Self-serve Facebook advertisers can use third-party data targeting to reach users by offline purchases, occupation and more

Facebook today announced the availability of new “partner categories,” audience segments created by third-party data providers that U.S. advertisers can use for targeting via Power Editor or the API. Grocery habits, occupation and car ownership are among the new options self-serve advertisers have access to on the social network

Partner categories are similar to Facebook’s broad category targeting, but they are created with data from third parties that many advertisers already work with, Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon. These categories are informed with transactional data, survey information and other online or offline behaviors. User profiles are anonymously matched, and Facebook only allows advertisers to target categories of users, not specific people. Nor does Facebook give advertisers any personal information about the users they target.

Through partner categories, advertising on Facebook could be better targeted and more relevant. Not only is this a boon for advertisers, but is important for users as ads become front and center in News Feed.

The social network started offering this type of ad targeting to its managed service clients earlier this year, but now any Ads API partner can offer this and advertisers working with the Power Editor will be able to choose these categories for campaigns of any size. Partner categories can be further narrowed down with Facebook’s other demographic and interest-based targeting options. This targeting can be used for any Facebook ad type across desktop or mobile.

There are already more than 500 unique audience groups available in partner categories. The addition of CPG categories from Datalogix such as “health food buyers,” “pet care buyers” and “premium brand buyers” give Facebook new accuracy that wasn’t available when advertisers were targeting people by what they expressly “Liked.” The new occupational targeting from Epsilon is a key addition as well. Previously, advertisers could target users by the company they were employed by or relevant pages they Like, but not by categories like “sales/marketing,” “health care” or “management” as they can now.

Facebook provided additional information and resources for users on its privacy page, including a list of partners and links to opt-out of this type of targeting.