Have you ever seen an ad on your Facebook Timeline and wondered how the heck it got there? Well, it has to do with something you posted, or something you clicked on at one point in your personal Facebook history. Without getting too technical, Facebook collects a tremendous amount of data from its users, which it then uses to power its advertising system. If you have never looked at the level of specificity that an advertiser can winnow their ads down to, you will be in for a shock. It’s more than just age, gender, location, etc., but it goes right down to the hobbies and interests of users, which is all based on the information they collect as described above.
I asked my husband to look into what the advertising preferences are on his Facebook account, as he has never cleaned these out before (more on how you can clean up your preferences and eliminate unwanted ads in a moment). Below is a list of some of the most interesting preferences, ranked for relevancy.
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats
- Ottawa Senators
- Canadian Football League
- Little Free Library
- The Office (TV show)
- Kingston, Jamaica
- Liberal Party of Canada
Not very relevant
- Online shopping
- Love (John Lennon Song)
- Freight Transportation
- Phil Spector
Overall, Facebook was accurate with the things that my husband is interested in. He does enjoy hockey, Canadian Football, The Office, and as a new father, coffee, infants and sleep are definitely interests! He claims to never have heard of the John Lennon song Love, I know he isn’t a big gambler, and he’s never driven a big rig, so who knows how those preferences were logged.
Now how can you find your own ad preferences, and even more important, how can you remove interests that aren’t really interests? Follow these steps below:
- In the top right corner of your Facebook Timeline, click on the downward arrow and select Settings.
- On the left-hand panel, click Ads.
- Click the top option, Your Interests.
- Navigate through the different categories of interests. To remove an interest, click the top right corner of the ad preference tile.
Quick link to ad preferences: https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences/
I used to clean-up my ad preferences to ensure Facebook had created an accurate profile for myself. Now, however, I check back every few months to check the accuracy of the data they’ve collected on me. To that point, I do manage a number of social media profiles for clients, everything from HVAC equipment to real estate and everything in between, which does alter the accuracy of my profile. After reviewing my husband’s profile, I decided to check my own. Here’s what I found:
- Online Advertising
- Bird Observatory
- Brock University
- Kingston Ontario
- Outdoor recreation
- Woodworking (Surprised you with that one, eh!?)
Not very relevant
- Recycling (Don’t tell my husband)
- Reclaimed lumber
All said, Facebook did a good job at creating an accurate advertising profile for me.
What did you find for yourself?
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