Facebook To Ask Why People Don't Like Ads

People may opt to close an ad they see on Facebook for different reasons. Now the social network wants to better understand their thinking in an effort to serve more relevant ads in the news feed. To that end, Facebook on Tuesday said that when someone chooses to hide an ad, it will begin asking why.

Users will be able to select from a list of reasons, such as because they found an ad was irrelevant, offensive, spam, too frequent or “something else.” Taking into account the reasons why an ad was hidden, Facebook said it will show it to fewer people.

“If someone doesn’t want to see an ad because it’s not relevant to them, we know we didn’t do a great job choosing that ad and we need to improve. If someone doesn’t want to see an ad because it’s offensive, it probably isn’t a good ad for other people on Facebook, either,” stated Max Eulenstein, product manager at Facebook, in a blog post today.



When testing the new feedback feature, Facebook said it stopped showing ads that people had deemed offensive and inappropriate. “As a result, we saw a significant decrease in the number of ads people reported as offensive or inappropriate. This means we were able to take signals from a small number of people on a small number of particularly bad ads to improve the ads everyone sees on Facebook,” wrote Eulenstein.

Facebook also said it will pay more attention to feedback from people who don’t often hide ads, giving more weight to their responses. The thinking is that people who don't often object must really have an issue with an ad when they do close it.

“If someone hides things very rarely, we’ll consider that when we choose what to show them. If we think there is even a small chance they might hide an ad, we won’t show it to them. This affects the type of ads we show everyone, but has a bigger impact for people who don’t often hide ads,” stated the blog post.

In testing, Facebook noted that people who rarely hide ads ended up hiding 30% fewer ads with the change, indicating it’s showing better ads even to users that aren’t vocal.

The company said most advertisers won’t see any change to their ad delivery or performance. Instead, the updates will affect ads that a small set of users give negative feedback on, “and allow us to show people ads that we think are most relevant for them, and make sure advertisers are getting their messages in front of the right people.”

Since Facebook users don’t typically hide ads, the changes aren’t likely to produce a significant amount of data, according to Matt Wurst, vice president/GM, social media at 360i. But he added that they could help Facebook find the threshold of people’s willingness to see ads. That will provide a certain amount of information about consumer preferences and behaviors toward serving better ads.

“On the flip side, this feedback should help marketers combine creative and media to create content experiences that people want to engage with,” he said.

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