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facebook-werbung, facebook ads, Publicités Facebook, Inserzioni di Facebook

Facebook ads: How do they know what ads you might like?

You know that: Like Google, Facebook is a data kraken, enveloping its huge arms around users and their data. You might know already that the pages you like are analyzed to personalize your Facebook ads. But did you realize that Facebook also knows what websites you’re visiting? If you see a Like or Share button on these websites you can be sure: Facebook knows that you have been visiting. Or, have you heard about the data brokers Epsilon, Datalogix or Acxiom? These companies collect data from government public records, from surveys, your publicly posted stuff on social networks, and much more. These data are then aggregated to created individual profiles with thousands of little data pieces and are sold by these data brokers to curious companies, e.g. Facebook.

How useful is this all-embracing collection of data?

Well, we can’t avoid online ads completely, especially not on Facebook. And if you can’t avoid Facebook ads, you’ve to live with them and to make most use of them. In my opinion, it’s useful to receive personalized Facebook ads. It allows advertisers to specify the Facebook ads according to my personal needs and I see more useful than useless ads. But sometimes it’s also unnerving how exact these ads are. For example, Facebook targeting allows Coca Cola to target to teenagers who have recently bought soft drinks online. And due to the close collaboration with data brokers, Facebook also knows if a couple will soon have a baby. So this pair is most likely to receive Facebook ads for pampers very soon.

It’s not possible to deactivate this collection of data completely. But you should be aware of these two pages to manage some of the ads you’re seeing and, to a certain extent, restrict what data are collected and how they’re used.

99 red balloons used to target Facebook ads

Based on your location Facebook ads - based on location

  • Location (country, state, town, …)
  • Home ownership and type
  • Home value
  • Property size
  • Square footage of home
  • Year home was built
  • Household composition
  • Users who are away from family or hometown
  • Users who have recently moved
  • Expats (divided by what country they are from originally)
  • Length of time user has lived in house
  • Users who are likely to move soon
  • Users who travel frequently, for work or pleasure
  • Users who commute to work
  • Types of vacations user tends to go on
  • Users who recently returned from a trip
  • Users who recently used a travel app
  • Users who participate in a timeshare
  • Users, who access Facebook from another country than their profile mentions

Based on your relationships Facebook ads - based on relationship

  • Generation
  • Gender
  • Users who have an anniversary within 30 days
  • Users who are friends with someone who has an anniversary, is newly married or engaged, recently moved, or has an upcoming birthday
  • Users in long-distance relationships
  • Users in new relationships
  • Users who are newly engaged
  • Users who are newly married
  • Parents
  • Expectant parents
  • Mothers, divided by “type” (soccer, trendy, etc.)
  • Relationship status

Your job and education Facebook ads - based on job and education

  • School
  • Field of study
  • Education level
  • Users who have new jobs
  • Migrant worker
  • Industry
  • Job title
  • Office type
  • How many employees your company has
  • Users who own small businesses
  • Users who work in management or are executives

How mobil are you? Facebook ads - data based on your mobility

  • Users who own motorcycles
  • Users who plan to buy a car (and what kind/brand of car, and how soon)
  • Users who bought auto parts or accessories recently
  • Users who are likely to need auto parts or services
  • Style and brand of car you drive
  • Year car was bought
  • Age of car
  • How much money the user is likely to spend on their next car
  • Where user is most likely to buy their next car

What about your money and shopping behavior? Facebook ads - data based on your shopping behavior

  • Income and net worth
  • Users who have donated to charity (divided by type)
  • Users who have used Facebook Payments
  • Users who have spent more than average on Facebook Payments
  • Users who belong to a credit union, national bank or regional bank
  • Users who investor (divided by investment type)
  • Number of credit lines
  • Users who are active credit card users
  • Credit card type
  • Users who have a debit card
  • Users who carry a balance on their credit card
  • Users who recently acquired a smartphone or tablet
  • Time of year user’s household shops most
  • Users who are “heavy” buyers of beer, wine or spirits
  • Users who buy groceries (and what kinds)
  • Users who buy beauty products
  • Users who spend money on household products
  • Users who spend money on products for kids or pets, and what kinds of pets
  • Users whose household makes more online purchases than is the average
  • Users who tend to shop online (or off)
  • Types of restaurants user eats at
  • Kinds of stores user shops at
  • Users who are “receptive” to offers from companies offering online auto insurance, higher education or mortgages, and prepaid debit cards/satellite TV

Some of your interests Facebook ads - data based on your interests

  • Interests (general value)
  • Users who play canvas games
  • Users who own a gaming console
  • Early/late adopters of technology
  • Users who listen to the radio
  • Preference in TV shows
  • Users who use coupons
  • Types of clothing user’s household buys
  • Users who are interested in the Olympics, fall football, cricket or Ramadan

Not enough yet? Here are some more Facebook ads - more data

  • Age
  • Language
  • Ethnic affinity
  • Users who have birthdays soon
  • Operating system
  • Users who have created a Facebook event
  • Users who administer a Facebook page
  • Users who have recently uploaded photos to Facebook
  • Internet browser
  • Email service
  • Users who use a mobile device (divided by what brand they use)
  • Internet connection type
  • Users who access the Internet through a smartphone or tablet
  • Users who buy allergy medications, cough/cold medications, pain relief products, and over-the-counter meds
  • Users who are likely to engage in politics
  • Conservatives and liberals


Would you have thought of all these values? What’s your current emotion after reading this list of data categories that a company knows about you? And, before I forget it, have you liked our Avira Facebook page already? 😉

This post is also available in: French

Hey, I'm István and the Social Media Manager @Avira. Find all of my blog articles here and I hope you enjoy & share them.