Insider Intelligence delivers leading-edge research to clients in a variety of forms, including full-length reports and data visualizations to equip you with actionable takeaways for better business decisions.
In-depth analysis, benchmarks and shorter spotlights on digital trends.
Learn More
Interactive projections with 10k+ metrics on market trends, & consumer behavior.
Learn More
Proprietary data and over 3,000 third-party sources about the most important topics.
Learn More
Industry KPIs
Industry benchmarks for the most important KPIs in digital marketing, advertising, retail and ecommerce.
Learn More
Client-only email newsletters with analysis and takeaways from the daily news.
Learn More
Analyst Access Program
Exclusive time with the thought leaders who craft our research.
Learn More

About Insider Intelligence

Our goal at Insider Intelligence is to unlock digital opportunities for our clients with the world’s most trusted forecasts, analysis, and benchmarks. Spanning five core coverage areas and dozens of industries, our research on digital transformation is exhaustive.
Our Story
Learn more about our mission and how Insider Intelligence came to be.
Learn More
Rigorous proprietary data vetting strips biases and produces superior insights.
Learn More
Our People
Take a look into our corporate culture and view our open roles.
Join the Team
Contact Us
Speak to a member of our team to learn more about Insider Intelligence.
Contact Us
See our latest press releases, news articles or download our press kit.
Learn More
Advertising & Sponsorship Opportunities
Reach an engaged audience of decision-makers.
Learn More
Browse our upcoming and past webinars and other events.
Learn More
Tune in to eMarketer's daily, weekly, and monthly podcasts.
Learn More

Meta’s ad targeting may be producing inaccurate results, study suggests

The news: Facebook’s ad targeting may be producing inaccurate results. A new study from North Carolina State University found that Facebook’s user profiling system, which tracks behavior to determine users’ interests and serve targeted ads, resulted in irrelevant or incorrect interests around 29% of the time.

More on this: North Carolina State University’s study used a small sample—only 146 test accounts—but its results cast further doubt on the effectiveness of Facebook and Meta’s already fraught ad delivery systems.

  • Researchers found that simple actions like scrolling through a page once often resulted in targeted advertising. Facebook would also often make incorrect identifications—in one example, visiting the page for Apple Inc. resulted in the fruit being labeled as an interest.
  • Even negative actions resulted in incorrect labels. In another example, a user who left a negative comment on a “Harry Potter” post had the franchise and its stars marked as interests.
  • The study is another blow to Facebook’s advertising services, which have struggled to adapt to changes to Apple’s Identifier for Advertisers and the deprecation of browser cookies. Last fall, Meta revealed that an undetected ad bug meant results were incorrectly reported for months. Pressure from regulators about privacy also led the platform to remove the ability to target ads based on a user’s race or political opinions, further weakening the feature.

Meta’s response: Sensing anxiety from brand partners, Meta has taken steps to restore faith in its advertising ability, such as enabling brands to choose where their ads are placed. But a recent story from The Washington Post shows Meta is also trying to draw negative attention to competitors to diminish from its own.

  • The Post found that Meta had hired conservative consulting firm Targeted Victory to drum up negativity around TikTok. Through a series of op-eds and fake controversies about “challenges” on the apps, Meta sought to “get the message out that while Meta is the current punching bag, TikTok is the real threat…” according to emails obtained by The Post.
  • Evidence of the campaign goes as far back as February (before Meta had its own scandal about teens on Instagram), and it seems it was effective. TikTok published a report looking to dispel panic around teen safety and viral challenges in November, and even The Post itself published stories about now-debunked challenges like the “Slap a Teacher TikTok Challenge,” as Targeted Victory CEO Zac Moffatt pointed out on Twitter.

Looking forward: Meta may have succeeded in drawing negative attention to TikTok, but there’s no worming its way out of long-standing issues. With its smear campaign out in the open and yet another issue with its advertising products, Meta will have to find a long-term solution to appease advertisers.