You probably already know that your Facebook news feed is full of advertisements. But have you ever been surprised to find advertisements for items you just searched for using your phone’s Internet browser?  Were you a little creeped out that Facebook could do that? Or maybe just curious about how they did it? Either way, here’s a little bit about how it works and how to turn it off (if you want to).

So what is a Facebook ad? According to digitalmarketing.org, it’s an ad on Facebook “that’s served to a Facebook audience based on user activity, demographic and profile information, device use information and off-Facebook activity.” Facebook is essentially analyzing everything you’ve ever liked, followed, clicked on, or searched for on the device you’re on. In the marketing world, this technique is raved upon because of how targeted it can be. I actually found it difficult to search for how Facebook ads worked because a majority of what I found was touting how great Facebook marketing is and why you should use it.

Beyond targeting a specific type of person, Facebook is also capable of targeting only those who have previously viewed a particular website. Businesses tend to like this because they know they’re reaching people already interested in their products. Facebook advertising also has a capability known as “lookalike audiences” where you can target users similar to a customized audience like those who already follow your Facebook page.

After hearing more about it, have you decided you want to turn off Facebook ads? Well, you can’t turn off Facebook ads completely or opt to see fewer ads, but you can turn off the targeted ads that use data about you to determine what to show you. Here’s how:

  1. Open Facebook
  2. Go to your Settings
  3. Find the Ads section
  4. Click Ad Preferences
  5. Click Ad settings

Once there, there are three different types of ads that you can turn off:

  1. Ads based on data from partners
  2. Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere
  3. Ads that include your social actions

There’s a description of each type of ad so that you can better understand them before deciding which ones to opt-out of.

In our connected world, it’s nearly impossible to prevent advertisers from seeing your online activity, but at least you can control how many of their ads you see!




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