On Thursday, Facebook announced the launch of a new "Nearby Friends" feature, which enables people to see when they're friends are close to their own location. How close? A spokesperson for the company tells WebProNews that the feature recognizes when friends are within a half mile radius of one another.
Businesses may be wondering if they can tap into this feature, and target these friends with ads. They can't. At least not yet.
AdAge shares a quote from the company, which says: "The answer is no, we are not using data from Nearby Friends or Location History to target ads right now. Currently, advertisers can target ads based on location. To determine location, we use things like people's current city that they list on their profiles, and their IP address. We do not currently target ads to people based on GPS coordinates." Emphasis added.
It sounds like Facebook is using its wording to leave the feature open to the possibility of ad targeting in the future. We'll have to wait and see.
The feature does enable users to share specific locations with their friends, so if they are indeed nearby, they can meet up somewhere. It shows their friends on the selected meeting destination on a map. One could imagine where a business could want to be that place where they meet up.
Businesses do have the luxury of appearing in another mobile Facebook feature, Nearby Places, but the new feature caters to users who are specifically looking to go somewhere, and it's really about who they're meeting, so the meeting place could often be undecided initially. That could be a good opportunity for businesses to swoop in should Facebook ever decide to add targeting capabilities.
It might not be great for an insurance agency, but it could be helpful for a movie theater, a bar/restaurant, or a store.
Image via Facebook