Here’s How Facebook Chooses Which Ads To Show You

how facebook ads work


At one point or another, you’ve likely searched for something online or shopped on a website and then suddenly seen exactly what you were looking at in a Facebook ad. It may have made you think, “Facebook is stalking me!” We don’t blame you for getting freaked out, but know that there is a methodology behind why you see the ads you see. We’re here to give you the scoop on how your information is used and how it informs online advertising.

According to Facebook, you’re shown specific ads in your feed based on your activity on the platform, which includes what you share, how you engage with posts and what pages you like or follow. And that’s on top of personal information you feature on your profile like your location or gender. Also, the apps you connect to via Facebook provide the social media giant with the same kind of data.

Unsplash/Tim Bennett

And as you probably expect, Facebook accesses and utilizes your activity on other websites and apps beyond the platform. That’s true even if you’re not using them through Facebook. Yep, that means that as long as you’re logged in on a device, all of your online activity is tracked by Facebook.

So, why does Facebook take this approach? The platform states that collecting your information better informs its advertisers what to serve you, the consumer, by showing you ads that you might genuinely find interesting.

What can you do about what information you feed advertisers? You can update your Facebook preferences to check your ad settings. You can also clear your cache of any cookies that might be lingering and give Facebook (or any third-party apps through Facebook) information you didn’t want to share.


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