back to article Click on a Facebook ad on your mobe, then buy a thing on your PC ... Facebook remembers

Advertisers on global ad network Facebook can now pinpoint exactly which devices and computers people use to buy stuff through online ads. "Facebook already offers targeting, delivery and conversion measurement across devices. With the new cross-device report, advertisers are now able to view the devices on which people see …

  1. stucs201

    If they really want to analyse the effectiveness of their ads...

    ...then they should take a look at how many times they pay to show an advert for something that has already been bought - often from the same place.

  2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    World's favourite platform for whoring you from advertiser to advertiser...

  3. Charles Manning

    Why don't they track useful stuff?

    Like where the hell I parked my car last night.

    1. Philip Lewis

      Re: Why don't they track useful stuff?

      I think there is an app for that

  4. Ho Ho Hipster

    What they (and all online advertisers) don't track is how many serious / capable potential buyers are put off big-time by being tracked, spied upon, manipulated.

    The most significant effect such practices have is to tell me which sellers to avoid.

    The ones that treat me with respect (don't track / advertise at) but still provide good quality / real service are the ones I'm most likely to buy from / talk about.

    This is a message that all sellers of actual goods / services would do well to heed and all sellers of advertising (smoke-and-mirrors trade) would wish them not to.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    no real solution...

    A long time ago, I used to change my browser string to somethink like: RFC Compliant on CP-6 E00

    Until web pages stopped working because my browser was incompatible with their code.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Even in the unual even I click on any served ad (facebook or otherwise) I rarely buy at that point (in fact I can recall ever having done so). Generally I'll go back to the internet directly to the site.

    Without even more creepy behavior tracking they are only really going to get information on people who buy products and services immediately via their ad based click chain. (or mugs as I like to call them)

    So much focus on making facebook more creepy while losing track of the big picture of the fact there are real people out there not just facebookers (maybe facebook should link up with a payment provider just to fill the last hole in their dragnet for their marks)

  7. MrWibble


    So I'm on my mobile, I click on an ad from facebook for a penis pump, or whatever. But don't buy it.

    Then I log onto my desktop, and buy said item. How does facebook know that it's me both times? I'm on a different network, different device, etc. Unless they're reliant on me opening facebook on my desktop, finding the same advert and clicking through again.

    1. KjetilS
    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How?

      Remember the trick here is really building a catalogue of associated devices.

      You could associate the devices using a number of techniques:

      * IP (when using WiFi at home your mobile will have same IP as your desktop)

      * Geolocation (your mobile and desktop are in the same location in the evening)

      * Account (same account on multiple devices) - could also come from 'partners' devices which appear in all three of those techniques would be good candidates for being owned and operated by the same entity.

      1. SimonL

        Re: How?

        So when they say "annonymised" (is that how you spell it!) it isn't truely if they can track between devices....

        Scary stuff :(

        Oh yeah, I also get bombared with ads for stuff I've just bought......

      2. MrWibble

        Re: How?


        Thanks - that makes sense, the sneaky bastards! Whilst I do clear cookies regularly, it seems they've probably got a way around that too.

      3. F0rdPrefect

        Re: How?

        "* IP (when using WiFi at home your mobile will have same IP as your desktop)"

        As will everybody else's in the household, so they have no idea if an add linked to a sale.

        "* Geolocation (your mobile and desktop are in the same location in the evening)"

        I've never seen anything that gets my PC location right. They usually show my ISP location.

        "* Account (same account on multiple devices) - could also come from 'partners'"

        I'm glad I make sure not to have the same accounts for different devices. And to use a different signup ID and email for everybody I do business with.

  8. jb99

    Yeah this is why I block ads.

    I used to feel slightly guilty about blocking advertising and anything else like that. But between tracking like this, and video adverts that download and play without me wanting them to they have so abused it that I feel I am forced to. They have spoiled it for those sites doing ethical advertising, because I can no longer trust anyone.

  9. joeW


    A lot of people seem to have the mistaken idea that its only purpose is to convert into a there-and-then sale.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A public article correction..

    But it's services like these that keep Facebook free

    Please don't aid this misleading of the public.

    Facebook and Google are paid for by one in one of the most expensive ways possible for an individual: personal details. That is actually a very high price to pay, because you will be paying that forever. You can stop paying money, but you cannot change who you are.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A public article correction..

      True, it does keep Google and Facebook free.

      There is a fundamental difference however.

      Google IS an avertising company so it comes with the turf.

      Facebook IS NOT an advertising company and could have a paid-for ad/tracking-free version...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: A public article correction..

        Google could charge people to use their products in exchange for no ads and no tracking just like you suggest Facebook could, so I don't see how the two are any different. Both make all their money trading in personal information and advertising.

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