Facebook is planning to record a user’s cursor details when browsing the social network, recording details such as how long users hover their cursors over ads, in a bid to offer better targeted ads while boosting product development.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Facebook’s analytics chief, Ken Rudin, revealed his corporation is ready to introduce a technology that would allow the collection of even more information about a web-surfer via cursor movements on your screen.
The technology works on the assumption that while a user is apparently aimlessly working their computer mouse or touchpad, pondering where to click next, their your brain is actually making many choices at a time.
The captured information will be stored in data banks, with immediate access “throughout the company”, according to Rudin.
This is invaluable for many purposes, such as product placement analysis or targeted advertising.
Rudin revealed that collected personal information is divided into demographic and behavioral.
The first deals with a user’s physical whereabouts and the places they frequent.
The second deals with their preferences, likes and loves.
For example, a user could ponder whether to click on a link about Rhianna’s new haircut, and then refrain from following it. However, that action will now be recorded.
Adrian Moxley, co-founder of search technology firm WeSEE commented on the new plans: “Facebook’s announcement that it is trialling new technology to track users’ behaviour online is not surprising and is a clear sign that Facebook advertising still needs to be more targeted, but the move also raises concerns about consumer privacy.
“While Facebook knows that understanding what makes people click on ads is important to its monetisation strategy, gathering data around how long users hover their cursors over elements on the page and whether their newsfeed is visible as they browse the site, may not necessarily be the most effective way to decipher which ad a user might be interested in. Furthermore, while individuals may expect the data they upload and share to be used for targeting ads, deploying this technology is inherently off-putting to users who see tracking their movements and site usage as a little too “Big Brother”.
“It is understandable that Facebook is looking to deliver the most targeted ads to its audience, as it needs to desperately increase engagement and click-through rates; however, this can be accomplished through means that are less threatening to its user base.
“For example, visual classification technology can be deployed to deliver ads that are relevant based on the pictures that users view and share on the site. Without being overly intrusive, this facilitates relevant targeted advertising without the need to track users’ movements and is far more user friendly as the content has been offered by the individual. For consumers, sophisticated targeting is a real bonus when so many of us are bothered by poorly targeted ads. However, if brands are to win long-term loyalty with this improved customer experience; they need to be transparent both about the data they are gathering and how this benefits the individual consumer,” Moxley concluded.
Read the WSJ report here