Find out how Facebook stalks you and targets you

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There is no doubt about it, Facebook is becoming a “pay to play” platform for businesses, as we have been saying for a number of years. Basically, this means that if your run a business page on Facebook, very few people will see what you post (the industry average is 3%). Facebook says that this is because it wants you to see the stories that you are interested in and it uses over 1,000 different factors to decide what to show you on your wall.

Later on in this article I will show you how to find out which of your interests you are being targeted for. Firstly though I want to share with you some random events that have happened to me based on my activity on Facebook.

As many of you will know, I run a lot of Facebook courses and as well as being the Admin on over 100 business Facebook pages, I often set up fictitious Facebook pages in my courses. I think I have set up over 50 of these now but two that have come to haunt me are “Eddy’s Cafe” and “Eddy’s Health Spa“…..

Now both of these businesses are not real. They are simply inspired by the delegates that I have on the particular course. Eddy’s Health Spa has had a lot of calls lately, offering trial hair products and other services, however, I was delighted, and surprised to receive some free tickets to the National Beauty & Complementary Therapy Show in the NEC! See images below:

20160614_093744 20160614_093749

Needless to say, not being that interested in selling beauty, products, I didn’t attend. “Hey, that’s a little random I thought”, there were some laughs and jokes in the office but I thought it was a one off. Then, one day, whilst Camping in St. David’s, started getting a phone call every 10 minutes, from various locations around the UK. I was on holiday, so I didn’t answer as I didn’t know the numbers. However, the calls continued and curiosity got the better of me, so I answered a few….

“Hello, is that Eddy?”

“Yes, it is”, I said

“I understand that you have recently opened a Cafe at 1 North Parade and we wondered if you had selected your electricity supplier yet?”

“There is not a Cafe here”, I responded

“Are you sure?”, The sales rep said

“Yes, very sure”, I replied, somewhat amused as the source of these calls dawned on me.

“OK, how about your gas supply?”, the determined sales person persisted….

“There is not a cafe here…”, I chuckled

The phone went dead. I had another 4 or 5 phone calls before they have now virtually stopped.

So, either Facebook is selling Facebook Business page data or companies are trawling Facebook looking for businesses to add to sales lists. Either way, Facebook data is proving to be a great source of data sales teams.

How Facebook is targeting you personally with adverts

Anyway, on with the main purpose of my blog post (Sorry for the digression but it amused me).

One of the ways that Facebook targets you is through your ‘interests’. Businesses like mine, and my clients, target you based on the pages that you have interacted with, and the posts that you have liked etc. Interest targeting is a very effective way of reaching a niche market. However, it is much better to target people who have already visited you Website and to use re-targeting to draw them back to your site.

You can find out what interests Facebook thinks you have

When logged in to Facebook, go to https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences and you will see a list of what Facebook thinks you are interested in. When a company plans to target a list of people based on their Facebook interests, Facebook uses this data to see if you should be included.

Having a quick look at mine, screenshot below, it both amused and surprised me.

advert targetting2

Business and industry has a lot of entries, which is fine, as this is what I do for a living. I was drawn to the food and drink categories and whilst some of these struck a chord with me, others left me wondering what I had done on Facebook to make it think I was interested in this. Wine and Coffee, I get. Food and Restaurants, I understand. I love chilli (I have chilli flakes on everything….) so I understand the Hot Sauce entry. InSynch do work for Black Mountains Smokery and so I understand the Smoking (Cooking) entry. However, I am not a fan of McDonalds, or Spar and to be honest I have never heard of “In-N-Out Burger”!

There are many more enlightening entries across all categories. It really is worth having a look at your own here https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences.

You can add and remove categories by hovering over an entry and clicking the X at the end of the row.

The lessons learnt from this exercise are as follows:

Every time you click like, or comment, your actions are being recorded and you will subsequently be targeted based on them.

Interest targeting through Facebook adverts isn’t necessarily that targetted

Somehow, when you run a page on Facebook, your data is being used to give to companies who will then target you with adverts.

Facebook Advertising remains a very effective way to target customers, but as with all forms of online advertising, it should be measured for the ROI (return on investment.

 

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Eddy Webb

Eddy Webb Eddy is Director and Owner of InSynch and experienced project manager, with a strong IT background and considerable experience of working with businesses and business support organisations in the UK. As Director of InSynch Business Services Ltd., Eddy has project managed hundreds of individual contracts, having delivered eBusiness support services and Digital Marketing service to over 2,000 business. Eddy regularly gives talks on many subjects related to business, IT and Digital Marketing and internationally recognized training on social media and search engine optimization, and other related subjects. Eddy is based at our offices in Shrewsbury and Aberystwyth.

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