Facebook Patent Allows Advertising Only to Important People


Targeting just important people is something that’s in the works at Facebook. The company’s latest patent demonstrates a smart way to target just important people, rather than the everyday consumer.

The patent shows that advertising just to celebrities, or heavy influencers, is possible. The patent works in a very simplistic yet smart manner. Using the company’s in-depth analytics, Facebook will attempt to follow the “influencers” that shared a post.

Essentially, if a post goes viral, Facebook will follow the trail back to the originator of the post’s success. Those users that are able to make a post reach the masses will be dubbed as influencers. The originator of the post will be an expert so to speak.

The main goal of the patent is to allow companies to target influencers so that their advertising efforts are bolstered as a result. Facebook has been quiet on the subject, but initial suggestions indicate that targeting these influencers will come at a much higher price. Famous, powerful or successful people will be those that are mainly targeted through the patent.

News of the patent broke this week, but the company has been using this technology for quite some time. Submitted in 2011, the patent has likely been integrated into the social network’s advertising platform already.

Google and Bing have similar patents to try and track down influencers, but none are as targeted as Facebook’s patent. Influencers can be users with smaller followings within specific niche groups based off of the patent.

Highly refined, advertisers will soon be able to target influencers in specific niches with granular control like never before. Concerns are already popping up to determine how this method will be able to combat spam influencers that receive massive amount of shares through spam or paid tactics.

Facebook now has a way to effectively put a price on your social habits.



  1. Udi A Barone on

    Jacob, thanks for the post.

    A question:
    Why do you think Facebook has been using the technology for quite some time?

    I’d like to add that this patent can also help out Facebook with its organic reach. I’m saying that because when an advertiser gets a social influencer as a fan, this influencer is more likely to get the organic posts of the brand because he and his friends are more likely to be more relevant and active in the brand’s subject matter.

    Bottom line is Facebook can win several birds in one shoot:
    1) More money – offer premium ad platform to target social influencers in order to generate market awareness, buzz and higher search results ranking (based on social signals)
    2) Better organic reach – brands would need to pay premium but would be able to get social influencers as fans who are much more likely to receive organic posts

    Moreover, Facebook would be able to integrate this technology with their new product ads system and target social influencers only with free products, VIP invites and other special offers. All to generate credible, effective and fully automatic word-of-mouth.

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