Facebook Asks for User Feedback On Ads

Facebook is attempting to understand why users hide ads in order to better focus content and remove inappropriate or offensive ads.

Users of the social network have long been able to hide any story in their newsfeed, including ads, by clicking “I Don’t Want to See This” at the top right of the story. But the updated feature will take the “hide ad” action a step further by asking users why they didn’t want to see the ad. If a user says that the content was irrelevant then Facebook will attempt to better target future ads. But if an ad is flagged as offensive or inappropriate, the company will show it to fewer people.

The move is thought to be a “beneficial” one for advertisers who use Facebook to build relationships and preference, according to Gary Stein, senior vice president of strategy and planning at iCrossing, adding that he believes it will “ultimately create value”.  On the other hand, if an advertiser is simply trying to get as many ads out to as many people as possible, relevance-be-damned, then they may be “somewhat disappointed” by this, he says.

Feedback will be weighted differently based on how often someone hides content from their newsfeed. Those who hide content infrequently will be more likely to see an impact on their newsfeeds. In the testing stage, people who rarely hid ads were 30 percent less likely to hide them under the new system.

Facebook hopes that the new feature will improve the advertising experience for all its users without affecting the performance of its 1.5 million advertisers. The company’s blog says, “These updates are designed to affect the ads that a small set of people give us negative feedback on, and allow us to show people ads that we think are most relevant for them.”

While more ads may be hidden as a result of negative feedback from users, the volume of ads on Facebook is not expected to change.

“Advertisers should see their ads move away from people who don’t want to see them and towards people who do. The net number of ads will no doubt stay the same but the composition should be better,” says Stein.

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