Oh, Facebook…the updates keep on coming. In October of 2017, Facebook began making changes to their ad policies, and they haven’t stopped since.
In a continued effort to increase transparency in advertising following the data breach scandal, and the suspicious action that took place during the 2016 presidential election, Facebook rolled out a new feature: each business page will now show a list of all advertisements it’s running on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger, and on all of Facebook’s partner networks.
The New Update
Now, anyone can go to a business’ page to see all of the ads the business is running, whether or not the ads are shown or targeted to the user searching for that information. This is a deviation from the previous policy, where most of that information was privy only to the people actually running the ads themselves. It’s an unprecedented level of user access and transparency. Users can see all the active ads a page is running, and where those ads are being shown. Users will also have an option to flag “suspicious content” within the page itself, if they think something isn’t quite right.
As a user, you are probably thinking, why would I want to see more ads?! As a business, you are probably thinking that your secret advertising sauce is going to be unleashed to the public. We would like to speak to your user and business self and tell you not to worry. You don’t have to see these advertisements if you don’t want to, and your ad analytics will not be seen, only the ad description and image. Nothing that isn’t out there already.
Facebook ads are generally run and paid for by a myriad of legitimate business organizations, everything from politicians to startup nonprofits. Facebook is concerned, however, about the misuse of these ads.
Facebook’s director of Product Management said that a select few users are “misusing our products.” It’s an example of one small group causing enough havoc to create a ripple effect of change. We can expect to see further efforts on Facebook’s part to increase transparency, making it more arduous to run and legitimize ads.
What Does This Mean for Businesses?
Businesses will be able to see their competitors advertisements, but they will also be able to view yours as well. We will have visibility into every account’s advertisements, no matter what audience is being targeted. Facebook is enhancing the platform transparency, but this does not mean that your advertising strategies need to change.
Most social media companies are following this transparency trend. Twitter has also made major overhauls to their ad policies over the last few months in an effort to protect against malicious behavior. We can expect to see more and more changes in the coming months. Take a look at two recent Facebook changes: User Ad Preferences and Political Advertisements.