Facebook formally announced a partnership Wednesday with Acxiom and other global data companies to target Facebook users' profiles with unique advertisements.
Data supplied by Acxiom and others will be used to expand Facebook's existing custom audience tool marketers use to reach current customers.
Acxiom is one of four select third-parties Facebook will use to create "pre-defined or custom first-party targeting categories" for businesses to use as they plan to advertise on the website.
Two examples of those categories Facebook named in the announcement were "soda drinkers" and "people who browsed for a specific make/model on my website."
In another example, Facebook claims the partnership will allow auto dealerships to reach someone whose behavior has indicated he or she will soon purchase a vehicle.
Acxiom's corporate communications manager, Wyatt Jefferies, said Friday the company is still in the initial stages of the partnership, but Acxiom will offer data gathered through shopper loyalty programs so that brands advertising on Facebook can match their product ads to individual Facebook profiles.
Jefferies said he could not comment further on the nature of the data and the partnership with Facebook because both companies are "still working out the details."
Hendrix College Chief Information Officer David Hinson, whose presence in social media has been recognized by Huffingtonpost.com's Tech, said the pairing of Facebook and Acxiom is impressive.
"It does give you pause at the power of their marketing reach - with Acxiom's technology and Facebook's knowledge," Hinson said. "It's a big get for Acxiom, a good landing. Again, this is a potent combination."
Hinson, who admits to being "all over Facebook," said the website is already powerful.
"If I talk about chocolate chip cookies, the next advertisements I get in my feed are for chocolate chip cookies. It's crazy, and they'll be very powerful together. It's a big win for Acxiom to get access to that data. It could lead to a lot more reach for targeted marketing," he said. "Good for them."
As an individual, and not as the CIO for Hendrix, Hinson said the pairing gives him pause because Facebook's extensive market reach also has access to personal data.
Hinson said Acxiom has expertise in handing private data, but he worries Facebook changes its privacy provisions too often.
"It's a moving goal post. Facebook changes privacy policies continuously. You have to stay on top of the privacy provisions, and just when you think you have it nailed down, they change the game," he said.
In a media release, Facebook assured marketers would not have access to private data.
"This process is specifically designed so that we don't share private information about individuals with marketers," the release stated.
Hinson said privacy is always a concern, and privacy should be "jealously guarded," and shouldn't be shared on Facebook.
"I don't think you can take for granted when someone says they'll protect your privacy, that they'll protect it in the way you want it to be protected," he said.
The global data company Acxiom was founded in Conway, and is headquartered in Little Rock.
Other companies announced as partners with Facebook were Datalogix, Epsilon and Bluekai.