How Facebook (FB) makes money can confuse anybody. Just ask Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who during Tuesday’s Senate interrogation of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg asked the 33-year-old how the social network stayed in business.
Zuckerberg’s four-word answer: “Senator, we run ads.”
But it’s how those ads come together that’s interesting, and everybody on Facebook should understand how the company can use its deep knowledge of our interests to attract advertisers anxious to aim their pitches at customers with the greatest potential returns.
Fortunately, Facebook’s ad machinery isn’t a secret; anybody who maintains a public page,myself included, can use the same basic tools to target ads at people by telling Facebook what kind of interests and demographics they want to attract — or exclude.
Address for success
Zuckerberg’s refrain “we do not sell data to advertisers” holds up on this closer inspection. Facebook has never let me see details about individual users or target them by name.
Facebook ads work the other way. You tell the social network what kind of people should see your ad, and Facebook obliges as best as it can.