Facebook has moved to let its users understand why they see more advertised content than random posts from family and friends on their timeline feeds for its shared applications; Messenger, Facebook and Instagram unlike in the past. The social media network is also trying to ward off distress as to why users see specific Ads on their news feeds.
Facebook newsfeeds have declined from averagely 1500 to at least 300 as the platform transforms from just being an interaction platform to where organizations and businesses connect with the world by sponsoring their content. It is now and advertising space, where the creative and those who spend the most have are more visible.
Content on each users’ timeline is no longer based on what’s recent but largely tied up with content that has attracted more interaction and a series of advertisements. In a random feed Facebook sought to explain the changes and help users understand how and why they see the adverts appearing on their individual pages. In some cases, content advertised by Facebook also shows up on other sites as Mobile and web-apps as pinned or as pop-ups.
“Our advertising product tools, we let businesses and organisations connect with the people who are most likely to be interested in their products and services. We believe the ads you see across the Facebook family of apps and services should be useful and relevant to you,” says Facebook in their statement on Ad Experience.
Businesses prospect on your account
To begin with, Facebook advertisers are the ones who choose who and where they want to their content channeled to basing on your age, gender, location interests among other factors. As a business, for instance a cosmetics dealer with a physical store in Nairobi and seeks to advertise on Instagram and Facebook, they indicate who they wish should see their cosmetics products advert based on potential customer demographics. Most of the customers could be Female, aged 18-40 and probably live in urban areas or within the capital.
Building their money making goals
To create an advert on Facebook and Instagram, a business or organisation chooses a goal, such as selling a product or increasing awareness of their brand name. The goals can also be growing page likes or visits to their site. In a simple step click, they then tell Facebook which categories of users they feel should be reached by the advert to be put up on the social platforms.
This is followed by the business proceeding to create the ads to be displayed on Facebook, Instagram and other websites and mobile apps through advertising tools that Facebook provides. Given the sites have users’ data and stalk everyone’s online behavior, they show users the adverts based on the following;
Your activities on Facebook
The pages you and your friends like are an indication that you have something in common and you would probably be interested in an advert from a business whose page your friends follow. This is why an online shop page you do not follow will appear with a list of some of your friends who like it at the top.
Information from your Facebook and Instagram profile also determine the type of ads that appear in your feeds. This ranges from what your bio reads, your posts and posts that you frequently engage with when attaching a reaction, sharing, liking or commenting on a random post.
The places you check into using Facebook also put you out there as an audience and a prospect customer for a particular ad post. You may feel excited that Facebook tells you to stay dry, rain is in forecast in Nairobi or wherever you are but this tells you they know where you are living. They will definitely show you an advert that an advertiser has asked them to send to people who are in that particular area and they all make money.
Personal information you shared with a business
Many times you share personal details with businesses. This information such as your phone number or email address can be added it to a customer list that can be matched to your Facebook profile when the business is advertising online. Mostly people share such details when signing up for loyalty programs, participating in surveys or making purchases. It ends up being of more value to the business when they want to have any of their ads reaching you through social media.
Other online activities away from social media
Facebook has an online coding system that businesses install on their websites to help monitor and build their audiences for advertising. This technology known as Facebook Pixel is responsible for helping a business know you as a potential customer on Facebook. Businesses and Facebook techies track you from each time you visit their site, download or use their application, make a purchase or simply add an item to an online shopping cart even without completing a purchase. This way, businesses reach the right people, measure their ad results and are able to drive more sales by having their advertisements around each of your social media and online paths.
Whenever you log onto any device, Facebook can always tell your location through the IP address of your phone, tablet or the computer you are using. The technology also leverages on your location on social media profiles and when you use GPRS location services to determine which adverts they will push to you.
However, you can control what to see
If you feel what you see on your social media does not interest you or offends you, Facebook has given you the power to edit and review Ad preference settings. You can SEE AND REVIEW what determines the adverts that appear on your feeds.
The fact that all these data is available for Facebook to help aid their Ad packaging, Facebook says it does not read its users’ emails and have an audience network through which advertisements are distributed to appear on websites and other apps that are not necessarily part of their family.