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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Why Facebook ads are personally appealing

©Mark Ollig

Our participation on Facebook means we accept its advertisements as the price for using their free online service.

However, not everyone is seeing the same ads.

Most Facebook ads are personalized to our individual preferences through a software algorithm which lures us to mouse-click on them.

Some folks call these types of online ads “click bait.”

The more time we spend on Facebook, the more its software learns about our personal likings.

By sharing Facebook postings and internet pages; participating in Facebook user groups, live broadcasts, and clicking ad content, we’re providing Facebook information about our personal preferences.

Facebook gleans our content choices for learning more about us; what products, services, sports, hobbies, vacation, and social media subject matter we prefer.

Where do we find the information Facebook has stored about us?

Log into your Facebook account and then go to this address:

Under “Your Interests” Facebook maintains six categories containing detailed information about our preferences labeled:

• News and Entertainment
• Business and Industry
• Travel, Places and Events
• Hobbies and Activities
• People
• More

Facebook saved the names and visual icon links of 426 news and entertainment pages I visited; which is why I see so many online ads from them.

My business and industry category preferences displayed 390 distinct Facebook pages.

The last category revealed a sub-list where Facebook records our personal preferences for each of the following subjects:

• Technology
• Education
• Sports and Outdoors
• Lifestyle and Culture
• Food and Drink
• Shopping and Fashion
• Fitness and Wellness
• Family and Relationships

Under each subject are Facebook user groups and linked pages we have visited, liked, or belonged to.

Facebook is uncovering what we like; thus targeting us with personalized ads from its paid advertisers.

Another category, “Advertisers You’ve Interacted With,” disclosed the list of 92 individual company and Facebook ads I’ve clicked on.

The varieties of ads we see are based on our history of visited Facebook websites and apps, and are managed under “Ad Settings.”

Under “Your Information” we are supposedly able to control (by enabling or 
disabling) Facebook’s ability to show us ads based on the following profile fields:

• Relationship status
• Employer
• Job title
• Education
• Interested in

A disclaimer states Facebook may still add us to categories related to these profile fields.

Facebook’s PowerPoint-like presentation explained why specific ads are presented to us.

The presentation showed how our age, location, interests in certain products, services, and social causes are used by advertisers to target us with ads they feel we would most likely respond to.

Hundreds – if not thousands – of our liked and visited Facebook pages are being recorded, cataloged, and processed through special analytical software.

Many Facebook advertisers use Facebook Pixel, which, according to Facebook, “is a piece of website code advertisers install that lets them measure, optimize and build audiences for ad campaigns.”

Ads directed to our specific geographic location are based either on our Facebook profile, or from where we physically connect to the internet.

Where and how we connect to Facebook over the internet can be determined from the IP (Internet Protocol) address assigned on our computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Our geographic location can also be obtained from our smartdevices’ or automobile’s GPS (global positioning system) navigational coordinates.

Lately, I’ve been seeing more Facebook ads from Minnesota travel trailer and recreation vehicle companies.

Facebook knows I visited the Trailer Park World and RV Tours Facebook ad pages, and that I belong to a couple of Facebook RV and Travel Trailer user groups.

They also know I live in Minnesota.

Here’s wishing your next Facebook ad is personally appealing.

Follow me throughout the week on Twitter at @bitsandbytes.

(photo from Facebook Ads Preferences page)