Down the Rabbit Hole
Last week, I promised to take you farther down the rabbit hole of managing your personal ad preferences on Facebook to help you have the best possible experience on this app. So, grab a torch / flashlight. Here we goooooo.......
Now that you know how to successfully hide individual ads on your timeline, let's talk about how to get better control of the types of ads you see overall. Head on over to your Facebook Profile. See that tiny black arrow in the upper right corner? Click it and you will see a drop down menu. Scroll down and choose "settings" (not "manage ads"). In the settings menu, on the left hand side, is another menu (see pic). Choose "Ads." This will take you to a page called Your Ad Preferences, where you can start managing what content you want to see. There are six categories here that you can manipulate to improve your experience. At the bottom, you can click to see more information on how Facebook ads work. But, let's face it – you're never going to do that. No one does, don't feel bad. :-)
The first area you should check out is what Facebook sees as your interests. You may be stunned to find the things Facebook thinks you are interested in! As I was researching this for you, I discovered I apparently have an interest in 2D computer graphics, AOL, cattle, and Twerking. I was able to delete these interests by hovering over the box, and clicking on the "X" in the upper right hand corner. Voila! No more twerking on my Timeline! There were also tons of things in which I really am interested. Just leave alone anything in which you may have a genuine interest. This helps FB deliver content to you that is more relevant. They are going to deliver ads. So help them do a good job!
Next, check out "Your Information." Here you can decide to share your relationship status, employer, job title, and education with potential advertisers. Or not. I'm a pretty open book, myself. I prefer not to get ads for dating sites, so I am keen to let them know I am not in the market. If they know my job title, and employer, I am unlikely to get ads for jobs I would never take in a million years. What you share will determine the relevance of what you see in your feed.
Most important are Ad Settings. You are well aware that Facebook, and many other companies are collecting data on you based on your internet habits. This section allows you to tell Facebook whether or not it is okay for them to use that data to deliver you ad content. That's right - you have (some) control over how Facebook uses the data they collect.
The first area is "Ads based on data from partners" and covers data collect by Facebook from themselves and their partners and subsidiaries, such as Instagram, WhatsApp, and others. You can choose to allow or disallow.
The second area is "Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere." You know how you may be searching the web and looking at a great pair of shoes, and then leave that website to scroll down facebook, only to find an ad for the exact same pair of shoes? That is not coincidence. It is tied directly to this preference. You can also choose to allow or disallow Facebook to use this data to deliver ad content to you.
You'll see in the screenshot above that I have allowed Facebook to use my data to deliver ad content to my timeline. I actually think this is a good thing! I am going to have to see ads. So they may as well be as relevant to my interests as possible! Disallowing this data use simply means that Facebook will be shooting in the dark and delivering ad content to me that may not necessarily be relevant. I find irrelevant ads far more annoying than relevant ads. But - if you are someone who gets freaked out by the Orwellian nature of this type of data mining, feel free to disallow. Just don't blame me when your Timeline is filled with ads for Snuggies and ear hair trimmers!
The last area is "ads that include your social actions." If a I am a friend of yours and I like a page for a local winery, chances are very high that you will see an ad for this same winery on your Timeline with a little note that says I like it. In this section, you can allow Facebook to tell your friends that you like that winery, or not.
So that's it! Easy-Peasy Lemon-Squeezy! You are in now total control of the ad content you see on your Timeline!
Stay tuned for next week's blog where I will tell you all about, or show you how to do something else cool. I'm not sure what, yet. I'm open to suggestions! In the meantime, since this was a bit of a long and boring post, please enjoy "Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos" as a reward!