Facebook Tests Screen Tracking Software for Users

Facebook may soon know exactly which items or ads you considered clicking, but didn’t, according to the Wall Steet Journal. The new software, currently in test, would track a user’s cursor movements on the site, along with monitoring whether a user’s news-feed was visible on their mobile phone. Facebook says they’ll decide within the next few months whether or not the feature will be rolled out to all users.

The change would likely bolster Facebook’s advertising division, which could generate analytics on which ads users came close to clicking, and how often ads were visible on a user’s newsfeed. In order to catalog and sort through such troves of input data, Facebook will rely on a customized version of Hadoop, which it currently utilizes.

The big hurdle in rolling the feature out will be analyzing and making sense of the data in a short enough time to serve advertising needs. If they can manage this, they’ll be able to raise their rates, or charge more for the extra data. It might also help Facebook’s marketing image problem, which we reported on this morning. Having the ability to see which ads generated interest, but not clicks (or comparing the ratio of such interactions), would allow companies to fine-tune marketing campaigns for maximum conversion.

The new plan may be limited however by consumer’s increasing shift to mobile devices. While the software would track when exactly a user’s newsfeed as visible on their device, the touch-based nature of mobile wouldn’t allow for collection of cursor info. Which one of these analytics is ultimately more important for advertisers remains to be seen.


Born in Alaska, Cameron is now a resident of Nashville, TN. He graduated from Sewanee: The University of the South with a degree in English and Political Science. He enjoys following emerging technology and its impact on business. Follow Cameron on Google+, or email him with any questions or comments.

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