— February 16, 2018
If given a choice, would you get rid of all ads once and for all?
If the answer is resounding “yes”, this article is not for you. Instead of reading, install a quality ad blocker and enjoy ad-free internet forever after.
However, if you think that relevant ads are not a problem, make sure to read this post A to Z. Not only will you learn how to see better-targeted ads on social media, but you will also get a few insights into what happens behind the scenes of social media advertising.
Let’s dive right in.
Ad Targeting: Then and Now
Targeting has always been the key to good marketing. Long before it was possible to target ads in a few mouse-clicks, reaching the right audience was considered half the battle.
Companies used to spend significant portions of their budgets and weeks of time trying to define their target audiences. A lot has changed since then.
Today it doesn’t take much to set exceptionally detailed targeting for virtually any ad campaign. Thanks to cookies, browser history, and the personal data we so willingly share with the world, ad targeting magic has lost its spell.
The process of targeting has become so simple even a 6-year-old would be able to handle it.
Here’s how it works. You open a browser and go to a retail website to buy a pair of flip-flops. Information about what you’ve been looking at is saved in a browser cookie — a piece of code that stores information about what you do on a certain website. Then your browser submits information about your recent activity to ad networks. Ad networks, in their turn, make use of this information to show you ads based on your recent activity. This is insanely simple, right?
However, this is exactly why you should never consider irrelevant ads “normal.” Since ad targeting has become so simple, all the ads that you see can and should be relevant to you.
Ad Relevance Matters to All: Brands, Social Media, and You
When ads are targeted the right way, everyone wins. Let me explain what I mean.
The success of a social media platform depends on the number of active users it has. When a platform is growing, investors line up. When the number of users drop, stock prices go down or investment interest wanes. That’s why social networks are so interested in keeping their users happy. The moment social media networks opt for advertising, user happiness rates are put at risk. The only way to mitigate this risk is to make sure that the ads people see are well-suited.
For brands, social media advertising has its own benefits. Apart from being one of the fastest and cheapest avenues for advertising, this channel allows for greater flexibility and better budget control. The biggest advantage, however, is the level of sophisticated targeting it offers. Social media networks such as Instagram and Facebook, analyze your activity and make use of all that generated personal data you share to make assumptions about what would be the most relevant ads for you. When it comes to brands, better relevance means higher return on investment (ROI).
Speaking of us, users, the advantage of relevant ads is rather obvious.
We find most ads annoying, with exception for ads of the highest relevance. No matter how nice a certain ad is, it will most certainly make us irritated if it has nothing to do with our interests or current shopping intentions. The more relevant social media ads are, the better user experience we have.
How to See Ads That Are More Relevant
By now we know that well-suited ads on social media is a win for everyone—users, brands, and social media networks themselves. Now it is time to find out what steps you can take to improve the relevance of the ads you see while on YouTube or Facebook.
- Fill In Your Personal Profile to Its Fullest.
Have you ever wondered why social media channels want you to share so many personal facts: movies watched, books read, countries visited, concerts attended, and even social movements you care about? Most of us think that Facebook (or any other social network) use this information to help us find people, hobbies, and interests that are similar to ours.
It is only partially true.
All the data you share about yourself is used by brands and marketers for targeting purposes. The more they know about you, the more relevant ads you’ll see. If you want to see ads tailored to your wants and needs, go for it, share as much about yourself as possible! Important note: if you don’t feel like sharing your personal data with the whole world, you can adjust your social media security settings to make certain information visible to your followers only.
- Welcome Browser Tracking and Cookies.
If your goal is not online security but more relevant ads, you should avoid disabling cookies and make sure your browser tracking is not blocked by a program or app designed to protect your privacy. Browser tracking and cookies fuel ad retargeting. Block the two and you’ll force marketers work a bit harder to find out which ads will resonate most with you.
- See an Ad? Give Your Feedback.
Some social media sites allow you to give feedback about the ads that you see. You can block an ad you didn’t like and indicate the reason. For instance, Instagram allows you to choose between “irrelevant ad,” “annoying ad,” and “inappropriate ad.” Each time you give your feedback, the system gets to know you a little better and, theoretically, becomes able to show you more relevant ads over time.
On Facebook, you’ve got even more options to choose from. If you didn’t like a particular ad, you can mark it as spam, fake news, misleading information or scam, offensive, violent, sexually inappropriate content, or just something you disagree with. If you don’t feel like going this far and decide to block an ad, you can choose to hide it and, again, indicate your reason for doing so.
- Try Setting Your Ad Preferences.
Although not available on all social media websites, this option is offered by Facebook. When you see a particular ad on Facebook, that’s because the platform considers you a part of a certain audience.
What factors affect the audiences you are a part of?
Well, mostly it’s the Interests and hobbies you made public in your profile. So, if an advertiser wants to show their ads to people interested in sports and your profile states your interests are tennis and football, chances are good you’ll be one who sees that ad. Essentially, to see more relevant ads on Facebook, make sure that the interests mentioned in your profile match your real ones.
The Bottom Line
We have a confession to make. Here at StopAd, we are convinced that the vast majority of ads should not be a part of the online experience in modern society.
However, if for some reason, you do want to see some ads, we want them to be of the highest relevance and quality. To make this happen, try the tips from this article.