Facebook Page Information and Ad Transparency Get Heightened
For the past year or so, Facebook has been criticized for a number of data privacy blunders and breaches. These includes foreign governments using Facebook ads to influence political elections and poorly vetted access to data meant to be used by educational institutions. Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg went before the US Congress to answer their questions and let the American public know what the company would be doing to address these privacy concerns.
On October 27, 2017, Facebook announced an effort to bring more transparency to political and business advertisements run on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and the Audience Network. They rolled out a new section on Facebook Pages called Info & Ads. This section gives everyone the ability to see what ads a page is actively running on the Facebook platform.
Facebook has placed a lot of emphasis on political advertising transparency. They have begun requiring the Page Admin and Page Advertisers to have their identification and physical location verified by the social network. According to Facebook, Pages that promote political advertisements will include the following advertisement insights:
- Searchable Ad Archive
- Total Money Spent
- Total Impressions Delivered
- Ad Demographic Targeting
In a press conference, COO Sheryl Sandberg shared insights on the searchable ad archive. Ads in the archive will be available once the archive goes live and will continue to live in the archive for seven years. Ad active prior to the start of the archive will not be searchable because Facebook doesn’t store those ads.
What about non-political ads? While the same insights are not available for non-political ads yet, they are coming. Facebook likely wants to used this mid-term political cycle to test the experience before committing to it platform wide.
There’s some information that is not shared by Facebook on ads from the Info and Ads tab. While you can view active ads, Facebook will not share how much engagement ad as has received.
Those advertisers concerned with engagement their ads might receive from the Info and Ads tab need not worry. Anyone who engages with ads on the Info and Ads tab will not be counted against the advertiser. You can even click through on ads to view their destination pages.
The Info and Ads tab does show two other important pieces if information. The first is when the Page was created. The second is if the Page has ever had a name change. Why is this important? It can be a red flag of a newly created page starts running ads. So is changing the name of a page to something completely different.
Not all ads types functions the same and show on the Info and Ads tab. Here are a few examples:
Offer Ads - These ads are hidden from those that are outside the target audience
Lead Ads - Facebook has not confirmed of these ads are sending the right information to the intended destination, like a CRM.
Canvas Ads - These ads are only visible on mobile.
Dynamic Ads - These ads are not visible on any device.
Video Ads - It’s unclear what video ads are visible. We have heard reports that midroll video ads are not visible yet Boosted Posts with video are. We will update this article as this becomes more clear.
What should you take away from this? First, everyone can see your ads. Use this feature as a way to make sure they are all functioning correctly and should be running. Second, use this feature to research your competition. Are they running ads? Do the ads they are running appear to be more effective or sound better than yours? Are they using an ad format you’re not? Use this chance to audit the competition.
Facebook has made it clear that they are going to make advertising on their platform more transparent. This is both a good thing and potentially harmful. No matter which way you think, it will keep us marketers in check and that’s a good thing.