Facebook will release a new marketing tool allowing sellers to see how many Facebook users clicked on their ads and bought their stuff, according to an exclusive Reuters report out today.
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The new feature will be announced on Friday, said Reuters, describing it as an effort to compete with Google's data-driven advertising service.
The identities of the Facebook users who purchased goods will not be revealed to marketers, according to the company.
David Baser, a product manager for Facebook's ads business, told Reuters providing better purchasing information to retailers is "absolutely crucial" to the one-billion-strong social networking site's future.
Facebook Inc's revenue growth has not been as strong as expected since going public several months ago.
The new "conversion measurement" tool has been a long-standing request from retailers, Baser told Reuters.
The feature targets more "direct response" marketers, like travel websites, said Reuters -- in other words, companies that value immediate sales over long-term marketing.
It's easy to see why, said online marketing specialist Debra Aho Williamson. "It lets marketers track the impact of a Facebook ad hours or days or even a week beyond when someone might have viewed the ad," she told Reuters. "That allows marketers to understand the impact of the Facebook ad on the ultimate purchase."
Facebook said the new product is expected to be available by the end of November.
The company does not reveal the exact amount of advertising revenue generated by individual retailers, but Pivotal Research Group analyst Brian Wieser told Reuters brand marketers and local companies are believed to constitute the majority.