Facebook starts listening to feedback for better News Feed ads

In yet another News Feed alteration, Facebook has announced that it will start listening to user feedback and opinion about the ads they see. The world’s largest social network’s ultimate aim is to deliver interesting and relevant ads to its extensive pool of active users, which now totals over one billion.

This latest piece of news concerns two changes. The first is to closely look at the data and feedback gained from users who hide ads. From there, Facebook will decide whether that ad would be relevant for other people. The second is to pay more attention to those who don’t hide ads as often, because when they do provide feedback, it is said to be more useful and valuable.

Why people hide ads

Even though there are more than 1.5 million active advertisers on Facebook, the social network has given users the choice to hide an ad so it doesn’t appear in their News Feed. Simply select ‘I don’t want to see this’ from the menu on the top right of every post. After doing so, Facebook tries to show fewer stories like that one.

However now Facebook is asking why, as the user’s response might not just apply to them, but others as well. For example, ads that are deemed irrelevant or trivial will usually only apply to a single user. But if they are flagged as offensive or inappropriate, other users might be upset or displeased too.

While testing this update, Facebook managed to limit the number of times an offensive or inappropriate ad was seen because it was noted sooner rather than later.

Listening closely to less vocal users

In Facebook’s second News Feed ads change, feedback will be weighted differently depending on how often a user hides content.

“If someone hides things very rarely, we’ll consider that when we choose what to show them,” said Max Eulenstein, Product Manager, Facebook. “If we think there is even a small chance they might hide an ad, we won’t show it to them.”

This update still applies to every Facebook user, but will have a bigger impact on those that don’t mind irrelevant or inappropriate ads on their News Feed. Even so, in testing this change Facebook found that less vocal users ending up hiding 30 per cent fewer ads, showing that the system works.

What about advertisers?

Advertisers don’t really need to worry about this latest alteration, as there will be no change to the delivery of content or the performance of their ads. “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, and make sure advertisers are getting their messages in front of the right people,” Eulenstein added.

Even though Facebook is clearly taking an active interest in what ads appear on its users’ News Feeds to deliver the best experience possible, this particular update will probably end up benefitting advertisers more in the long run.

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