How Does Facebook Target Ads?

How Does Facebook Target Ads?

Facebook advertising has quickly become a main vein in any comprehensive digital marketing strategy. I mean, who knows more about your customer than Facebook? Facebook knows about your hobbies, it knows where you go on the weekends, and even knows about your ex-crush from high school that you looked up “just to see what they were up to”.

I’ve often fielded the question of exactly how Facebook targets an ad campaign. To many it seems like black magic – a mystery. Well, it’s not. In Facebook’s own words:

“We show you ads based on things we think you care about. Your preferences include information from your profile as well as actions you take on and off Facebook.”

If only there was a way to see what this looked like in practical application. Why can’t we see the things that Facebook thinks we care about? You can, and I’m going to show you exactly how to not only see the things that Facebook thinks you care about, but actually edit those things on your personal profile!

Follow along step-by-step below to dive into your Facebook profile.

From your desktop, click on the the far right drop down, and select “Settings”.


Once in the “Settings” tab, select “Ads” from the left column. Once the Facebook Ads section appears, select “Edit” next to “Ads based on my preferences”.


A content drawer will open below. Click on “Visit Ad Preferences”.


Once within “Your Ad Preferences”, you’ll see the categories that Facebook separates your interests into: Business & Industry, Eduction, People, Technology, Etc. Select one of these categories.


Check out what Facebook thinks is important to me. It assumes that because I’m interested in Scentblocker & Cabela’s, I must be interested in “Jewelry” and “Shopping and Fashion”. Sorry, Facebook.


The moral of the story:
Yes, Facebook knows you inside & out – but it’s not human. Spend some time with your own suggested preferences. Delete as you see fit, but keep in mind that your target audience is being managed in the same way.