You might think you’re impervious to Facebook’s ads, but you probably do get seduced every once in a while. But because ads aren’t always permanently available anywhere, it can be impossible to find a Facebook ad that led somewhere you want to revisit. Now Facebook has a solution called Recent Ad Activity for when (if) you click an ad and want to see it again.
TechCrunch inquired with Facebook about the feature after Matt Navarra shared a screenshot, and now the company admits that Recent Ad Activity has been fully rolled out in the US. Facebook tells us it’s considering what other countries to test the feature in. You can find Recent Ad Activity in the bookmarks sidebar of Facebook’s mobile apps and desktop site.
Recent Ad Activity appears to show the past three months or so of ads you clicked, liked, commented on or shared. There’s also a tab for ads you purposefully saved.
Unfortunately, the three-month window means no one will be able to dredge up the political ads bought by Russian agents seeking to sway the 2016 U.S. presidential election in favor of Donald Trump.
Facebook has repeatedly refused to disclose the content of these ads publicly, citing that ads and their targeting are proprietary business secrets of its customers. It’s also bound by U.S. privacy laws that could penalize it for these disclosures. But with a search warrant, Facebook has given information about these ads’ content, targeting and buyers to Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the election, according to The Wall Street Journal and CNN.
The feature could be a boon to Facebook advertisers that seek to be remembered. Recent Ad Activity could let people click through an old ad and make a purchase or take another action the business cares about.
That in turn could help Facebook take credit for driving purchases. If you saw an ad six weeks ago but can’t quite remember it, you might Google any details you recall, leading the search engine to take credit for delivering the conversion. With Recent Ad Activity, those users might just come back to Facebook, click through the ad again and give Facebook data it can use to convince advertisers to spend more.