, including an increased ability to track user interactions on third-party apps or websites, as well as new call-to-action buttons for ads.

In a post on the company’s official Facebook business blog, the social media giant says its new Custom Audiences feature will allow advertisers to track a user’s behaviour through a third-party app or website.

Based on these interactions, advertisers will be able to customise the ads viewers see the next time they look at their Facebook timeline.

“By placing the Facebook remarketing pixel on their website, or the Facebook or third-party SDK in their mobile app, more marketers can now build Custom Audiences based upon the actions people take while visiting their site or mobile app — and then show deliver ads based on these actions,” Facebook states.

“For instance, a travel website with the remarketing pixel could use Custom Audiences to reach a group of people — say, people that searched for flights but never made a reservation — with a targeted message in News Feed: Come back for 10% off your next flight reservation.”

In a separate blog post, the social media giant defends the privacy implications for users of the new advertising feature.

“Let’s say you shopped for shoes on a shoe store’s website. Through this new feature, the shoe store can then show you the ad the next time you’re on Facebook,” Facebook states.

“But we won’t tell the store who you are – and we don’t need to receive any of your personal information from the advertiser to make this work.

“This tool works without exchanging your personal information. This means that advertisers don’t need to collect your personal information or share it with us in order to show you ads.

“[While] Facebook creates a list of people who should see a particular company’s ad campaigns. But we don’t make that list available to other companies, and we don’t use the information we receive through this program to build profiles of your interests or other activity.”

The social media giant also says it will give users a way to opt out of the new feature if they wish.

Aside from the new custom audiences feature, Facebook advertisers will be able to give users a range of additional options for interacting with ads aside from just like, comment or share.

As part of the new feature, marketers will be able to offer customers the ability to “shop now”, “sign up”, “learn more”, “book now” or “download” content as part of a new “call-to-action” button.

“When a marketer creates a Page post ad driving traffic to their desktop or mobile website, they will have an option to add a call-to-action button, which will show up in the lower right-hand corner of the ad,” Facebook states.

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