Rotten Tomatoes Exec: Facebook’s Instant Personalization to Bolster Ads

Rotten Tomatoes says that becoming Facebook’s fourth Instant Personalization partner will help bolster the content site’s ability to serve targeted ads. The program – which plugs websites directly into Facebook’s publically set user ID data for first-time and repeat visitors – will also enable Rotten Tomatoes’ to target social-based paid placements, Joe Greenstein, co-founder of the movie site’s parent company Flixster, told ClickZ on Friday.

Facebook on Friday unveiled Rotten Tomatoes as its newest partner for Instant Personalization. The program was announced in April with launch partners Yelp, Pandora, and Microsoft’s Docs.com as part of the Palo Alto, CA-based site’s new social graph. Many industry watchers believe that the insights-rich data stream it provides partner sites could be a boon to display ad click-through rates.

rotten-logoFor example, Greenstein said the data will let his site better target ads to comedy aficionados. He said Web viewers who hit the Like button for comedy movies on either Facebook.com, RottenTomatoes.com, or any other site will be served ads based on that shown preference.

The data from Facebook will be combined with Rotten Tomatoes’ data within the site’s ad-serving system, Greenstein said. He said that his site’s user data – stored by IP addresses and registered user accounts – dwarfs the Facebook profile data his company will have access to at the partnership’s onset. Though, the Rotten Tomatoes co-founder said the two data sources could prove to be a powerful combo – especially in jumpstarting relationships with new visitors. And, Greenstein suggested that Instant Personalization would also help his firm’s ad sales.

“We might have a marketer who wants to advertise in our comedy channel,” he explained. “We have an algorithm for locating people [who] have consistently liked comedy movies in the past. And we would target ads to that group of users.”

Finally, when asked whether or not Instant Personalization could cause a reader backlash, Greenstein replied: “I really don’t think so. What we see is that our users enjoy the social experience and a vast, vast majority of them want to connect with friends and see what they have to say about a movie….[And],we are a movies site. We are not exposing people’s health records or credit cards. We are not exactly messing with the most sensitive data on the Web.”

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