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“Why are you getting dating ads from Facebook? Do you visit dating sites?” This is just the sort of questioning you do not want to get from your partner. So, why is Facebook showing you these ads? And how can you make them stop?

We all know that Facebook needs to make money somewhere, and therefore advertising will most likely be around for ever. But that doesn’t stop us from wanting to opt-out of adverts or at least make them more useful for us.

How Can I Control The Facebook Ads I See?

Sadly, there is no one-stop answer to this question. There are a number of things you can do to make the adverts you see more appropriate, but in the end it depends on who the advertisers want to advertise to. If you fit the bill, you will see the advert.

The best way to make the Facebook adverts you see more relevant to you is to fill out as much detail as possible in your Timeline’s About section and by adding Life Events A Few Things You Might Not Know About Timeline [Weekly Facebook Tips] A Few Things You Might Not Know About Timeline [Weekly Facebook Tips] Facebook is becoming such a huge, complicated website that it's really easy for knowledge about certain things you can do with the site to pass you by completely. Only recently, I realised that photos on... Read More . By doing this, you will not only fit the criteria for more advertising campaigns, but you will exclude yourself from irrelevant campaigns (if they have filtered their campaign audience well).

Because the information in your Timeline is often best kept private Prepare Your Account Privacy For Facebook Graph Search [Weekly Facebook Tips] Prepare Your Account Privacy For Facebook Graph Search [Weekly Facebook Tips] Every time Facebook releases a new feature to learn more about our friends, many people realise that their privacy settings are not adequate anymore. Their latest new feature, Facebook Graph Search, is no exception -... Read More , you will want to ensure you have set your privacy settings correctly How To Control Your Privacy With The Facebook Timeline How To Control Your Privacy With The Facebook Timeline While the new Facebook timeline looks fantastic, there are a few privacy concerns worth keeping in mind. For most people, certain things will need adjusting before you can be completely sure that your posts aren't... Read More . Be sure to filter information according to what your friends should know about you, too. Just as you might not want your boss seeing photos of you with your friends, not all of your friends need to know your relationship status, employment situation and the like.

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Think Like An Advertiser

When advertisers place adverts on Facebook they have a process they go through to choose their audience. As Facebook is happy for anyone to pay them money, anyone with a Page or an app can actually go through the advert process at any time and see how advertisers choose their audience.

These screenshots above show the process of choosing an advertising audience for a campaign. You’ll see that the audience can be filtered to show:

  • Location (Country/City)
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Specific interests
  • Broad Categories, such as: Family status, mobile phone type, movie genres, music genres, sports, travel destinations, big life events, general activities, etc.

If you’re in the US, the data collected on you is even more specific. Through cookie-tracking and data-matching, marketers are building a profile on you Facebook Launches New Targeted Advertising, Will Use Data From Users' Browsing Habits [Updates] Facebook Launches New Targeted Advertising, Will Use Data From Users' Browsing Habits [Updates] Facebook users may soon see a new advertising trend arriving in their sidebars. The social networking site has introduced a new system of "partner categories" which advertisers can choose from to target more specific markets.... Read More through what you actually purchase. It is possible to opt-out of Facebook’s tracking How To Stop Facebook From Tracking Everything You Do [Facebook Weekly Tips] How To Stop Facebook From Tracking Everything You Do [Facebook Weekly Tips] Facebook has basically made a business out of knowing as much as they can possibly find out about everyone. So, tracking your behaviour online and offline makes perfect sense to them. However, it might not... Read More .

How Does Facebook Know All This About Me?

This information about you is collected from your Timeline’s About section, life events, relationship status, family connections, interests, hashtag usage, check-ins, etc. The more Facebook sees from you, the better they can categorize you for the advertisers. And if you fit an advertising campaign perfectly, they will show you that campaign rather than a more broad-reaching campaign. In essence, the advertising you see will be more tailored for you.

It’s actually fascinating to see the advertising change when you add certain life events. Females who have just become engaged see a startling amount of wedding-related adverts and the beginnings of the baby-related adverts. Newlyweds can naturally expect a barrage of baby-related advertising.

Make Sure Your Image Isn’t Used In Advertising

On a related note, if you are keen to make sure your image isn’t shown in Facebook adverts How To Avoid Appearing In Social Ads In Facebook & LinkedIn How To Avoid Appearing In Social Ads In Facebook & LinkedIn A social advertisement works in a very straightforward way: if you, by a coincidence or whatever reason, have liked a Facebook page or ad, your friends will see your "like" next time they see the... Read More to your friends, change your privacy settings in the adverts section. Click on “Edit” and choose “No-one”.

Does Anyone Even Click Ads?

No-one expects that you’ll even click these adverts as Facebook advertising works with demand-generation in mind. The clicks aren’t as important as getting the advertising to your eyeballs. That is to say that later, when you need to buy something, you’ll recall product xyz as you walk the store aisles.

How Do I Get Rid Of Facebook Advertising Altogether?

If you’ve read all this and decided it would be better to just block Facebook Advertising, Adblock Use Adblock To Block Online Ads and Malware Use Adblock To Block Online Ads and Malware Read More is a great tool to do the job.

I Could Just Lie To Facebook

You could just lie to Facebook. You could create a read-only Facebook account Sick Of Facebook? Set Your Account To Read-Only Mode [Weekly Facebook Tips] Sick Of Facebook? Set Your Account To Read-Only Mode [Weekly Facebook Tips] Even if you hate Facebook, there are some very compelling reasons to have an account. Like, for instance the fact that most of your friends probably have accounts. It's tempting to have an account simply... Read More and enter whatever data you like. However, if you lie about the important stuff, like name, age and gender, you can probably expect Facebook to shut your account one day. And if you lie about the rest of the data, what exactly does that achieve?

What do you do to control the advertising you see on Facebook? Let us know your tips!

  1. Robyn McIntyre
    September 19, 2013 at 12:30 am

    I use both Adblock and Social Fixer. I don't see ads.

  2. quinn
    September 18, 2013 at 4:27 am

    I use adblock , F.B Purity and also facebook unseen,I haven't seen ads for a while :)

  3. Todd Greene
    September 17, 2013 at 10:26 pm

    I use the free Social Fixer browswer app.

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