Stop The Spam: You Can Control The Facebook Ads You See [Weekly Facebook Tips]

“Why are you getting dating ads from Facebook? Do you visit dating sites?” This is just the sort of questioning you do not want to get from your partner. So, why is Facebook showing you these ads? And how can you make them stop?

We all know that Facebook needs to make money somewhere, and therefore advertising will most likely be around for ever. But that doesn’t stop us from wanting to opt-out of adverts or at least make them more useful for us.

How Can I Control The Facebook Ads I See?

Sadly, there is no one-stop answer to this question. There are a number of things you can do to make the adverts you see more appropriate, but in the end it depends on who the advertisers want to advertise to. If you fit the bill, you will see the advert.

The best way to make the Facebook adverts you see more relevant to you is to fill out as much detail as possible in your Timeline’s About section and by adding Life Events. By doing this, you will not only fit the criteria for more advertising campaigns, but you will exclude yourself from irrelevant campaigns (if they have filtered their campaign audience well).

Because the information in your Timeline is often best kept private, you will want to ensure you have set your privacy settings correctly. Be sure to filter information according to what your friends should know about you, too. Just as you might not want your boss seeing photos of you with your friends, not all of your friends need to know your relationship status, employment situation and the like.

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Think Like An Advertiser

When advertisers place adverts on Facebook they have a process they go through to choose their audience. As Facebook is happy for anyone to pay them money, anyone with a Page or an app can actually go through the advert process at any time and see how advertisers choose their audience.

These screenshots above show the process of choosing an advertising audience for a campaign. You’ll see that the audience can be filtered to show:

  • Location (Country/City)
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Specific interests
  • Broad Categories, such as: Family status, mobile phone type, movie genres, music genres, sports, travel destinations, big life events, general activities, etc.

If you’re in the US, the data collected on you is even more specific. Through cookie-tracking and data-matching, marketers are building a profile on you through what you actually purchase. It is possible to opt-out of Facebook’s tracking.

How Does Facebook Know All This About Me?

This information about you is collected from your Timeline’s About section, life events, relationship status, family connections, interests, hashtag usage, check-ins, etc. The more Facebook sees from you, the better they can categorize you for the advertisers. And if you fit an advertising campaign perfectly, they will show you that campaign rather than a more broad-reaching campaign. In essence, the advertising you see will be more tailored for you.

It’s actually fascinating to see the advertising change when you add certain life events. Females who have just become engaged see a startling amount of wedding-related adverts and the beginnings of the baby-related adverts. Newlyweds can naturally expect a barrage of baby-related advertising.

Make Sure Your Image Isn’t Used In Advertising

On a related note, if you are keen to make sure your image isn’t shown in Facebook adverts to your friends, change your privacy settings in the adverts section. Click on “Edit” and choose “No-one”.

Does Anyone Even Click Ads?

No-one expects that you’ll even click these adverts as Facebook advertising works with demand-generation in mind. The clicks aren’t as important as getting the advertising to your eyeballs. That is to say that later, when you need to buy something, you’ll recall product xyz as you walk the store aisles.

How Do I Get Rid Of Facebook Advertising Altogether?

If you’ve read all this and decided it would be better to just block Facebook Advertising, Adblock is a great tool to do the job.

I Could Just Lie To Facebook

You could just lie to Facebook. You could create a read-only Facebook account and enter whatever data you like. However, if you lie about the important stuff, like name, age and gender, you can probably expect Facebook to shut your account one day. And if you lie about the rest of the data, what exactly does that achieve?

What do you do to control the advertising you see on Facebook? Let us know your tips!

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