Process Post 9 – Reverse Engineering Ads

Recently I’ve been noticing the abundance of engagement ring ads that have been popping up on my Facebook feed. Although it’s something that I have noticed, I haven’t thought deeply about why they may be showing up on my feed until this week in class when we discussed audiences and how websites reach their intended audience. Our professor gave us an activity to try, which was to pick an ad from our Facebook feed and reverse engineer it, A.K.A dissect why it may be popping up on your specific Facebook feed. Below is one of the many engagement ring ads that I’ve come across on my Facebook feed:

As many of you have probably noticed, Facebook seems to know your exact search history based on their creepily accurate ads they place on your feed. However in my case with the engagement ring ads, I found it interesting as I haven’t searched engagement rings in my browser, so where did they get this information from that I might be in this market at the moment? Time to start reverse engineering!

I began with thinking about what my characteristics were and which one’s I’ve shared with Facebook. Like most people, I have my basic characteristics listed on Facebook. This includes my age, gender, education, things like that. However, I also have my relationship status listed, which is currently “in a relationship”. Based on this information I’ve shared with Facebook, they can conclude that I’m a 23 year old female who is in a relationship. In general, women in the age range of 20-30 years old who are in a relationship may be thinking about getting married. Facebook may have taken this information and made an assumption, which is why they’re promoting engagement ring ads on my feed. Another added factor to this may be that I’ve had my relationship status as “in a relationship” on Facebook for over three years now. I noticed that these engagement ring ads started appearing on my feed a few months ago. Since Facebook thinks I’ve been in a relationship for a long time now, maybe that is also an indicator to them that they should start targeting me for engagement ring ads. However, I’m not positive if Facebook actually tracks this factor, but with my experience it seems as though they very well might be.

I plugged in my reverse engineering into Facebook Audience Insights and this is what I discovered:


I set the audience to Vancouver, Canada, and women in the age range of 20-30 years old. I didn’t specify if they were in a relationship or not as I wanted to see the percentage of this audience was listed as “in a relationship.” It appears that 61% of women 18-34 years old who are on Facebook in Vancouver, Canada are in the 25-34 age range, and 39% are in the 18-24 age range. Of those women, 27% of them are listed as “in a relationship.” Based on this information, I can assume that Facebook may be targeting that 27% with engagement ring ads.

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