Facebook tweaks ad hiding algorithm, weights toward silent types

Facebook talks about how its using social listening to better target ads.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

A Facebook user who hides ads rarely will carry more weight with the social network's algorithms.

Facebook outlined the changes to its social listening program, which tracks what ads people choose to hide from their feeds and why.

The company wants to show more relevant ads for good reasons. Facebook wants better ad targeting for user experience as well as revenue growth.

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According to Facebook, targeting can be improved by listening more to people who "rarely speak up." Facebook noted:

We know that a small group of people share feedback less frequently than others, and this is especially true for ads. So, we’ll now weight feedback differently based on how often someone hides ads and other content in their News Feed. If someone hides things very rarely, we’ll consider that when we choose what to show them. If we think there is even a small chance they might hide an ad, we won’t show it to them. This affects the type of ads we show everyone, but has a bigger impact for people who don’t often hide ads.

When testing this update, we saw that people who rarely hide ads ended up hiding 30 percent fewer ads with this change – meaning when we listen carefully, this feedback helps us show better ads – even to those who aren’t very vocal.

At scale, this theme revolves around the concept that managers should listen to the quiet types as much as the outgoing ones when it comes to ideas.

For Facebook, learning why someone hides an ad is critical. Facebook users can be good filters on targeting and what is offensive or not. The company can then take that knowledge and keep the ads away from similar groups.

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