All about TikTok’s newly introduced “About this ad” functionality
3 min read
3 min read
by Krisiana Kostadinova
How many times have you seen an ad and wondered – Why this? Why me? Why now? Well, with this new feature TikTok recently rolled out, you may get answers to such questions.
In the era of social media, digital marketing has become one of the most effective ways to promote products and services through paid ads and organic content.
As soon as you create a profile on an online platform, you agree to be “out there,” and natural or legal entities (“targeters”) will try to communicate specific messages to you to advance commercial, political, or other interests.
Upon creating an account, you’re asked to share basic personal information, such as your name, age, and gender, to complete the registration process. That basic information will trigger specific, personalized ads, including everything that’s added on top of it, such as your behavioral patterns on the app and your interests. Also, the app you are using most likely isn’t the only one tracking this information.
Sometimes the online ads seem a bit too “personal,” right?
That is because your behavior online is likely to be tracked by more than just the app you see an ad on. The algorithm, on which data collection across social media apps gathers more information than you think. Some companies realized that their users would appreciate more transparency on the topic, so, for instance, back in 2021, Apple (later followed by Google for Android) introduced a functionality about “ATT” (ad targeting transparency), which lets you decide whether you want to share information, across multiple platforms, with data brokers and other third parties for ad-targeting purposes.
To jumpstart their advertising transparency efforts, TikTok introduced a new functionality called “About this Ad,” which shows you exactly why you are seeing a particular ad. When you see an advertisement on the platform, you can click on the “share” button, which will take you to the “About this ad” section. This section contains a detailed description of your profile based on the personal information you have entered and the data (like interests on the TikTok app, behavior across other platforms, device type, and operating system) that the app has found out about you.
Talking about data privacy, TikTok also lets users decide if they want to be targeted that way or not. You can switch data sharing on or off, update your personal data or remove interests from your profile at any time.
Now you know why after a quick search for a simple pasta recipe, you suddenly see ads about cookbooks, cheese graters, and ravioli stamps.