Welcome to Our Party, Facebook!

by 4Info facebook, "people based marketing", personalization

For years, digital marketers have been hell-bent on getting more and more precise in ad targeting. Facebook’s push for “people-based marketing” over the past few years has caught on, with everyone jumping on the zeroing-in bandwagon: recognizing and reaching specific individuals with specific messages.

Meanwhile, 4INFO’s been a lone voice in the wilderness, touting the value of identifying and targeting all of the decision makers and influencers in households, not just a single individual. Now, Facebook is joining ranks with us, announcing last week that they will give advertisers a way to target everyone who lives in the same household. Which is great news for marketers!

As we’ve always said.

Since 4INFO launched its platform in 2013, we’ve been providing brands the means to do exactly that – to know and reach everyone in the household across all of their devices. Throughout the years, we’ve upheld the importance of reaching everyone involved in the purchase decision – not just who the marketer believes the buyer is but also the influencers, which is often the spouse and even the kids. With Facebook now going to the effort of doing likewise, we welcome this as a validation of what we’ve known and said and done for years.
Here’s why identifying and targeting your message to the entire household is so important when you are running campaigns, and why it’s such a huge risk in people-based marketing to ignore the power of the family in purchase decisions. Consider this;

  • Who has ever come home and said, “Honey, I bought a car!”? It just doesn’t happen. In most households, big purchase decisions are rarely made by a single individual. Other family members are involved, either jointly making the decision or at least influencing them.
  • And it’s not just the big purchases, like cars, but everyday purchases too, such as the brand of soft drinks or the frozen food entrée or soap and toiletries being bought – even what cereal to buy!
  • What’s more, customer purchase data — which is used both for targeting and closed loop sales lift measurement after the campaign runs — is almost always available only at a household level.  Nielsen Catalina Solutions, for example, doesn’t know if the mom or the dad bought the six-pack of Coke.  They only know that a single frequent shopper card shared by all members of the household was used when purchasing the Coke.
  • Many devices are shared by multiple members of the household. So, while a tablet might be linked to the Dad’s email address, everyone in the household uses it.  Same with connected televisions.

If you’re only targeting your ad to the likely purchaser’s device, you’re not reaching all potential decision makers and influencers in the home. The big risk in that: If your competitor is reaching the influencers in the house as well as the buyer and you’re not, then those influencers may very well persuade the buyer to choose the competitor’s product instead of yours!

And so, by all means, we welcome Facebook to the party and thank them for joining us in this quest to enable brands to target consumers by household, not just by purchaser. 
Our means will be different:
  • Facebook doesn’t inherently recognize that multiple people and devices belong to the same address, since their deterministic link is an email address. To guess at household relationships, they have to use Facebook relationships and activities.
In fact, it appears that Facebook may be soon joining our other big party – tying online ads to off-line purchases – as implied in their other recent announcement. Of course we’ve been providing you the ability to determine when your digital ad resulted in an in-store purchase for nearly five years. But indeed – welcome to the party, Facebook. And we welcome the many others who will also soon join our party, since others tend to copy what Facebook does.

Looks like we’d better go stock the bar.