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IBM and Facebook Team Up to Refine Ad Targeting

Ad targeting mechanisms are getting more sophisticated as brands seek to reach consumers on an omnichannel level and make ads ever more personalized. On May 6, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM and Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook announced a partnership to help marketers deliver more targeted ad campaigns across multiple platforms.

The partnership will allow IBM’s clients to use Facebook’s tracking software and IBM’s analytics to deliver custom ads to its customers on Facebook. Consumers who have “liked” the clients’ brands on Facebook will receive targeted ads in their newsfeeds, based on their demographics and other interests. IBM also will push targeted campaigns to customers who visit the companies’ websites and mobile apps, if they have opted in to receive such offers.

Aimee Munsell, director of IBM ExperienceOne, IBM’s customer engagement arm, says that the partnership will make omnichannel efforts easier for marketers. “It makes it easier to connect the information about the customer that they have opted in to or provided to a brand to engage more relevantly in real time,” she says. “It lets them know that somebody who’s a Facebook fan of their brand has walked into their store, or looked them up on their mobile device, so they can provide [that customer with] a special offer for being an advocate of their brand. It’s about being able to engage in-context.”

David Haucke, senior product strategist at IBM ExperienceOne, says that the partnership allows for better ad targeting than e-mail marketing campaigns or other efforts. “E-mail campaigns are great, but this helps you bring in additional insights to optimize the channels you use and the offers you send. The critical mass of data that’s on Facebook, from a demographic standpoint to attitudinal data, is bursting with insights that marketers can use to design the right campaigns and offers, and reach people where they are.”

Blake Chandlee, vice president of global partnerships at Facebook, discussed the initiative at the IBM Amplify conference in San Diego on May 12. “We know a lot about the 1.4 billion people who are on Facebook. We know when they’re spending time on their mobile device, when they’re spending time on a tablet, when they’re spending time on a computer,” he said. “In the old days, marketers used to talk about eyeballs: clicks, CPMs, active monthly users. Facebook and IBM are moving toward how to drive real business outcomes. … We want brands to be first-class citizens on Facebook. We want the messages that consumers are seeing from brands to be the same quality that they’re seeing from their friends so that it doesn’t feel like interruptive marketing. We’re getting pretty close to that, and the relationship with IBM is a huge step in the right direction.”​

This article was originally published in the May 26, 2015, issue of Marketing News Weekly.​

Author Bio: Christine Birkner Christine Birkner is the senior staff writer for Marketing News and Marketing News Weekly. E-mail her at

Categories: Advertising,Communication,Strategies.