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Facebook to Target Ads Based on Internet Browsing History

Facebook to Target Ads Based on Internet Browsing History
Facebook is giving marketers a better chance at reaching relevant consumers. / Credit: Facebook image via Shutterstock

Starting soon, Facebook will use member's Internet browsing history to better target them with the social network's advertisers' ads.

Currently, the ads a user sees on Facebook are primarily based on the things they do on Facebook, such as the pages they like. Soon, the company will also be able to target marketers' ads based on the websites Facebook users visit and the apps they use when they are not on the social network. A Facebook spokesperson told Business News Daily that the company will not be sharing this customer browsing habit information with advertisers, despite earlier reports, including in this story, that it would be doing so.

"Enhancing interest-based advertising with information from websites and apps people use will improve performance for marketers by making sure your ads go to people who are the most interested in your products and services, and those who are the most likely to respond," Facebook wrote on its company blog. "These signals will improve our existing ad capabilities and be built into our existing interfaces."

According to Facebook, marketers won't need to take any actions when creating ads or campaigns to take advantage of these new features.

Facebook users can opt out of this type of ad targeting in their web browser using the industry-standard Digital Advertising Alliance opt-out, and on mobile devices using controls that iOS and Android provide.

While Facebook is giving businesses increased opportunities to target relevant consumers, they are also giving users of the social network more chances to learn about the ads they receive and why they're getting them.

The new ad preferences tool will be accessible from every ad on Facebook. It will explain to users why they're seeing a specific ad, while also letting them control which of their interests influence the ads they receive. With the new tool, Facebook users will be able to add and remove interests to see more-relevant ads.

"Ad preferences allow people on Facebook to actively tell us the things they are and aren't interested in, which means your audiences will become better qualified over time," Facebook wrote on its blog. "If someone doesn't have a preference listed, you won't be able to target them based on that preference."

Facebook said marketers will still be able to reach users who remove a preference or don't have a preference listed by targeting other preferences those users have.

The social network plans to start rolling out the ad preferences tool in the United States in the coming weeks.

Originally published on Business News Daily

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.