Facebook Asks Admins to Confirm Their Page Categories, Perhaps to Prep for Category Ad Targeting

Some Facebook admins are seeing a prompt at the top of their Pages asking them to “Confirm Your Page Category”. The alert explains that “Your Page’s category is now featured at the top of your page. Please check it for accuracy.”

As well as helping Pages to properly identify themselves to users, the request could help generate the data necessary to roll out category targeting to Facebook’s ad tool.

As part of the February 2011 Page redesign Facebook began showing a Page’s category at the top of all its tabs, and began allowing all Pages to edit their categories through the the Basic Information tab of the Edit Page admin interface. Facebook has changed the available categories over the years, though, so all Pages might no be displaying the most accurate category to their visitors.

Category labels help users quickly determine what a Page represents, even if they’ve never heard of the particular brand, person, idea, or activity the Page represents. This information can be important to making users feel comfortable enough to Like the Page. As well as through this prompt, Pages can edit their category via the Basic Information tab of the Edit Page admin interface.

Still, there may be additional motives behind this forward method of communicating with Page admins. Earlier this month, Facebook ran a limited test of a new interest targeting interface for its self-serve ad tool. Rather than allowing advertisers to select specific Pages whose audiences they wanted to target, such as the Page of the Green Bay Packers football team, they could instead target broad categories and sub-categories, such as sports, or football.

This could allow novice advertisers to easily create somewhat targeted ads, but disempowered experienced advertisers who were willing to handle the complexity of a more granular targeting system. Some advertisers who were forced to use the test interface complained, but if category targeting was added as an additional option rather than a replacement for specific interest targeting, it could prove useful to advertisers and earn Facebook money. For instance, shopping sites might pay more to target users who Like any Page in the shopping/retail category, because those users might be more likely to convert.

Asking Pages to provide more information about themselves to improve ad targeting would align with Facebook’s efforts to coax more biographical data out of users through the December 2010 profile redesign, and the “Which City Do You Live In?” sidebar module. While this data helps Pages represent themselves accurately, Facebook may have been more subtle about encouraging category accuracy if there wasn’t a more direct positive outcome for the site.

[Thanks to Amit Lavi for the tip]