How Much Does Facebook Really Know About Its Users?

what does facebook know

If you’ve spent any time at all on Facebook (and here in 2018, who hasn’t?), you’ve seen them: the ads that seem perfectly tailored to your life. The sponsored posts that speak to something you were just thinking about the other day. What’s going on? Is Facebook really that savvy about who you are and what you do?

The short answer: Yes.

That might seem weird, but when you think about it, it’s actually pretty cool. First of all, you’re not seeing ads that you don’t care about, which makes your entire online experience better. Secondly, if you’re a business owner, you need to know about this so that you can harness it and put your ads in front of the right people, at the right time.

Let’s take a closer look at the inner workings of Facebook’s info-gathering. 

How to Find Out What Facebook Knows About You

It’s super easy to uncover Facebook’s knowledge about who you are. First, make sure you are logged in to your Facebook account. Then, go here:

https://www.facebook.com/ads/preferences/

You can start with the “Your interests” section. This is where Facebook has compiled things that it believes you are interested in based on your online activity. I was pretty impressed by how well they had me pegged.

What Facebook Thinks Anne Riley Is Interested In:

  • Online advertising – Yes. This is literally my job.
  • Beachbody – Uh… it’s Spring Break?
  • Teacher – Yes, I used to be.
  • Money – Well, who isn’t interested in that?
  • GoFundMe – I have GoFunded several people.
  • Electric Guitar – Looks like my husband accidentally logged onto my account again…
  • Writer – Yes, I do this on the side! I’m a little surprised it was ranked so far down.

Now, scroll down to the section titled “Your information.” This is where you will see what, exactly, Facebook knows (or believes) about you based on your activity and your perceived interests.

The “About you” sub-section isn’t that earth-shattering, as these are things you probably have entered in your Facebook profile. But click on over to “Your categories” and things get real. (Pro tip: Click the “see more” option to…well…see more.)

How Facebook Categorizes Anne Riley:

  • New Parents (0-12 months) – While this isn’t currently true, it has been true in the past.
  • Parents with Toddlers (01-02 years) – Yes. We are on our third toddler.
  • Parents (All) – I think Facebook has caught onto the fact that I have children.
  • IT and Technical Services – I do work in digital marketing, which could be perceived that way.
  • Education and Libraries – I spent ten years teaching high school Spanish and I also spend probably too much time at libraries all over Birmingham.
  • Anniversary (within 61-90 days) – Happy ten years, hubby!
  • Owns: iPhone 6S – Yeah, I should probably upgrade, but it still works, so…?
  • Close Friends of Expats – England, Uganda, New Zealand, and more – we have lots of friends who are either permanent residents of other countries or they are spending an extended amount of time overseas.

What About You?

Use the link above to see what Facebook knows about you. Is it right? Is it wrong? Either way, now you know what Facebook thinks of you – and why you’re seeing certain ads that seem tailored to who you are.

If you’re a business owner, or you work for a marketing company and you’d like to know more about using Facebook effectively, drop us a line. We’d love to talk to you about the power of social media marketing for your business and how it can help you see exponentially more ROI from your marketing strategy.