Everything you need to know about ads on Facebook

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 21, 2015
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Facebook

Advertisement is one of Facebook's primary revenue sources. You may see ads on your Facebook News Feed, mobile apps and other locations on the site.

Businesses create these ads on Facebook and control who sees them in detail. They have access to parameters for that, for instance gender, age or interests, to show ads only to their target audience.

Facebook introduced interest-based advertisement last year on the site. This takes into account other user activity on the Internet, for instance which websites a user visits, and will prioritize matching ads based on the activity.

What most Facebook users don't know is that the site gives them some control over ads they see. This includes explanation why an ad is shown among other things.

Find out why an ad is shown to you on Facebook

facebook ad why am i seeing this

A click on the small down arrow icon on the top right of an advertisement on Facebook displays a context menu with ad-related options.

The first allows you to hide this ad, which is saved as a preference and will show less ads of the type on the site.

The "Why am I seeing this" is interesting, as it may reveal to you why the ad is displayed to you. When you select the option, an overlay is displayed with information and links to advertisement preferences.

facebook ad explanation

The "why am I seeing this ad" page for an Amazon ad revealed the following explanation why the ad is displayed to me on Facebook:

One of the reasons you're seeing this ad is because Amazon.de added you to a list of people they want to reach on Facebook. They were able to reach you because you're on their customer list or have provided them with your contact information off of Facebook.

There you find an option to hide all advertisement from the company if you don't like it, and an option to manage your ad preferences.

Back to the context menu. You may also inform Facebook that you liked the ad by selecting "this ad is useful" which will have the opposite effect than "hide ad" in the menu.

Facebook Advertisement Preferences

facebook ads

Ads on Facebook, regardless of whether you are using the Web version or an application, are controlled in the preferences.

Open the Ads section of the Settings with this link https://www.facebook.com/settings?tab=ads or open the Settings manually and switch to Ads there once the page has loaded fully.

There you find three options to customize your advertisement experience and exposure on the site.

Ads based on my use of websites and apps - This controls whether you see interest-based ads on Facebook. You can turn it on or off.

Can you see online interest-based ads from Facebook?
One of the ways we show you ads is based on your use of websites and apps that use Facebook's technologies. For example, if you visit travel websites, you might then see ads on Facebook for hotel deals. We call this online interest-based advertising.

Ads with my social actions - Defines who can see your social actions on ads, e.g. a recommendation of a product in ad form.

This setting applies to your likes, comments, shares, app usage and events joined that appear with ads your friends see. Ads like this will only be visible to people who have permission to view the action you've taken.

Ads based on my preferences - Ads are shown to you based on things you like (which are based on likes on Facebook). You may open this page to control these https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences/edit/

We want to show you ads that you'll find relevant. That's why we have ad preferences, a tool that lets you view, add and remove preferences we created for you based on things like your profile information, actions you take on Facebook and websites and apps you use off Facebook

Everything you need to know about ads on Facebook
Article Name
Everything you need to know about ads on Facebook
Find out why ads are shown to you on Facebook, how to disable them and to control what is shown to you on the web version and in Facebook apps.

Tutorials & Tips

Previous Post: «
Next Post: «


  1. insanelyapple said on September 21, 2015 at 2:00 pm

    They seriously think that people would want to see ads and would provide themes, interests to see more relevant ads? Wow. That’s kinda surrealistic but perhaps a reality for the marketers.

  2. Nebulus said on September 21, 2015 at 11:52 am

    Add the following rules in the “My Filters” section of uBlock Origin and hit apply; The rules only hide the sidebar ads, but that is all I need:


    Note: The same rules can be used for AdBlock Plus as well.

Leave a Reply

Check the box to consent to your data being stored in line with the guidelines set out in our privacy policy

We love comments and welcome thoughtful and civilized discussion. Rudeness and personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please stay on-topic.
Please note that your comment may not appear immediately after you post it.