Did Someone Say #BlackFriday? Facebook, Instagram Wrap Up Holiday Audiences for Ad Targeting

Targeting Based on Keywords in Posts People Publish, Interact With

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A security guard stands at the entrance to the Facebook lounge at the Web Summit in Dublin earlier this month.
A security guard stands at the entrance to the Facebook lounge at the Web Summit in Dublin earlier this month. Credit: Aidan Crawley/Bloomberg

For any brands still looking to do some holiday shopping, Facebook is making a list of people whose attentions they might want to buy.

Starting on Thanksgiving and running through New Year's Day, Facebook and its photo-sharing app Instagram will let brands target ads to people who publish posts related to the holidays -- including shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday -- or interact with those posts. Brands can use this ad-targeting option for any ad format on either service, a Facebook spokeswoman said.

To pool together its holiday audience, Facebook is looking for holiday-related keywords in the posts that people publish to Facebook as well as the posts they like, comment on and share, and it's specifically looking for the people that publish or interact with those posts the most. That's similar to how Facebook grouped its Super Bowl audience for ad-targeting purposes earlier this year. And as per usual, the audience is aggregated and anonymized.

Facebook's holiday-targeting option is the company's latest bid to get a bigger share of retailers' budgets in particular. This year alone Facebook began letting companies add shopping sections to their pages, introduced ads that present full-screen product catalogs and began testing its own e-commerce marketplace. And it started to offer up more information about the foot traffic outside retailers' stores as well as new ways to drive those passersby inside a brick-and-mortar location.

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