Facebook will now let advertisers put digital ads in front of people who previously visited their real-life stores or those of their competitors.
Although companies like Google offer offline measurement that helps marketers figure out whether their online ads led to physical store purchases, Facebook is now serving ads to people based on their physical travels. Its advertisers can also buy against larger groups of so-called lookalike audiences that resemble physical-store visitors in certain ways , or exclude people who have already visitied certain retailers -- for promotions aimed at new customers, for example.
Large Facebook advertisers can also serve ads to people who actually made offline purchases, as well as to their lookalikes.
Initial buyers include KFC, Dick's Sporting Goods and Macy's, according to Facebook.
"This allows businesses to close the loop on their advertisements," says Gabriel Francis, product manager of offline sales at Facebook. "Twenty years ago, during the advent of online advertising, we saw that people didn't just want to understand the impact of their digital ads on individual purchases. They also wanted to use that information so they could optimize their ads in order to find their best customers and find the optimal conversion rate and then use that information to improve their advertisements so they could be really efficient with their ad spend."