Included in this data is the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) of consumers, including name, address, phone number and in many cases, email address. In this manner, Datalogix has compiled purchase information on over 70 million US households.
Essentially, for a set of marketers, Facebook is sending over the Facebook IDs and sign up email addresses of people who have seen a particular ad. Datalogix is then matching that email address to its compiled database by email address, to determine if that individual actually bought the product featured in the ad.
Datalogix also appears to create some sort of holdout sample or control group of people who did not see the ad. Now, Datalogix can report on the increase of purchases of that product in the group that has seen the ad and those that haven’t, providing an extremely rough measure of the effectiveness of seeing that ad on the social network.
To Facebook and the marketers who advertise there, the consumers will remain anonymous. Datalogix is not, as far as we can tell, doing anything other than analyzing data and reporting results.
Is it a bigger invasion of privacy than the actual retailers sending detailed purchase data to third party firms without end user consent? Certainly not, but that practice has been in place for decades, and is considered standard operating procedure. Is it a dangerous invasion of privacy? On the surface, no, as consumer data is kept anonymous both from Facebook and the marketers themselves.
What is lost beneath the surface here is that this partnership makes Datalogix that much more powerful, as it is being paid to attach Facebook user IDs to its already vast proprietary database of purchase information. While we are sure that Facebook has instituted all kinds of contractual controls over how or even if Datalogix can use that data, we are coming ever closer to the day when all data about everyone who uses the internet or shops in stores (hmmm, everyone?) is fully connected together.