Many Facebook users will be happy to learn that the social network will soon roll out ad preferences, a tool that explains why specific ads are served to them and allows them to choose which interests should be used in determining the ads they see. However, some of those users may not be too thrilled with Facebook’s simultaneous announcement that it will also begin factoring in data from websites and applications outside of the social network, although it stressed that users can opt out of this form of ad targeting.
Facebook explained how it will target ads to its users based on websites they visit and apps they use in a Newsroom post:
When we ask people about our ads, one of the top things they tell us is that they want to see ads that are more relevant to their interests. Today, we learn about your interests primarily from the things you do on Facebook, such as pages you like. Starting soon in the U.S., we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use. This is a type of interest-based advertising, and many companies already do this.
Let’s say that you’re thinking about buying a new TV, and you start researching TVs on the Web and in mobile apps. We may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you’re interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV.
If you don’t want us to use the websites and apps you use to show you more relevant ads, we won’t. You can opt out of this type of ad targeting in your Web browser using the industry-standard Digital Advertising Alliance opt out, and on your mobile devices using the controls that iOS and Android provide.
And the social network explored the new feature from advertisers’ point of view in a post on its Facebook for Business page:
Enhancing interest-based advertising with information from websites and apps people use will improve performance for marketers by making sure your ads go to people who are the most interested in your products and services, and those who are the most likely to respond. These signals will improve our existing ad capabilities and be built into our existing interfaces. You don’t need to take any actions when creating ads or campaigns to take advantage of these enhancements.
We’ve also combined the terms for our conversion tracking pixel and our remarketing pixel (also known as custom audiences from your website and mobile apps). Marketers already using these features are encouraged to review these terms, which will apply to any continued use of these features.
As for ad preferences, Facebook wrote in the Facebook for Business post:
We’re also introducing ad preferences, a new tool accessible from every ad on Facebook that explains to people why they’re seeing a specific ad and lets people control which interests influence the ads they see. Reasons may include demographic information (an advertiser wants to reach women 18 through 34), location (people in Chicago), and interests (people who like sports), among other things. People will be able to add and remove interests to see more relevant ads.
Ad preferences allows people on Facebook to actively tell us the things they are and aren’t interested in, which means your audiences will become better-qualified over time. If someone doesn’t have a preference listed, you won’t be able to target them based on that preference. You will still be able to reach people who remove a preference or don’t have a preference listed if you target based on other preferences they have.
Ad preferences will start rolling out in the U.S. in coming weeks, and we are working hard to expand globally in the coming months.
Readers: Will you take advantage of Facebook’s ad preferences feature when it is made available to you?