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Tired of targeted ads on Facebook and Google? Here’s how to get rid of them!

Taylor Gadsden

Mar 16, 2022 — 4 min read

Learn all the tips and tricks you need to know to keep ads from following you after shopping or browsing.

It can be very annoying after purchasing or researching something on the internet to then be inundated with ads on the same subject. Facebook and Google have ad preferences that you can alter to stop this from happening.

How to stop targeted ads

You don’t have to let shopping or browsing decisions of the past haunt you forever. There are a few simple hacks and edits to your settings that can make targeted ads a thing of the past on social media and your web browser. Take a look at how to stop Facebook ads and some steps you can take on popular platforms like Google. 

How to stop Facebook ads

You can’t opt out of ads completely but you do have a say in which ads you see and what data is used to select these ads. You can click on any ad directly and choose to hide it specifically, hide ads from the advertisers or check out why you’re seeing it in the first place. 

From there, you can get a better idea of how to stop Facebook ads by seeing what data is being used and then change the data that’s influencing your ads.

How to stop ads based on relationship status, employer, or job title

  1. Open your Facebook account and navigate to “Settings & Privacy” dropdown under your name.
  2. Click on “Ads” in the left menu.
  3. Click Ad Topics and then under Ad topics advertisers can use to reach you, you’ll see topics representing interest categories advertisers can use to reach you.
  4. To see less of an ad topic, click the topic you want to see less of and then select See Less.

On the Ad Topics page, you’ll now see this topic under Topics you see less of. You can change your preference anytime by selecting a topic and choosing No preference.

How to stop ads based on data from advertisers and offline interactions (like purchases, your use of partner websites or apps)

  1. Navigate to the ‘Ad Preferences‘ menu and choose Ad Settings.
  2. Click on Data about your activity from partners
  3. Select ‘No‘ to deactivate these ad influencers.

These instructions aren’t universal to every social media platform, but making these changes on a player like Facebook could actually take care of a good bit of your ad targeting problems.

How to stop Google ads

Because Google is behind some of the largest web-based services in the industry (YouTube, Waze and Google Chrome, to name a few) the changes you make to your Google account ad settings will make a major impact on the ads you see overall. 

How to edit what data Google uses to create your ads

  1. Open your Google account profile and select ‘Data & personalization‘ in the main menu. 
  2. Scroll down to the ‘Web & App Activity‘ and disable ads influenced by your activity altogether or pick and choose which activities are included using the checklist. 
Google account web activity settings

You’ll also have the option to stop data collection from your location history as well (especially useful for Google Maps users). 

To stop your data from influencings your ads altogether, you can scroll down a bit further to the ‘Ad personalization’ settings and deactivate this setting completely. 

Google ad personalization settings

As consumers, we’ll never be able to totally escape ads, but if you know how they work and how you can influence them, you can get some of your privacy back. 

For more tips and tricks on how to stop Facebook ads or seek better online security, follow us on Facebook, Twitter or right here at our Resource Center.

How targeted advertisements work

Many consumers swear their web browsers and social media accounts are listening to their conversations. That belief is understandable given the accuracy of some of the ads users are seeing nowadays. However, there’s a system to the way advertisers get their ads in front of the right eyes. They work closely with social media platforms (like Facebook) or web browsers (like Google) to do it. 

So, let’s say you’ve been shopping the TJ Maxx home section for something to add to your living space and discussing your options with a few friends. Not even a week later, those options are showing up in display ads alongside your newsfeed. Here are a few ways this can happen:

  • You were logged into your social account while browsing the products.
  • You fit the target demographic the company asked their ads to be shown to.
  • You’ve purchased from the company before and they’re targeting you specifically.
  • You’re active on one of Google’s many web-based services (Google Maps, Google Chrome, Gmail, Waze) so they have a detailed profile on your likes and dislikes.

If you have social media apps on your phone, the odds are you’re logged in to those accounts and they’re monitoring your browsing activity on other sites. Facebook, in particular, is especially skilled at this thanks to Facebook Pixel, a technology that sends messages back to Facebook from sites you’ve visited. 

You may also be seeing ads because you fit the company’s target audience or you’ve purchased from the retailer before. But if you’re seeing the exact products in your cart displayed in ads elsewhere, that information was passed along to the social media app via Pixel. 

Google is able to put together a pretty extensive list of who you are, where you go and what you’re into, based off of your activity on any of their various services. So if you frequent any of Google’s popular platforms and you’ve never altered the settings, those platforms are constantly learning from you in order to serve up ads specifically for you. 

Alex Sheehan

Written by:

Alex Sheehan

Contributing Writer

Hey! I’m Alexandra Sheehan, a self-employed content strategist and copywriter for B2B companies in the retail, e-commerce and travel industries. I’ve also written for Verizon, Four Season Hotels and Resorts,… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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