What kind of ads would you 'like'? Facebook wants to know

The site's news feed algorithms will start placing more emphasis on feedback from people rather than marketers

Facebook wants to make its ads less annoying to users by only showing them what they want to see, even if it means a dip in ad exposure for some marketers.

The company is changing its ads algorithms to provide users with advertisements that are more relevant, and desirable, to them, it said Friday.

Facebook already takes information both from marketers and end users into account when deciding how to place advertisements. But the social network will now put more emphasis on feedback from users to decide which ads to show them.

"We are currently working on some updates to the ads algorithms to improve the relevance and quality of the ads people see," Hong Ge, Facebook's engineering manager of news feed ads, said.

To do this, Facebook will be looking more at when users click, "like," comment on, or share ads, for instance. When someone hides an ad, Facebook will show that person less of those types of ads, the company said.

By placing more emphasis on these types of signals, Facebook hopes people will see more ads that are relevant to them and fewer that are not. So if someone hides ads for, say, vitamin supplements, fewer of those types of ads will appear in their news feed, Facebook said.

If marketers are miffed by these alterations, Facebook wants them to know it has their interests at heart too.

The ads algorithm tweaks may produce some unanticipated changes for how marketers' ads are distributed in the coming weeks, Facebook said. But, "this is ultimately better for marketers, because it means their messages are reaching the people most interested in what they have to offer," the company said.

Traditionally, marketers tell Facebook which people they think will be most interested in their ads. A restaurant, for example, might tell Facebook to show an ad to people living in the same city aged 18 to 35, Facebook said.

Facebook has been making a series of changes to the news feed over the past several months. In August the company said it would be changing its sorting algorithms to rearrange the order in which certain stories and posts from friends are displayed.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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Zach Miners

IDG News Service
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