Hey? How Did That Ad Get in My News Feed?

Have you ever wondered how businesses know to target you on various social media platforms for specific products they know will interest you?  How many times have you scrolled through your news feed on social media and come across ads that relate to you and your lifestyle?  It is almost creepy isn’t it?

The other day I was scrolling through my Facebook account news feed when I came across an ad for personalized children’s books.  I have a 4-year-old granddaughter so of course these ads catch my attention.  Not only did I click on the link but also purchased one of these books.

Why do these personalized ads pop up?  There are different ways that Facebook advertisers target audiences.  In my particular case, the advertiser did an excellent job targeting me and made a sale!

In an article by Josh Kirschner (August 2015) https://www.techlicious.com/how-to/how-to-stop-sponsored-posts-in-your-facebook-news-feed/, advertisers target there audiences in a number of ways.  The most popular would be to use your Facebook profile and target you based on your age, location and gender. 

In my example, after I purchased a personalized storybook for my granddaughter, I started to see advertisements on my news feed from different companies selling the same product. 

By Tracey German (Facebook)

This is an example of targeting based on purchasing behaviours.  In 2013, Facebook had collaborated with data brokers such as Epsilom, Acxiom and Datalogix.  Companies such as these have access to an extreme amount of data transactions as pointed out by Larry Kim (Aug 2019) https://www.wordstream.com/blogws/2015/01/28/facebook-ad-targeting.

Targeting based on web browser searches is explained best in an article by Josh Kirschner (Aug 2015) https://www.techlicious.com/how-to/how-to-stop-sponsored-posts-in-your-facebook-news-feed/

“You look at a pair of shoes on Amazon and then every site you go to has ads for that same pair of shoes. In advertising parlance, that’s “retargeting”. Facebook allows advertisers to “retarget” people who have visited the advertiser’s website or app off Facebook, which may result in more ads showing up in your news feed”. (“5. Ads Based on Your Use”, para. 1)

By Tracey German (Facebook)

How do you stop this re-targeting? As explained in an article from Christina Bonnington (June 2014) https://www.wired.com/2014/06/facebook-ad-tracking/  you can limit re-targeting for a specific advertiser as follows:

“First, you need to go the Digital Advertising Alliance here after you’ve turned off cookies and/or your ad blocker. In the middle tab, “Companies Customizing Ads for Your Browser,” scroll down to Facebook and tick the checkmark box to its right. You can do this for any other site on the list as well. By checking this, you are preventing these sites from performing “interest-based advertising” based on your browsing habits (collected by cookies). Once you’re done, turn that ad blocker back on, or install one if you didn’t use one before. Adblock Plus is a good cross-platform option, but there are a number of others.

If you use Facebook on your phone, you’ll also want to turn off ad tracking if you haven’t already. To do this on Android, go to Google Settings > Ads and check off “Opt Out of Interest-Based Ads.” On iOS, go to General > Restrictions > Advertising and switch on “Limit Ad Tracking.”” (“Stop Facebook” para, 3,4)

I personally don’t mind the ads that pop up on my news feed for the most part as they are mostly specific to my preferences and gives me great ideas for Christmas presents!

How do you feel about advertisements in your Facebook news feed?

Who is Creeping My Account? http://bit.ly/2MHX75r


Let’s Get Personal Facebook! http://bit.ly/2MHX75r


One thought on “Hey? How Did That Ad Get in My News Feed?

  1. Ugh I hate the ads and spend most of my time on Facebook turning them off as not relevant. Half the time i get ads that are not even for my area so it makes me wonder what the point is for the businesses to buy these lists.

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