Here’s How Facebook ‘Matches’ You with Ads – And How You Can Set Ad Preferences
About once a week I see an ad on Facebook from a leggings company that shows a girl in "regular" leggings and then in the name brand leggings. The premise of the video is that the girl bends over in both pairs and shows off how much you can see. Well, surprise surprise, in the bargain leggings you can see her panty line and her whole undercarriage. Ew.
Okay, you know what... thanks but no thanks.
I hate these ads and every time I see them, I give feedback but yet, I still see them. Then, today, I went straight to the source and what I found out was pretty interesting.
Have you ever clicked on your Ad Preferences in Facebook? It's pretty eye-opening to what Facebook already knows about you.
First up are businesses. I went through and deleted all the businesses and business types that I don't want to see ads on. It goes by your search history on Facebook and then they "super serve" you by showing ads in the same vein. Interests are determined based on your activity on Facebook, such as your engagement with certain Pages and ads.
Then you go to Advertisers and Businesses. Think you are just another brick in the wall? Think again, you are big money. These advertisers have run an ad in the past seven days using a list uploaded to Facebook containing your information, typically an email address or a phone number. Facebook matched the uploaded information to your profile, without revealing your identity to the advertiser.
Next up, let's find out a little about you. I mean, it's out there as public knowledge but you can fix that. Everything from your job and relationship status are public info. Some of the ads you see are because advertisers are trying to reach people based on information they've provided on their profiles.
Now, are you really ready to jump down the rabbit hole? You can get a quick overview of the entire process in which Facebook matches you with ads. For example, they track your activity on both Facebook, it's properties, and other websites and apps. Hmmmm looking for a new vehicle? Don't worry, Facebook is there to help! They'll show you an unlimited amount of ads to help you find the right one! Sign up for a newsletter recently? Don't worry, those businesses share your info so you can be served up the best ads possible! When you share information like your phone number or email address with a business, they might add it to a customer list that can be matched to your Facebook profile. We can then try to match the ad to the most relevant audience. (FYI WE DO NOT DO THIS so feel free to sign up for our newsletter right here!)
And finally, they track your location. Last week, I was in New Orleans and I kept noticing ads from bars that popped up in my newsfeed. Handy? Sort of. Creepy? Absolutely! You can turn your location services off here.
But, you can set your preferences to hide all of these things. Now, you won't be served ads that are related to the things you are in the market to buy but your information won't be as "out there" either.