Skip to main content

Snapchat will soon use ‘creepy’ ad targeting on you, but here’s how to opt out

snapchat
dennizn/123RF
Despite publicly denouncing an abundance of ads as “creepy,” Snapchat is now embracing ad-targeting in the vein of Google, Facebook, and Twitter.

The company has struck a deal with Oracle Data Cloud — an offline data provider — that marks the first time it has allowed for ad targeting using third party data, according to The Wall Street Journal. What this essentially means is that Snapchat will start showing you ads based on the offline purchasing data it obtains from Oracle Data Cloud. This will then allow the company to determine whether your offline activity is influenced by the ads on its platform, allowing it to theoretically attract more marketing dollars.

The third-party data aggregator claims that it has information on more than 110 million households, $2 trillion in consumer spending, and more than 1,500 brands. It collects this data via a series of methods including through loyalty cards, shops and retailers, catalog orders and catalog address lists. Although Oracle claims that its online marketing data is only stored for 180 days and does not directly identify individuals, it states no such thing about its offline data. Referring to this type of info, Oracle claims it may include a person’s name and physical address, and telephone numbers, among other data.

According to Facebook, it uses its online and offline data to improve the ads it serves users (even giving you personalization tools through its ad preferences feature). However, digital privacy advocates such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation and ProPublica have raised concerns over the use of offline marketing information in the past.

How to opt-out of Snapchat’s targeted ads

Fortunately, if you happen to be averse to targeted ads, Snapchat does have an option that lets you disable them. To access the option, you have to first tap the ghost icon atop the screen in camera mode. This takes you to your profile, where you’ll see a gear icon tucked in the top right-hand corner that indicates your settings tab. Tap it, and scroll through the list until you see “manage preferences” under the “additional services” option. Select it and you’ll be able to access your advert preferences on the corresponding screen, where you can turn off the “Snap Audience Match” option. This turns off all ads from Snap’s advertising partners including the Oracle Data Cloud. It does not, however, stop Snapchat from serving you ads based on your online, in-app activity.

If you want to stop Oracle providing your data to other digital platforms (that don’t let you opt-out of targeted ads) the only viable option you have is to write to Oracle itself. You can find out how to reach the company, along with more about its Oracle Data Cloud privacy policy here.

Snapchat isn’t the only web platform using Oracle’s information to target users — aside from the aforementioned tech giants, Oracle also has similar partnerships in place with Pinterest, and Google-owned YouTube.

The reasoning behind Snapchat’s recent ramping up of ads on its platform is likely its imminent IPO: the visual messaging app’s parent company Snap is expected to go public in March. And nothing pleases investors more than ad sales.

Updated on 01-19-2017 by Saqib Shah: Added info on how to opt out of Snap’s targeted ads.

Editors' Recommendations

Saqib Shah
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Saqib Shah is a Twitter addict and film fan with an obsessive interest in pop culture trends. In his spare time he can be…
How to create multiple profiles on a Facebook account
A series of social media app icons on a colorful smartphone screen.

Facebook (and, by extension, Meta) are particular in the way that they allow users to create accounts and interact with their platform. Being the opposite of the typical anonymous service, Facebook sticks to the rule of one account per one person. However, Facebook allows its users to create multiple profiles that are all linked to one main Facebook account.

In much the same way as Japanese philosophy tells us we have three faces — one to show the world, one to show family, and one to show no one but ourselves — these profiles allow us to put a different 'face' out to different aspects or hobbies. One profile can keep tabs on your friends, while another goes hardcore into networking and selling tech on Facebook Marketplace.

Read more
How to set your Facebook Feed to show most recent posts
A smartphone with the Facebook app icon on it all on a white marble background.

Facebook's Feed is designed to recommend content you'd most likely want to see, and it's based on your Facebook activity, your connections, and the level of engagement a given post receives.

But sometimes you just want to see the latest Facebook posts. If that's you, it's important to know that you're not just stuck with Facebook's Feed algorithm. Sorting your Facebook Feed to show the most recent posts is a simple process:

Read more
How to go live on TikTok (and can you with under 1,000 followers?)
Tik Tok

It only takes a few steps to go live on TikTok and broadcast yourself to the world:

Touch the + button at the bottom of the screen.
Press the Live option under the record button.
Come up with a title for your live stream. 
Click Go Live to begin.

Read more