Facebook decided recently it wanted us to have a better control over the ads we see and are bombarded with. But, they will track our on and off – site behaviors in order to learn our web browsing habits.
In other words, they will soon introduce cookies to “teach” them what we do outside our social network and an ads preference tool to select, block or encourage the ads we receive.
Like anybody has the time to actually swipe through Facebook ads and treat each one individually. But let’s see how the official announcement sounds:
When we ask people about our ads, one of the top things they tell us is that they want to see ads that are more relevant to their interests. Today, we learn about your interests primarily from the things you do on Facebook, such as Pages you like. Starting soon in the US, we will also include information from some of the websites and apps you use. This is a type of interest-based advertising, and many companies already do this. People also tell us they want more control over the ads they see. That’s why we’re introducing ad preferences, a new tool accessible from every ad on Facebook that explains why you’re seeing a specific ad and lets you add and remove interests that we use to show you ads. So if you’re not interested in electronics, you can remove electronics from your ad interests.
In translation, this means that Facebook aligns its policies to the ones already implemented by other tech giants such as Google or Microsoft to name a few. But the biggest problem related to the Facebook cookies and ads preference tools is that somehow Facebook ignores those people who don’t want to see ads at all.
A second issue is that nobody actually has the time to go to each ad, understand why it is shown to them, block it or select the option “This ad is useful”. Who in their right mind will go through all these steps to select ads based on their topic in order to tell Facebook not to send them their way ever again?
Companies keeping following and tracking our activity on the web raised a lot of concerns in the last year, as there are privacy issues and consumer protection details that are not dealt with the right way. Now that we will have Facebook cookies and ads preference tools, it seems that we will have even more ads coming our way, ads that will be even more targeted than before and more aggressive.
The regular Facebook users will ignore them, just as they did so far, while the ambitious ones, powered by a personal vendetta against advertisement in general, will take their time to block some ads. However, there’s an upside to this. Cynthia Boris from the Marketing Pilgrim makes a wise observation:
Bottom line for advertisers, if a Facebook user goes through all these steps to block your ad, they weren’t going to buy from you in the first place, so blocking saves you time and money. Looking at it that way, the new ad preference tool really does make ads better for everyone.
Facebook let us know it would implement the Facebook cookies and the ads preference tools in the next few weeks in the U.S., going globally in the immediate future. Let’s see how things evolve, shall we?