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Facebook Ads: Control What You See

Have you ever seen an ad on your Facebook timeline and thought, “Why is that showing up?” Yeah, me too. It’s not that I don’t like seeing ads. I just don't like seeing ads that aren't relevant to my interests. 

Within the last two years, over 2 million advertisers have started advertising on Facebook which means that you and I are more and more likely to see a variety of paid ads. Advertisers are choosing to show ads to specific people, locations, interests and email addresses. How can one manage the types of ads and change the information that advertisers glean from your Facebook account?

I’m going to show you the ads preferences section of your Facebook account and how to control the types of advertisements that show up in your user feed.

To get started, log in to your Facebook account and navigate to your settings. 

Click “Ads” on the left-hand side. 



This is your ad preferences page and it’s where you can control the types of ads that are shown to you and the information that you’ve chosen to share with advertisers. You’ll see your interests, the types of advertisers that you’ve interacted with, your information and ad settings, hidden topics and a section on how Facebook ads work. 


Under the “Your interests” tab, you will see five different subcategories listed, business and industry, food and drink, hobbies and activities, news and entertainment, and travel, places and events. The types of companies and industries that show up under your interests are directly related to the types of ads that you have interacted with at some point. There are actually 9 other categories under the “more" icon. They are: shopping and fashion, fitness and wellness, people, technology, sports and outdoors, family and relationships, education, lifestyle and culture and other. 


For instance, at some point I’ve interacted with HubSpot on Facebook under the Business and industry subcategory. To me, that makes sense since WSOL is a platinum HubSpot partner and I’ve attended some of HubSpot’s live videos and events.

Something that's puzzling is how “sports chiropractic” is showing up in my interests. Since I don’t want to see ads based around this industry, I'll just click the “x” in the upper right corner to remove that interest. If you want to see the examples of ads that were created by advertisers trying to reach people with this interest, click “see examples.”

Check all the tabs to see the different sections that Facebook advertisers might select to target you. Am I happy with what’s in my Food and Drink section below? Yes, yes I am. 



Let’s click on “Whose ads you’ve clicked” subcategory in the header. This is a direct list of the advertisers whose ads you’ve clicked on (this includes simply expanding the ad to read comments!)

To hide ads from specific advertisers, hover above the right hand corner and choose, “hide ads from...”



So, what personal information can advertisers target? Some of the ads you see are because advertisers are trying to reach people based on information they have provided on their profiles. For example, if I’m a marketer setting up paid Facebook ads promoting a dating website, I might target users whose relationship status is set to single. So, if you have your relationship status toggled to “on”, you may see my ad because of your relationship status and/or because “dating” shows up in your interests. Toggle the information on or off depending on your privacy settings.

I hope this brief walk-through of your ads preferences page helps you feel in control over the ads that are showing up in your Facebook feed. If you’re interested in setting up a paid ads strategy for your business, we’d love to assist!  

About the Author

Sarah Corley
Sarah Corley
Sarah works as a marketing specialist at WSOL where she helps clients put their best digital foot forward online. She has been the driving force in defining company culture at WSOL. As a co-leader of the Chicago HubSpot User Group, Sarah is dedicated to creating a community where developers, marketers and sales teams make the web a better place. She worked for Nestle Toll House on their campaign, Bake Some Good, as a national brand ambassador and even baked her way to set a Guinness World Record. She has Bachelor of Science degrees in graphic design, journalism and public relations.
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