If you use Facebook (or even if you don’t) you probably know that advertisers have some information about you. Targeted ads are Facebook’s special juice, and scrolling down your timeline will likely prove that the ads you’re seeing are anything but random. What you may not realise; however, is that you can also see within Facebook which advertisers have your name on their list.
You’ll find the list in your ad settings. Get there by logging into Facebook on the web and then clicking the arrow at the top right side of the bag. From there, select Settings from the drop-down menu. That will launch the Settings menu.
On the left side of the page you’ll see a column, close to the bottom will be “Ads.” Click on that to bring up the Ad Preferences menu. Select “Advertisers You’ve Interacted With” and then select “Who have added their contact list to Facebook” to see the advertisers that are specifically targeting you.
From Facebook: “These advertisers are running ads using a contact list they uploaded that includes your contact info. This info was collected by the advertiser, typically after you shared your email address with them or another business they’ve partnered with.”
Most of my targeted ads are for car dealerships and real-estate agents. The joke’s on them, because I live in San Francisco and am a writer for a living. I won’t be affording either a house or a car anytime soon.
You can’t really do much about these guys targeting you (although this is a good lesson in having “Garbage” email addresses to pass out to people who might try to spam you like this). The section should; however, offer a bit of insight into why you’re seeing what you are.
While you’re in the ad menu, now might be a good time to also tweak your ad preferences. The Ad Settings menu lets you customise those. I don’t allow Facebook to show people I’ve liked a page in an ad, I also don’t allow it to show me ads based on my Facebook activity.
You do what works for you, but it’s always a good idea to be aware of what your settings are.