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商业 - 科技

Facebook推出加密货币,助推广告业务

Facebook有很大几率能够获得大量关于用户如何花钱的新数据,而接受Libra的商家将可以投放更具针对性的广告。

Facebook公布了Libra加密币计划的细节,该计划雄心勃勃,想把像比特币这样的数字货币带给全球数十亿人。合作伙伴包括Uber和万事达(MasterCard)等数十家企业,可能重塑全球支付行业。但这对Facebook有什么好处?

首先,Facebook能用自己新的数字钱包Calibra与PayPal的数字支付应用Venmo等同类产品竞争,同时提供更便宜的跨境支付服务。Facebook的新货币Libra也可以帮助公司节省交易成本。但如果要猜一猜Facebook的主要动机,最佳答案是Libra计划能够帮助这家社交网络公司做它最擅长的事情:收集数据、销售广告。

具体来说,新货币能够让Facebook有机会在Instagram和WhatsApp上插入支付服务,用户在这些平台上看到广告后,可以立刻下单购买。

营销和电子商务高管向《财富》杂志表示,这对Facebook及其广告客户来说大有益处。支付行业初创公司Amino的首席执行官威尔·卢特雷尔表示,拥有数字货币能够让Facebook更好地和亚马逊不断增长的广告业务竞争。他认为,通过该项目,Facebook可以清楚地知道用户什么时候会受广告影响进行消费,从而向营销人员提供他们梦寐以求的确切的“投资回报”指标,Facebook能够在该领域实现前所未有的突破。

在营销技术领域工作了几十年的杰里米·爱泼斯坦在听到Facebook的项目介绍时也同样提到了亚马逊。

“该项目的意义在于可以形成闭环。它能把支付数据传送回Facebook,让Facebook知道谁在买什么。”爱泼斯坦说,“现在,Facebook不像亚马逊那样知道最后一步的情况。”

然而,一切的前提是Facebook有权访问其用户的支付数据。在Libra的项目公告中,Facebook明确表示,这两个系统互不联通,Calibra钱包将作为一个单独的子公司运营。

这很有可能,但是Facebook的承诺中包含一个免责声明,这点很重要。我的同事罗伯特·哈克特解释说,如果用户同意,数据可以相互混合。哈克特写道:“如果有人明确同意将他们的Calibra账户链接到另一个Facebook产品上——比如导入他们的WhatsApp联系人——就可以为数据共享打开通道。”

尤其是,如果Facebook问用户是否愿意把Facebook好友添加到Calibra钱包中,或者把该钱包接入Instagram进行购物,大多数用户肯定会同意。

结果就是,Facebook有很大几率能够获得大量关于用户如何花钱的新数据,而接受Libra的商家将可以投放更具针对性的广告,并能够准确地看到这些广告的效果。这就像在一天营业结束时打开收银机,知道每一美元的来源。

当然,并不是说一切都尽在掌握。要想在2020年推出Libra货币,Facebook还有很多工作要做,包括和一大批难驾驭的合作伙伴建立区块链网络。此外,它还必须说服用户试用这种加密货币。

区块链集团Consensys负责广告技术的阿兰娜·冈伯特表示,Facebook可能会推出奖励系统——用户完成观看视频等任务时,奖励用户可以用于消费的Libra。

“必须要简单好用,而且是你以前不曾拥有过的实用,就像你可以用Apple Pay订阅《纽约时报》(New York Times)一样。”她说,“真的很难强迫人们接受一种货币。”(财富中文网)

译者:Agatha

Facebook has revealed the details of its Project Libra crypto coin, an ambitious plan to bring digital currency like Bitcoin to billions of people worldwide. The plan will be carried out with dozens of partners, including Uber and MasterCard, and could remake the global payment industry. But what’s in it for Facebook?

For starters, Facebook will be able to use Calibra, its new digital wallet, to compete with the likes of PayPal’s digital payment app Venmo, while also offering cheaper cross-border payments. Facebook’s new currency, called Libra, could also help the company save on transaction costs. But if you had to guess Facebook’s main motive, the best answer is that Project Libra will help the social network do what it does best: collect data and sell advertising.

Specifically, the new currency gives Facebook an opportunity to bolt a payment service on top of Instagram and WhatsApp, and let customers make instant purchases in response to ads they see on those platforms.

Marketing and e-commerce executives tell Fortune this will be a boon for Facebook and its advertisers. According to Will Luttrell, CEO of payments startup Amino, the digital currency will let the company better compete with Amazon’s growing ad business. He predicts that Facebook will have unprecedented insight into when a user makes a purchase in response to an ad—delivering specific “return on investment” metrics that marketers crave.

Jeremy Epstein, who has worked with marketing technology for decades, likewise mentions Amazon upon hearing a description of Facebook’s project.

“It makes sense in terms of a closed loop. It will bring payments back in house and show Facebook who’s buying what,” Epstein says. “Right now, Facebook doesn’t know the last mile like Amazon does.”

All of this, however, is premised on Facebook having access to the payment data of its users. And in its Project Libra announcement, the company explicitly stated the two systems are not connected, and that its Calibra wallet will be operated as a separate subsidiary.

That may well be, but Facebook’s promise comes with an important disclaimer. As my colleague Robert Hackett explains, the data can be blended if users give the go-ahead. “If someone were to explicitly agree to link their Calibra account to another Facebook product—importing their WhatsApp contacts, say—then this would open up the data pipe for sharing,” Hackett writes.

It’s a good bet most users will give this permission, especially if the company asks them if they would like to use Facebook to add friends to the Calibra wallet, or to connect the wallet to Instagram to make purchases.

The upshot is that Facebook is likely to gain a trove of new data about how its users spend their money, while merchants that accept Libra will gain the ability to target specific ads, as well as see exactly how effective those ads turned out to be. Effectively, it will be like opening a cash register at the end of the day and knowing the source of every dollar.

None of this is a sure bet, of course. Facebook has much work to do in getting the Libra currency ready for its 2020 rollout, which includes building out a blockchain network with an unwieldy consortium of partners. And then it must also persuade its users to give the cryptocurrency a try.

According to Alanna Gombert, who leads ad tech at the blockchain group Consensys, Facebook will likely introduce rewards systems that give users Libra to spend in return for doing tasks like watching videos.

“There has to be an ease of use that you didn’t have before, such as when you can use Apple Pay to sign up for the New York Times,” she says. “It’s really hard to force people to adopt as a currency.”

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