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Facebook Expands Advertising Options With New 'Partner Categories' Collecting user behavioral data from digital marketers, the social networking giant allows advertisers to target more specific audiences.

By Jason Fell

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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For businesses that use Facebook as an advertising tool, the social networking giant has a new feature that might make targeting specific customers even easier.

Facebook has released "Partner Categories," which allows advertisers to target their ads to more specific customers. Within Partner Categories, Facebook has assigned users to more than 500 unique groups based on their interests and buying habits. Advertisers will be able to target users who are specifically interested in aftermarket auto parts or, say, who purchase a lot of children's cereals.

Until now, advertisers were only able to show ads to individuals based on the interests they've indicated on Facebook. With Partner Categories, Facebook accesses behavioral information of its users -- such as the products they buy across desktop and mobile outside of Facebook -- via new partnerships with digital marketers like Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon.

Related: 3 Ways Facebook's 'Conversion Measurement' Can Help Improve Your Ad Strategy

"For example, a local car dealership can now show ads to people who are likely in the market for a new car who live near their dealership," Facebook said in a blog post announcing the new feature.

While advertisers will be able to see the size of each individual group within Partner Categories, they will not have access to information about specific individuals, Facebook said.

"Our ultimate goal is to make the ads people see on Facebook as relevant as the information they see from their friends," said Yvette Lui, Facebook's director of global marketing solutions, global data and audience partnerships, in a release.

Related: 4 Tips for Using Facebook's Redesigned News Feed

Partner Categories will be available to U.S.-based advertisers using Facebook's "Power Editor" advertising tool starting today. Pricing for ads targeted using Partner Categories is subject to the same auction bidding process as all other self-serve ad campaigns, Facebook says. Marketers can choose their bid price based on the suggested range during the ad creation process.

Do you think Partner Categories will be useful for your business? Does it raise privacy concerns for individual users? Let us know in the comments below.

Jason Fell

VP, Native Content

Jason Fell is the VP of Native Content, managing the Entrepreneur Partner Studio, which creates dynamic and compelling content for our partners. He previously served as Entrepreneur.com's managing editor and as the technology editor prior to that.

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