I wanted to learn more about changes in online advertising and I stumbled upon a recent article in the New York Times that discussed recent changes Facebook has made to their online ads. The article, titled Facebook revamps ads to compete with Google, explains what exactly these changes mean for business owners. Facebook now allows businesses to track which customers are coming to their website from Facebook. Businesses are given more decision power with their ads; they can decide where they want the ads to appear (on the newsfeed or to the side), which demographics they want to target, and even specify what the objectives of their ad are. This is due to Facebook adding a tracking pixel to their ads, so they can track who is clicking to the websites advertised. As the title of the article states, Facebook is making these changes to stay competitive with Google's advertising, which currently pulls in much more revenue for the company than Facebook.
What I thought was interesting was that this article was written mainly from the perspective of small business owners who were choosing to advertise on Facebook. The changes made to the ads were viewed largely as positive; they increased the revenue of the businesses investing in advertising and made it easier for the owners to narrow down who was their target demographic. The owners of these businesses could see exactly what kind of impact their ads were having, which was invaluable to them. I think that most of the authors of the articles this week would see these changes very differently. They might argue changes are not necessarily positive for Facebook users, as they involve tracking a person's online activity and targeting certain demographics. Although I'm not sure I agree with the points made, it was enlightening to see the argument for personalized advertising.