Mark Zuckerberg

  • A new study finds one Facebook like is all it takes for advertisers to tailor ads to your psychological profile.
  • Targeting ads this way resulted in a 40% jump in clicks and 50% jump in purchases.
  • The findings could be used for unethical purposes, but they could also help people live better lives, the lead author said.

Personalizing Facebook ads based on a user’s psychological profiles — not just their demographic traits, such as age or gender — can significantly increase the chance they’ll click on those ads and buy things, a new study has found.

Researchers at multiple universities saw up to a 40% increase in clicks and 50% increase in purchases when people’s ads were tailored to their specific level of introversion, extroversion, and openness to new experiences.

The findings can influence small purchases or national elections

Critically, these psychological assessments were made using not a robust test or analysis, but a single Facebook like that each person had made. Sandra Matz, a Columbia Business School professor and the study’s lead author, said the finding is worrisome.

looking at phones“If you use it in a context where you’re trying to manipulate people, you can try and get them to do something that goes against their best interest, like not going out on Election Day to vote,” Matz told Business Insider. “That’s certainly a context where you don’t want to see it happen.”

Matz and her colleagues ran Facebook ad campaigns among 3.5 million users — many of them women between 18 and 40 in the UK — on behalf of select companies.

They then looked at what individual users had liked on the site, which Matz said presented a clear window into people’s personalities, and designed the specific ads based on those likes.

The findings suggest that even minor tweaks can Read More Here