Recently, we told you 3 ways Google knows what ads to show you. Facebook is similar to Google in the fact that much of the information they use for advertising is information you have provided while using the platform.
According to Pew Research Center, it’s estimated that a little over half (54%) of Facebook users have adjusted their privacy settings in the past 12 months but most users don’t understand how the newsfeed actually works. Additionally, many users are not aware that the site uses their traits and interests for advertising purposes. Pew’s research also found that many users feel uncomfortable with the fact that Facebook maintains a list of user behavior and interests that can be accessed via the Ad Preferences page. Many users said this list was not accurate.
With all of that being said, what have you communicated to Facebook that you are interested in? Are your interests accurate?
Let’s take a look.
Your Facebook Ad Preferences
You can head to https://www.facebook.com/ads/about/?entry_product=ad_preferences to learn more about the advertising process on Facebook. As a PPC pro, you probably already know how this works, but you can easily find a link to how to manage your ad preferences and location data.
The above chart outlines the different ways that Facebook advertisers reach users with targeted advertisements.
How to Manage Your Ad Preferences
Clicking “Manage your ad preferences” will show you several different options, all of which I would recommend reviewing.
Let’s hop into each of these sections.
There will be a (likely) large list of interests across business and industry; news and entertainment; travel, places, and events; shopping and fashion; as well as additional options if you click the “more” dropdown.
If you hover above the specific interests, you will see why this preference or interest is saved.
If you’d rather not see ads from this advertiser or similar to this advertiser in the future, click the “X” in the corner.
This section will show you what advertisers might be targeting you via an uploaded contact list (audience), retargeting to you based on web or app activity, retargeting via ads you’ve clicked or advertisers you have hidden.
Apparently, I got on quite a few car dealerships’ contact lists.
If you’re not interested in these advertisers, click the “X” to opt out of future ads.
Have you ever gotten an ad about a life event? Facebook is likely pulling from the information listed on your profile. This section allows you to choose if your demographic information, company and job information, education, etc., can be used to provide more relevant ads.
Toggle these on and off as preferred. Turning these options off will not impact the information displayed on your profile.
This section can tell you what categories Facebook’s advertisers may be using to reach you.
This information can be demographic information (parents), how you access Facebook (WiFi vs. mobile devices) if you’re a page admin, how you might engage with political content, if you’re interested in entertainment, sports, etc., and potential consumer opportunities.
Below is what my categories look like. I recently moved, so it’s likely that Facebook thinks I might be in the market for a new mobile device and plan in the future. (Facebook is wrong)
However, some of my team members had much more about their shopping interests, hobbies, and demographic information.
If you’re not interested in any of these, you can remove these just like in previous sections.
Ads based on data from partners
This section allows you to turn on or off whether advertisers provide data about your activity off of Facebook products.
Facebook says “Ads based on data from partners. To show you better ads, we use data that advertisers and other partners provide us about your activity off Facebook Company Products.”
It also says that “Data from partners includes your use of partners’ websites and apps and certain offline interactions with them, such as purchases. We don’t sell your data or tell advertisers who you are.
Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere
This has to do with the Facebook Audience Network and whether or not you see ads on their sites and apps.
I found it interesting that this is the area that Facebook chose to put more information about interesting, relevant ads and how user’s ad experiences might be different if they make changes to what personal information is and isn’t allowed to be used. It wasn’t easy to find this page.
Hide Ad Topics
Alcohol, Parenting and Pets are 3 topics that you can mute for 6 months, 1 year or hide permanently.
If there are other topics you would like hidden, you can click “suggest other topics” and send ideas to Facebook for future additions.
Location Data Settings
In the Your Location section of the first menu I shared, you can click “Learn more about your location data” to see what data Facebook has on recent locations.
My data is off, but if yours is on, you can click “view your location history” to see a log of locations. When I clicked that button, Facebook made me re-enter my password and then said “Location History is off. Turning on Location History lets you explore what’s around you, get more relevant ads, and help improve Facebook. It allows Facebook to build a history of precise locations received through your device. Your Location History is private and secure. You can manage it in your location settings at any time.”
A good majority of my interests were accurate but there were some, like the car dealerships, that weren’t accurate any longer. Given the information I have provided Facebook, I do find these ad preferences to be more accurate than that of Google.
Were your interests and ad preferences correct? What could Facebook do differently? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!