Facebook Tests Ad Opt-Out Feature

Facebook has been testing a couple new user features that affect big and small brands.

First, the company is giving some people greater control over the ads they see. A subset of Facebook users is being offered the opportunity to “Hide all from [advertiser]” when they mouse over the “x” in the upper right hand corner of an ad. Selecting that option apparently eliminates future ad impressions served to the user. It’s unclear whether the user is opting out of that particular campaign or all future ads from the brand.

If implemented cross-platform, the feature may reduce spammy ad copy and increase click-through rates. The fewer times an ad is served to an uninterested user, in theory at least, the better the overall response rate.

Initially reported by InsideFacebook.com, Facebook spokesperson Annie Ta confirmed the trial with ClickZ. “This is currently a test and we have nothing else to share at this time,” she said in an email.

Since June 2008, Facebook has let users give feedback on ads, providing them with choices like “uninteresting,” “misleading,” “sexually explicit,” or “repetitive” when they “x” out of an unappealing ad. Such data informs Facebook’s ad targeting algorithm and helps it evaluate whether specific ads are relevant to a user or are being served too often.

Separately, small businesses with Facebook pages may want to know they are being pitted against one another in polls. Some users who have checked into multiple restaurants or bars via the Places feature on Facebook’s mobile app are being served a poll on their profile pages, asking them which establishment they like better. (See image below.) It’s also a test, Facebook said, without offering particulars on how the poll data will be used.

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