So, it appears there was a data breach and Facebook did admit the same. In light of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which allegedly sourced data information to target ads on its platform for President Trump’s election, things do look bleak at the moment.
Most of the users do wonder how Facebook ads can be so accurate. They even subscribe to the theory that Facebook is bugging their phone. However, this is not the case. The social networking giant has time and again said about not using any microphone or listening device, so as to listen to the conversation.
The whole microphone thing at best is a far-fetched idea and can be considered at best as a figment of imagination!
Ad Targeting on Facebook
The ads that appear on your Facebook Timeline are highly customized. This might surprise you, but again, the ads you see are based on your behavior, the location you live, your primary interests and what you share.
Just through advertising revenue, Facebook earned about $ 40 billion last year and according to some estimates, the figures are likely to increase, this time around. There is no secret algorithm nor it sells any of the data. Instead, the ads which come up are based on certain parameters.
Methods used by Advertisers to target you through Facebook
1. Keeping an eye on your Facebook activity:
You very well know how Facebook makes use of things such as your age, interest, demographic and geographical location, in a bid to help the advertisers reach you. In addition to these, some of the information is sourced from what your friends do and like.
Facebook also categorizes the users, based on their ethnic affinity. A broad term that includes what the users prefer in the context of their ethnic influence. However, this too has come under severe criticism, as it is considered a bit racist. Perhaps, for this very reason, the social networking site was blocking ads that are based on ethnic affinity.
It also warns advertisers from trimming down their audience by targeting one set of audience. Doing so make the ads less effective, which is never a good sign.
2. Facebook keeps following you:
There is an ad offering called “ custom audience” that allows advertisers to target individuals, who at some point in time visited their website or bought any item. The whole things work on the basis of what your interests are. If you are interested in buying a new pair of snickers and you have given your email address, then you might get an ad, notifying about massive discounts on some of the brands.
Besides, most of the advertisers make use of Facebook “Pixels” on their site, which then allows them to keep a track of what people do when they are offline.
3. Dynamic Ads:
In lieu of the changing trends, Facebook has come up with a new form of ad. The idea is to allow businesses target people, who may have shown a bit of interest. The working methodology is simple. Aptly termed Dynamic ads, they follow the users, enticing them with some marginal discounts.
The end result being, a business can turn active leads into buyers and this really changes the complexion of the game. According to Ms. Sheryl Sandberg, Most of the businesses have doubled their profits by opting for Dynamic Ads. From a purely business perspective, this indeed appears to be beneficial.
In simple words, Facebook is not sharing any of the sensitive data. On the contrary, it looks at what you do, when you are online.
What’s at stake for you?
Once you log into your Facebook profile, you come across hundreds of ads. Do you recall all the ads that you see? Of course not. There is no need to freak if something unexpected comes up. It can be best termed as coincidence.
The tactics employed by Facebook is quite similar to other digital platforms. It’s your interest and preferences that matter a lot and this is how the ads are targeted. For a change, if you want to know, why you are being shown the sponsored post, then all you have to do is to click on the three-dots in the upper right-hand corner. From here, select the option- Why am I seeing this ad?”
You will then get a glimpse of the necessary details, which is not much but will give you a basic idea of how things work on Facebook.
In all, ads on Facebook is not a bad thing to start with. To an extent, it might be useful. But there is always a fine that you don’t want the advertisers to cross. Facebook is not selling any data. Instead, it is trying to bridge the communication divide between you and the businesses. This is being done by keeping a track of your activities and what you share and interact.
Well, you must be confused with the whole ad thing. Somehow or the other, you will want to know more. In that case, you can seek the advice of the professionals, for which you contact the Facebook Chat Support Helpline. The support helpline is open round the clock and can be approached for most of the problems.