If Facebook ads annoy you, the social media giant has a new tool to explain how you’re being targeted – and give you more control over what you see.
An ad education portal has been launched to demystify Facebook’s advertising business.
Facebook ads: What you need to know
Here’s how it works: Facebook’s advertising clients will define the user they want to reach — based on things like someone’s interests, age and location.
Facebook then shows ads to people who match the targeted audience.
So how does Facebook decide which ads you might like? Facebook says there are several ways, starting with your activity on Facebook and its other apps and services.
- Pages you and your friends like
- Information from your Facebook and Instagram profile
- Places you check in using Facebook
Some advertisers will try to reach people near a specific place. This is made possible thanks to the current city listed on your profile, your IP address and location data collected from your smartphone.
Information shared with a business
If you share your phone number or email address with a business, they may add it to a customer list that can be matched to your Facebook profile.
These are just a few potential sources of that information:
- Loyalty programs
- Magazine subscriptions
- Purchases at retail stores
Other online activity
Finally, your other online activity can impact the ads you see. Advertisers use what’s called a Facebook pixel – a piece of code for their website – to gather data on visitors.
For example, this can enable a business to target someone who added something to an online shopping cart.
How to take control of the ads you see
Now that you have a better idea about how Facebook advertising works, what can you do about the ads you don’t like? Facebook outlines three steps in its ad education portal.
Give feedback right from an ad
In the upper-right corner of every ad, you should see an “X.” If you don’t like an advertisement, you can hide it. This will reduce the chances of seeing that ad again.
You can also use this same tool to tell Facebook about ads that you do like.
Manage your ad preferences
Facebook has recently made it easier to view the information that influences the ads you see, and making a few tweaks could result in fewer ‘bad ads’ in the future.
Start by entering http://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences/ into your browser.
Once you’re at this page, you’ll see a list of interests. Some will make sense and others (like the ones listed below) will not. Click on an individual interest to see a set of example ads.
Don’t like what you see? Remove an interest from your ad preferences by clicking the ‘X.’
On this same page, you can also hide ads from advertisers who have your contact information and advertisers whose website or app you’ve used.
Manage ad settings
By going to your ad settings, you can choose whether you want to see ads that are based on things you interact with, which Facebook calls ‘interest-based ads.’
Turning off this feature won’t eliminate ads. They’ll just be less relevant to you.