Facebook is scary-good at targeting ads. To provide this level of targeting to advertisers, Facebook has to pull from a staggering amount of data that each of us post to the social network without really thinking much about. Our political leanings, the technology we use and even our location (and whether we live near family) are all fair game for creating these dossiers on each and every Facebook user.
In essence, Facebook is trying to shove each of us into a number of boxes that accurately portray who we are, and what we might be interested in. This is what those boxes look like.
This is only a fraction of the information Facebook has on me, yet I think it’s more than enough that the average person — having never met me — could do a fair job of describing who I am, and what my interests are. Facebook even knows what your political leanings are — if you engage in political discussion or interact with Pages with a political leaning.
At a glance, you can see what sort of smartphone I use, my primary desktop operating system, I like to travel, I’m living away from my family, have a teenage child, and that I fit neatly into the millennial market. The predictions are made based on pages you’ve liked, status updates, what your friends like, location, career focus, and even how you interact with other accounts or ads — on or off the site.
It’s sort of amazing, really.
You can check your ad profile here. To see the information that best describes you, click “More” and then “Lifestyle and culture” under the “Interests” section.
It should be relatively accurate. If not, you can delete ad groups you don’t think you belong in. Pro tip: if you think deleting all of them will lead to fewer ads, you’re wrong; it’ll just lead to the ads being more random.