Shopping For Facebook- How Target Ads Benefit Businesses.

Last week during my daily (ok, hourly) Facebook scroll there was an ad on my news feed that caught my eye. What I found interesting was how it ended up on my news feed in the first place. I hadn’t visited the site before, nor had I searched for the product on any other site, yet it was something that I never knew I wanted, I just had to buy it.

                          Illustrated by Anithra Ratnayake, September 2016

In a previous blog post I said that social media sites sometimes know us even better than we know ourselves. The idea of this can be quite unnerving,is that how they knew I was planning on travelling to the Maldives in the summer and therefore needed beach accessories?

The ads that appear on your Facebook feed are there for a reason, they are targeted directly at you and the type of person that they believe you are.

Illustrated by Anithra Ratnayake, September 2016


Traditionally, advertising was seen as a media message that the audience was expected to consume. Through the process of social media advertising however, individuals are now able to “become part of creating, developing and distributing advertising content” (Kim, et. al, 2015, p. 323). When we are shown advertisements that we are genuinely interested in seeing, we are more likely to interact and share that content with our friends.

Why facebook- (2)
                                                                                                                              Infograph created by Anithra Ratnayake via Canva, September 2016


Social media sites are invaluable to businesses when it comes to advertising. The infograph on the right highlights the top three reasons why companies are using Facebook for advertising.

All three of these reasons come together because of target advertising. This means that now companies can ensure that they are reaching their most relevant demographics. By doing this, it also ensures that no funds are wasted as “the aim of sophisticated targeting through advertising is not to waste a single eyeball” (Curran,, 2011, p. 29).

The rise of target advertising on social media comes as no surprise. One of the main reasons people log on to social media is to interact with friends and content that they are interested in. Therefore when it comes to advertising on social media, companies need to make sure that they are visible on profiles that share common interests with their products. People don’t want annoyance and interruption while browsing through their news feed, target marketing guarantees that ads reach their most relevant audiences.

Facebook offers a range of campaigns for businesses to choose from. Like Ads and their ‘clicks to website’ features are just two of the many that are on offer. My friend recently launched an active wear line and she used both these features to generate more traffic on her website and her Facebook page. The interview below touches on some of her experiences using the site and highlights some of the benefits this type of advertising can have on small businesses.

There is no question that advertising on social media is one of the most efficient methods a business can adopt to ensure their most relevant demographic is reached.

When it comes to the privacy concerns that arise from this, what we most often fail to see is that we too benefit from this method of advertising, as the poll results above indicate, the ads we see on Facebook are now ones that we most often want to see, and that doesn’t seem too bad does it?

Word count: 542 (not including captions & Citations)



Curran, K, Graham, S, & Temple, C 2011, ‘Advertising on Facebook’, International Journal of E-Business Development, vol.1, no.1, p.29

Kim, S, Lee, J, & Yoon, D 2015, ‘Norms in Social Media: The Application of Theory of Reasoned Action and Personal Norms in Predicting Interactions With Facebook Page Like Ads’, Communication Research Reports, vol. 32, no. 4, p. 323. Available from: 10.1080/08824096.2015.1089851. [6 September 2016].


Music in podcast

Good Morning by LAKEY INSPIRED CC BY 3.0


20 thoughts on “Shopping For Facebook- How Target Ads Benefit Businesses.

  1. Hi, I like your blog layout, it looks super professional! And the font you have used us awesome! – really visually appealing and I haven’t started reading yet. I really like your quote about social media knowing us better than we know ourselves – I think this is a really powerful message which encourages each of us to deeply think about our social media presence. Great use of embedding your tweets, also I’m a big fan of Banksy – so always happy to see his image! Just a quick tip on referencing, when you reference something for the first time, you must insert the whole reference – otherwise loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Another person that really loves your blog layout and colour scheme.
    I found this post really interesting, and something that I, myself can relate too, in regards to the Facebook ads, and how they know what were looking and shopping for online. Its a little bit scary how Facebook and other social media sites can search through our history though, do you think the sell this information on to other businesses and companies if we haven’t made our security features strong enough?
    I found it really helpful how you’ve embedded links and how they open in another window! Such a lifesaver.


  3. Another great blog post from you, Anithra!

    It’s interesting to see this from a positive perspective, rather than a dystopian one. While so many of us hate our cookies following us on to our social media feeds, it’s enlightening to hear how it helps new entrepreneurs.

    Your images and embedded Tweets further compliment your piece. Well done!

    Just a minor piece of advice- you’ve used the word ‘sight’ instead of ‘site’. You might want to edit that. 🙂 Otherwise, it’s a fantastic piece!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Anithra! This post was really interesting and something I think about quite often. I’ve had personal experience in marketing, as I have just finished up an internship in the area and understand the value in using social media for marketing purposes.

    I think it was refreshing how you discussed the positives, by using your friend’s active wear line as an example. I’d love to see some statistics into how quickly the likes increased on her page after she began using this targeted marketing.

    Your active links were great and I like how you referred to previous blog posts you had written as well (I’ll be sure to check it out!). Great work!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Couldn’t agree more! I find the Facebook algorithms very invasive and presumptive. Mark Zuckerburg noted in his book (Billionaire Boy)- ‘A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa’. I think this notion perfectly encapsulates the theme of a customised newsfeed your post eloquently discusses. In future weeks it would be interesting for you to expand this discussion into internet platforms such as Google and Instagram which also use personalised algorithms. Very interesting post!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Such a well thought out and visually appealing blog post Anithra! I thoroughly enjoyed this read and don’t have much to fault at all. The use of pictures and embedded twitter feed pics highly complement your piece. Moreover, the hyperlinks to articles throughout your piece were great additions.
    The use of colour for these links was great also.
    The example of your friends active wear line was a great addition. Perhaps adding a hyperlink to her website to for readers to see could have given your friends line further exposure!
    Moreover, further research into data mining and marketing on other platforms could strengthen your piece and provide further insights into this area of study. Also further research may unveil a dark side to your information being sold to companies for a costly price to our privacy – something to think about!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Hi Anithra,
    A very easy to read, relevant and interesting post. These Facebook Ads are in our faces every single day and I had personally grown quite accustomed to seeing them and not giving them a second thought. Thanks to good ol’ #ALC205 and another subject on advertising and consumerism, I have also begun to question WHY particular ads appear on my feed!
    I loved reading your personal experiences with your own searches and the ads appearing on your feed. I feel like it gives your piece a bit of personality and makes it easy to relate to. You have a great online ‘voice’ happening here, keep it up!
    Looking forward to hearing more from you.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Anithra,
    Very clear layout that makes viewers easy to read. I like your hyperlinks using on the connections to your previous blogs, which makes them work together, providing strong evidences for your analysis. Moreover, I really agree with your ideas of Facebook has promoted everyone being advertisers that the pages your friends like will also appear on my page. This always disturbing me due to the repetitive news appearing many times. Thus you show us how to control the Ads through a video, however, have you considered whether it’s really helpful for our privacy protection? Other diverse advertisements will still come out replacing that one.
    Overall great job! Except a minor mistake on your reference list that the title of journal should be Italic instead of the title of article.


  9. Omg I really agree with you, Anithra. Just yesterday, my friend sent me a website about a restaurant in Melbourne but it quite far from my house and I did Google Map the distance. After that, an advertisement about Myki was appeared on my Facebook and I was really surprised. I did not use the Google map website, I used the app in my Macbook but they still know what I research about. It shows that Facebook are really supporting companies to promote their brand and product, open another opportunity for companies to branding and marketing. Social media is a useful and easy tool for people that have business purpose because the exponential growth of online community information is very quickly, people can easily spread the information to another person with just a click on Facebook. Moreover, I think you should do more research and add more reference to your reference list, and also add the hyperlink onto your CC. Overall I really enjoy this blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great job on this blog post. I thought it was great how you you linked this blog post to your previous one which is a great way to promote your own work, I know I have since gone to read the previous one as well. Your friendly and relatable tone worked well throughout the post especially for this topic. I am currently reading many blog posts and yours has had one of the best integrations of tweets I have seen so far as often tweets seem out of place and context within the blog itself. However yours fit effortless in and don’t disrupt the flow of the blog itself.


  11. Hey, really good blog. I enjoyed reading it and it got me thinking of the ads as i had never really put much thought as to why they would appear. The blog is well structured. It is easy to read and understand. I like the use of your own embedded tweets and the hyperlinks as well. I like the idea of adding your friend’s experience with her company as well as your own experience. great job on the blog, looking forward to read others that you write. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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