Why am I Seeing Facebook Ads?
For some online businesses, digital advertising is one of the main resources they have in place for generating revenue. As you scour the internet, you start seeing banners popup from recently visited websites thinking to yourself “what a coincidence”. The moment you jump onto your Facebook app, you start seeing these same websites talking to you like they already know you with “Hey, did you forget something?” Now this can be creepy on so many levels.
With some earnings companies can make, it is in their best interest to follow you around until hopefully, you end up clicking on their banner or ad and head back onto their website to finalise the interaction you initially had.
Facebook advertising is no different but compared to the minnows looking to make a few dollars here and there, the amount of data they have on their users is mind-blowing. This is not just data they have accumulated from you engaging with friends and family but also 3rd party companies and other partners that Facebook have on their books. It is a massive list and when it comes to “finding you”, simple actions as the following helps:
- Liking a certain page
- How long you play a specific video
- Location & Demographics
- On a companies email list
- Viewed a website
And the list goes on…
How to Stop Seeing Facebook Ads – Option #1
There are a couple of ways around this but will require some sort of interaction from your side of things.
Firstly, there are ad blockers.
These are 3rd party apps that you install on your browser, such as Chrome or Firefox, whose sole purpose is to to stop seeing Facebook ads on your timeline. One of these apps is called AdBlock Plus, which for those that just don’t like ads at all, can offer an almost ad-free browsing experience not only on Facebook, but across the internet. This app gives you the ability to stop video ads, pop-ups, advertising banners and more, not just Facebook.
There is a lot you can do with this app, so feel free to head over to their website to check it out.
How to Stop Seeing Facebook Ads – Option #2
Another option is a little more hands-on and in depth. You won’t be able to opt-out completely but it will help with what you want to see, especially based on your browsing habits. Ready?
- Jump onto your Facebook profile and click “Settings” (upper right-hand corner of the screen)
- Scroll down to the section in “Settings” marked “Ads” and click on it
- Under Your ad Preferences, go to “Ad Settings” and click on it for drop down options (if it hasn’t already)
You’ll be presented with 5 areas that you can adjust:
1. Your Interests
This is based on your activity on Facebook itself, including your engagement with certain pages and ads. Once you click into this area, you have the option to filter through all the profiles, whether it be pages or ads, that you have interacted with and simply remove each one manually.
You have multiple areas of interests to go through, including:
- Business and Industry
- News and Entertainment
- Hobbies and Activities
- Travel, Places and Events
- Sports and Outdoors
- Food and Drink
- Shopping and Fashion
- Fitness and Wellness
- Family and Relationships
- Lifestyle and Culture
To better control what you see, you can work through these and simply click on the “x” to remove each one.
2. Advertisers and Business
This area is based on how you may have interacted with another advertiser or business. There may only be a couple areas you adjust here but the main ones are as follows:
For those websites, apps or shops you have interacted with, you can work your way through the list and simply remove the ones you don’t want by clicking on the “x” in the top right corner of each business.
For Ads you have clicked on, you can go through this list and simply select “Hide Ads from <business>”
3. Your Information
This is a more personalised area that you can modify, as it includes details that you decide you wish to include in your profile. Now these settings only affect how Facebook determines whether to show you certain ads or not, based on how the advertiser is trying to market to an audience. These include:
- Relationship status
- Job Title
By adjusting these details won’t change how your profile is visible but will disable the ability for advertisers to market to you based on them.
Based on information and activities you’ve unknowingly provided Facebook, you can work your way through these and remove the ones that you choose not to be targeted for.
4. Ad Settings
Here you get to choose whether your Facebook ad preferences are used to show you ads that aren’t provided by Facebook, usually through websites and apps. This Audience Network allows advertisers to extend onto thousands of apps across the internet. This allows advertisers to target not only the Facebook network but other places that their potential target market is spending their time.
Ads based on data from partners
This is data that has been collected from Facebook partners including websites, apps and other offline interactions, such as purchases. You may still see ads based on information that a specific business has shared, say from an email list, if your profile is matched to the information on that list.
To adjust this, you can select “Not Allowed” from the dropdown box.
Ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products
Facebook tells us that they want to show ads that are relevant to us and that their ad preferences can help them get a better understanding of which ads to show you. These include ads that are shown across their audience network and may still show you ads that are not as relevant if they are generally based on your location, age or gender.
To adjust this, you can select “Not Allowed” from the dropdown box.
Ads that include your social actions
This one is for those times when you see an ad and it has “<Your Friend> likes this” above it, to give it more authority because someone you know likes the page. Changing this setting will also include events joined, comments, shares, recommendations and follows to name a few.
To adjust this, you can select “No One” from the dropdown box.
5. Hide Ad Topics
Not as in depth as the previous options available but it gives you the option to decide whether to turn off ads that specifically target three topics: alcohol, parenting and pets. Don’t ask me why there are only 3 areas but you have the choice to either hide ads for six months, a year or even permanently.
So as you can see from above, there would appear to be a mind-numbing amount of options to control the number and type of ads you will see during your browsing experience. This would be the case if you want to have more control over the type of ads you want to see.
Not all advertising is evil, although some marketers are terrible with their audience targeting, which is why you will see irrelevant ads from time to time. Sometimes an ad may be inconspicuous enough as a gentle reminder of something that you have an affinity for, rather than completely wiping out the digital advertising onslaught that brought you to this article.
If you want the simplest solution to how to stop seeing Facebook ads, I would suggest installing the AdBlock extension on your browser and exterminate all ads that come before you.
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