In this blog post, we have explained how one can control what ads to see in their Facebook profile. Facebook is one of the most used social media platform with more than 2 billion users across the world. Facebook generates revenue by showing advertisements to their users in the news feed space & other locations such as right side column, instant articles, videos and many more. Facebook always try to show more relevant ads to its users who love to see them. So how Facebook knows what the users taste is and what they like? Facebook understand their users and define them based on ‘DATA’. User data is generated to Facebook in multiple ways and important among them are based on:
1. Information entered by user themselves while creating an account or while updating their Facebook profile: During this process users enter information such as full name, gender, age, email ID, contact number, location, education, present and past jobs, etc. So this becomes basic data about their user to Facebook.
2. Page likes & interest: Facebook users like & follow many pages from which they wish to get updates on their news feed. Users like pages that are related to their job, interest, about their city, college alumni groups / pages, celebrity, or sports pages which they follow. Users like pages based on their interests and hobby. So this becomes another set of data about their users to Facebook.
3. User Behavior & Activity: Facebook keep track of how users behave in their platform & what are their frequent activities. By doing so Facebook algorithm understand the user preferences. Here are few examples to make you understand better:
- Is user engaging more in any particular group? If yes, algorithm gives more preference for new posts from that group & shows them first in their news feed.
- Is user liking or messaging more to any particular friend? If yes, algorithm considers them as close friends.
- Is user “checked in” at multiple places over a particular period of time? if yes, Facebook considers that user as a ‘frequent traveler’
- Pages that are marked to “see first” in their news feed by users.
Above said are some different sources that generate users DATA to Facebook and based on this Facebook defines its users. To make it transparent and to abide privacy & data policy, Facebook allow its users to see what exactly it knows about them.
Here are the steps on how a Facebook user can control what ads to see in their Facebook profile:
1. Visit the settings section after logging into Facebook profile.
2. From bottom left click on “ads” option
3. This is the place where one can control what ads to see in their profile. The user data is grouped into “Your Interest”, “Advertisers you’ve interacted with”, “Your Information”, “Ad Settings” and “Hide ad topics”.
Now let us have a look at these one by one:
1. Your Interests: User data on ‘interests’ is sub grouped into categories such as Business & Industry, News & Entertainment, People etc. Under each and every sub group, one can see pages and topics listed as user interests. Upon moving the cursor Facebook gives reason for listing that particular topic / page as an interest of a particular user. User can delete any of these interests if they don’t want to see ads related to them.
2. Ads you have interacted with: Here Facebook users get the ads data which users are interacted with. This data is sub groups in to:
2.1) Advertisers who have added contact list to Facebook: Sometime Facebook users see ads that are not related to their interest or information that they have provided to Facebook. But these ads are targeted to users by advertisers who have a contact list with them and the data matches to the contact information provided by users to Facebook. So Facebook allows advertisers to target ads to its users if and only if the contact list data (uploaded by advertisers) matches to user data in Facebook.
Ex. Flipkart/Redbus can upload email IDs / phone numbers of their customers in Facebook ads platform and can show ads to Facebook users whose data (email IDs / phone numbers) matches to information uploaded by Flipkart/Redbus.
In this screenshot a Facebook user is seeing ads from many businesses since his / her data matched with that of information uploaded by advertisers.
2.2) Website or app users have used: Now a days many businesses install Facebook pixel (a small code installed on websites that tracks user data and page visits) in the back end of their websites, through which user data is tracked. If a Facebook pixel is installed in a website, Facebook automatically detects its users among all the website visitors and stores this data. Advertisers can use this data to re-target their website visitors and convert them as their customers. So users also see ads from businesses whose website they have visited or used their app.
And Facebook allows its users to hide these ads if they are not interested to see them.
2.3) Ads that are clicked by users: Ads that are clicked by Facebook users are stored in this sub group. Advertisers use this data to show ads once again to users who have already clicked on their ads, so that users can be reminded about their product or service once again. And one can hide them to stop seeing their ads.
3. Your Information: You remember us saying that Facebook collects user data while creating a Facebook profile and user behavior? Facebook shows user information under this section. There are two subgroups here:
3.1) About You: Facebook show ads to their user from advertisers who wish to reach audience based on information such as relationship status, employer, job title, and education.
As you can see in the above screenshot, an advertiser can target this user if they want to reach out to people who have mentioned their relationship status as single or people who have mentioned their job title as ‘owner/partner’. One example can be companies such as Cleartax or vakilsearch can show their ads to people who have mentioned their job title as owner/partner since they offer services to business owners. And Facebook users can hide these tabs if they no longer wish to see ads related to them.
3.2) Your Categories: As mentioned previously, users generate data to Facebook based on their activity and behavior on their platform. Some activities such as frequent check ins using Facebook at different locations, accessing Facebook from different devices, creating and managing a Facebook page, etc. Based on these categories about users in Facebook, advertisers can target their ads to right set of people who will be interested in their product or services compared to others. And users can cancel these categories if they feel they are not related to them or if they don’t want to see ads related to them.
4. Hide Ad Topics: Facebook also allow its users to hide ads that are related to alcohol, parenting & pets temporarily or permanently. Below is the screenshot showing the options of hiding ads related to alcohol for 6 months, 1 year or for permanently.
We believe you got an idea on how a user can control what ads to see in Facebook profile. If you wish to discuss & learn different aspects of digital marketing, do join our Facebook group from here: JOIN FACEBOOK GROUP on DIGITAL MARKETING