Facebook Ads 101: Why am I seeing this?
Picture this: You’re fooling around on Facebook, arguing about politics or the Footy or watching a video of your second cousin’s 6 year old playing soccer, when suddenly a “Sponsored” post in your news feed catches your eye. Maybe it gets your attention because it seems completely irrelevant to you. Maybe it gets your attention because it’s giving you a major case of déjà vu. Or maybe it gets your attention because it seems to be speaking directly to you.
Either way, you’re probably asking yourself:
“Why am I seeing this?”
“Why is this ad in my news feed??”
“What is Facebook doing showing me this???”
Let’s face it, Facebook knows everything about you. First there’s all the information you disclose to them. You tell them your age, your relationship status, where you live, where you went to school, where you work and where you were born. But it doesn’t stop there. You also tell them what type of consumer you are based on anything and everything you like, from friends’ statuses and shared posts to business pages you like to your location check-ins. But even that isn’t the limit of Facebook’s omniscience. Facebook even allows its advertisers to track when you’ve visited a specific website or used a certain app outside of Facebook. It’s really like they’re stalking you sometimes.
While all of this might seem kind of creepy and evil, it obviously makes for an incredible advertising opportunity for businesses. How many other methods of advertising tell you so much about the people who are viewing your ads, or more importantly, allows you to target your ads so precisely?
But the point of this post is to let you know that Facebook has a handy somewhat hidden feature that lets you know exactly why you’re being shown an ad. In the upper right hand corner of every Sponsored Post in your news feed, there’s an arrow with several options, including “Hide Ad” and “Save link” (which allows you to go back to a post at a later date). But one of the most fascinating options is “Why am I seeing this?”
Facebook Ads are divided up in to 3 different levels:
- Level 1 Campaign: This allows the advertiser to set the goal of the ad, such as getting more clicks for a website, sales leads, attendees for an event or likes on a page
- Level 2 Ad Set: This allows the advertiser to set a budget, and more importantly determine which Facebook users are being targeted for the ads, including geographic area, age, etc.
- Level 3 Ads: These can be single images, videos, carousels, etc.
The “Why am I seeing this?” link tells you almost exactly the contents of the targeting for the post. Here are some of the more common answers you’ll see when you click this link and what each one means:
- Remarketing: When an ad says that you’re seeing it because the business wants to reach people who have visited their website or used one of their apps, that’s an example of remarketing. As the user is likely already aware of the business’ brand, that makes remarketing especially effective advertising, making this one of Facebook’s most useful tools in advertising. Remarketing involves adding code to every page on a website or within an app to report pageviews and/or other actions back to Facebook for its users.
- Lookalike: When an ad says that you’re seeing it because the business wants to reach people who may be similar to their customers, that’s an example of a “Lookalike” audience. A lookalike audience takes advantage of Facebook’s complex algorithm and extensive user data to identify a group of Facebook users who are similar to any particular list of people supplied by a business. As the users in this lookalike audience are similar in age, interests and other behaviours to known customers, they have a greater chance of becoming customers themselves. Lookalike audiences are one of the most powerful advertising features available on Facebook.
- Interests: When an ad says that you’re seeing it because the business wants to reach people interested in a certain topic, that’s an example of interest based targeting. This means that the business is targeting anybody who likes a certain type of page or clicks on a certain type of ad. This type of advertising is certainly more effectiveness than radio, TV or print, but it still leaves a lot to be desired since expressing a particular interest on Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean a person will be interested in a certain product. The accuracy of interest activity on Facebook can also be kind of dubious. This ad on the right is a great example… I certainly don’t remember the last time I ever expressed an interest in “Contemporary R&B”, and yet Facebook determined this to be the case for my personal Facebook account.
- Demographic: When an ad says that you’re seeing it because the business wants to reach people of a certain age who live or visit a certain region, that’s an example of demographic targeting. This is probably one of the least sophisticated (and effective) targeting methods offered by Facebook.
So wonder no more about why you’re seeing a certain ad! And if you’re a business and would like to use Facebook Ads to get more customers, contact Kook today.