Anyone wanting to use the personalised commerce search app TheFind may be disappointed to learn that very soon the service will be paused. Still, they should not despair. TheFind, recently acquired by the Internet giant Facebook, will be back, most likely bigger and better with an injection of resource and a platform which will give them a huge opportunity to “scale their expertise in product sourcing to the 1 billion people who access the Facebook platform”. The future looks good for TheFind then. But what does this acquisition say about Facebook’s shift towards product advertising, and what does it mean for the ad industry?
TheFind uses algorithms to crawl the web to find personalised search results for its online shoppers, technology which Facebook seemingly plans to integrate into its advertising activities, to further increase ad relevancy. The social network can then better optimitise users’ advertising preferences, based on this rich data, which will only consolidate Facebook’s advertising successes further.
Facebook’s advertising revenues totaled a staggering $3.7 billion (roughly £2.5 billion) in the fourth quarter of 2014 alone, up 58% on the same period in 2013. Increasing the Silicon Valley firm’s ability to tailor its ads will harness these already impressive figures.
The acquisition of TheFind clearly works towards Facebook’s objective of ‘connecting people to products’, yet whilst this is good news for Mark Zuckerberg and co., other advertising platforms are likely to find advertisers becoming ever-more demanding as to click-through ratios and sales conversions, simultaneously reducing wasted expenditure on unproductive ads.
Some might argue that the acquisition also says a lot about Facebook’s repeated (and often failed) forays into e-commerce; could we soon see Facebook offering a one-stop shop for the entire online shopping process, from capturing interest through an advert right through to purchase? For now though at least the acquisition clearly entrenches the company within the advertising and retail sectors.