How’d They Know? A Consumer’s Guide to Understanding Facebook Advertisements

Laney Schwartz
By Laney Schwartz

You log onto Facebook and there pops an ad from your favorite store. Even crazier, the graphic on the ad is a picture of the trendy shoes you were looking at the other day while online shopping. Coincidence? I think not, and neither should you.

As online consumers in today’s technology-driven world, we should all understand where our click history is going and what that data is being used for. One simple answer is Facebook, but let’s expand. Facebook Analytics has a plethora of features that transform click history into target audiences for marketers to utilize. So, every click you make leads you farther into a target audience.

Related: Who Can You Target With Facebook Ads?

It sounds daunting, but in turn, you receive advertisements that are relevant to your interests. For example, let’s say you were on Facebook and an ad for cuteshoes.com is on your homepage. You realize you were online shopping for shoes yesterday and decide to click on the ad. Now, what just happened?

First, the ad for cuteshoes.com was placed on your Facebook because you are in their cold target audience. That means your Facebook activity, whether it be liking various shoe brand pages, liking clothing store pages, or other similar companies’ pages, qualifies you as being a potential customer for cuteshoes.com. Cuteshoes.com may have decided to send their ad to Facebook users who “liked” a specific competitor shoe company’s page, for example, Converse. Because you “liked” the Converse Facebook page, you are receiving the cuteshoes.com ad.

The second part of this scenario is your click history. Now that you clicked on the advertisement you have moved into cuteshoes.com’s warm traffic. Meaning, you have now been introduced to the company and interacted with them. They may decide to send another ad your way later in the week. This ad though may be worded slightly differently. Rather than introducing the brand to you, it will remind you of the company (“items you may like”, “we think you left something in your cart”). The more you interact with the brand’s posts, the more specific and personalized the advertisements will get.

Related: Social Media Marketing Strategies for Lead Generation & E-Commerce

It may seem like fate that the ad ended up on your Facebook page, but in reality, it’s just facebook analytics doing what it does best.

 

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