Facebook Ad Transparency Highlights Importance of Targeting

Facebook MobileTo provide a more relevant experience for its 1.3 billion active users, Facebook has revealed the inner workings of its interest-based advertising to consumers, offering a new feature that will allow them to choose the types of advertisements they see in their feed as well.

In a recent news release, the social network included a video describing to users how ads work and why users see what they see. As advertisers know, there are a wide range of targeting options to choose from – including age, city and interests, the latter determined by the types of Pages they like, which types of posts they click on, and information from the websites and apps users like.

Now, users can provide feedback to Facebook about the ads being shown by clicking on the arrow in the upper right corner. Options include “I don’t want to see this,” “Hide all ads from [advertiser],” “This ad is useful,” and “Why am I seeing this?”

Clicking “Why am I seeing this?” opens a new window that reveals which of their interests caused the ad to appear, with the option to change or remove interests as well.

For users, this is a useful way to create a more personalized ad-viewing experience, and for advertisers, it emphasizes the importance of targeting properly.

In the video, product manager Jake Brill explains that despite set preferences, sometimes users still see irrelevant ads because the brand has chosen to reach a “broad, nonspecific audience.” An ad could potentially reach the 1.5 million people in and around a certain area with these options, for example, but if only a fraction of people are interested, the message will fall on deaf ears.

Facebook now has 15 targeting options for advertisers including location, age, gender, precise interests, broad categories (but still fairly specific, such “small business owners” or “has a birthday next week”), connections, friends of connections, relationship status, language preference, education and more.

Taking advantage of the specific targeting options will personalize the consumer experience, foster engagement and create a better relationship between the user and the brand.

According to the news release, users in the U.S. will gain access to their ad preferences over the next few weeks, giving marketers some time to refine their promotional strategies.

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