Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and (apparent) founder of Facebook, has a lot to answer for.
Apart from accusations of spreading ‘fake news’ across our news feeds, our casual spending habits have probably increased.
Why is it, that when I browse the internet fantasising about my next holiday or contemplating new shoes, Facebook and Instagram rub it in that I can’t quite afford them right now. I, like many others am being targeted by adverts.

My name is Kerri and I’ve been interning with the Marketing team at The Women’s Organisation this month. In the wake of pay day, and the end of my internship, I’m finally able to act on the ads that have been haunting me this past month – I’m going to Copenhagen by the way.

So how does the whole advert thing work? Are Facebook spying on me? Can I stop it? And is it necessary for businesses to do this?
First of all, it’s pretty obvious why a business would want to advertise on Facebook, more than a billion people are actively using it. According to one survey carried out by Deloitte last year, 79% of adults check the apps on their phone in the hour before they go to sleep. I’d say that’s most of us.
Facebook’s website states that they ‘want the ads you see on Facebook to be as interesting and useful to you as possible’ – in other words, they’ll get to know you through your data usage and target you accordingly. To be more specific, they look at:
  • What you share on Facebook, what content you’re liking, what you put in your posts or comments
  • Your personal statistics; your age, gender and location for example
  • Your activity on other apps on your device, so what else your browsing on your phone or household computer
So how can Facebook detect what I’m looking at, on a completely unrelated website, on my laptop for example? Well as we’ve become a more digital world, so too has marketing.  If you have a Facebook ad account, you have access to downloading software on your website that will create a link between Facebook and its users who make their way on to your site.
The good news is, if you didn’t already know, you don’t need to have an ad account to market through Facebook, you can set up a Facebook business page for free. If you already have one of these, no doubt, you will have already been asked on occasion whether you want to ‘boost’ a post for a fee.  A Facebook ad account is one up from that and you can do an advert or a series of them depending on your budget. For more information on this, there’s some useful guidance on Facebook’s website – click here.  
For anyone who finds the level of targeted adverting is making them feel uneasy, you can prevent it or at least limit it through adjusting your Facebook account settings.
Paying for adverts aside, if you’re not showcasing your business on Facebook, you’re making a mistake! Here’s why:
  • Wider audience reach, over a billion users
  • Once you’ve got them, i.e. they’ve liked your page, they’ll be exposed to your posts, ads and news feed stream
  • People who like your page are likely to already have some interest in whatever area of services or sales you provide, your following is your target consumer
  • Facebook can provide statistics on page views, likes and any calls for action you implement (e.g. click on this link to sign up to our newsletter)
  • Opportunity to post interesting content, driving people to your main website
  • Build brand loyalty
  • Opportunity to employ sales incentives such as competitions through post sharing
  • More accessible, direct message facility for business enquiries
  • Easy to view your competitors and see what they’re doing
  • Increased online presence = SEO (Search Engine Optimization), more people can find you using google

If you haven’t got as far as starting a Facebook page for your business or just want to improve your knowledge of the features and techniques that can be used, The Women’s Organisation are running a series of Digital Marketing courses. We have a great half or full day course on Using Facebook, Instagram and Simple Social Media to market your business [half day costs £50, full day costs £90]. Head over to our events page to find the next event!