Update: I’ve updated this post to include the iPhone app as well! ☺️
After my little rant-ette earlier today, I decided that I was sick to death of the targeted advertising on Facebook. I get that Amazon will give me choices based on stuff I’ve bought before, and I can edit those choices if I wish – the thing that was really getting my goat was the targeted advertising on Facebook. I mean, it’s a social network and not a shop (though obviously they’ve monetised it all lately so let’s not kid ourselves). I shouldn’t be bombarded with pictures of baby products when I don’t have a baby! (Friends are a different matter, but I tend to unfollow friends who post excessive pictures of their babies.)
Turns out that you can adjust the targeted advertising on Facebook. And I’ve been through and done it, so I thought I’d write up a little How To guide for all of you who are sick of being advertised to about baby stuff when you don’t have a baby.
First of all, the easiest way to change your ad preferences is to go to one of the sponsored posts. You have to do this on the desktop version of Facebook as far as I can see. (I use the mobile version generally, but I’m willing to make an exception to make the blasted baby ads go away.)
1) Click on the down arrow on the top right of any advert.
This shows you the following menu. You can get rid of all ads from that company by clicking “Hide all adverts from this seller” and you can also say you don’t want to see posts like that. This means that whatever algorithm they’ve used to work out that you might like this seller, they’ll adjust the calculation. For example in the below ad, they’ve probably decided I am interested in snacks!
The one you really want to click on is the third line down – Why am I seeing this?
2) This takes you to the menu of preferences where you can edit the keywords they are using to decide which ads you see.
The keywords that infertile people probably don’t want targeted advertising for are under the category called Family and Relationships, so click on that to expand the list.
You can see all the things they think you’re interested in, on a list right here. It’s pretty nuts to see what they think you are interested in, based on your Facebook activity. For example, apparently it seems like I’m interested in breastfeeding. I clicked on the little “i” information sign to understand more… which didn’t lead to any more understanding at all! I am really not interested in breastfeeding at this point in time.
3) Edit your preferences by clicking on a cross the right hand side of each keyword. This removes the keyword from the list of things you’re supposedly “interested in”.
There is a cross on the right hand side of each word and if you click on it then it will remove it from the list and draw a line through it. (The cross changes to a word saying Undo, once you have clicked on it. So you can toggle your preferences if you want, eg if you then have a baby and do want to see these ads.)
4) I thought this bit was pretty sad. I deleted almost everything under this category, apart from Love.
Annoyingly, as soon as I logged onto the app I got another bloody Beaming Baby ad! They must really think I want to see this! Luckily it’s easy to get rid of on the app.
This is super quick. Just click on the arrow in the top right corner of the ad, and select why you don’t want to see it any more. As far as I can tell this gets rid of ads and ads like it in the same way as doing it on the browser does.
Voila! No more baby adverts!
Anyway, I hope this post helps anyone who has gone through the pain of feeling hurt about targeted advertising. I am a bit of a social media addict… I should really stop as a lot of the time it makes me feel worse about things (though a lot of the time it makes me feel better, and connects me) so I do make efforts to ensure that my feed is filtered appropriately for me.
For example I choose not to see people who post lots of baby guff in my newsfeed, because I know that makes me feel bad. I don’t hide all mothers – otherwise I wouldn’t have any friends! I just hide the ones who post too much baby stuff for me personally right now. I think it is okay… I edit my preferences rather than expecting them to change the way they share stuff – I change rather than expecting them to change. We all need to self-preserve for our own sanity. (If anyone needs tips on how to edit friends lists without defriending people then let me know. It’s quite easy but you have to take the time to edit them – but it’s a one off process.)
Guys, gals… I know this is sad, and maybe I’m a little too strident about stuff like this right now. But I think we have tech for a reason which is to make our lives easier, not harder. So if there are small things we can do to make the loss hurt less, we shouldn’t feel bad about doing them. I hope this helps one or two of you!