Facebook and Twitter had an almost perfect synchronization in their announcements that they’ll focus on ad transparency from now on. Although there was no plan to coordinate their updates, the timing of both announcements brings a change in our marketing habits.
At first, it may bring a confusion and the question is how it will impact advertisers, publishers, and brands.
A closer look at Facebook’s announcement
Facebook announced that they’ll be making “significant steps to bring more transparency to ads.” After a turbulent period of negative headlines, they want to reassure us that everything will be transparent from now on.
This allows everyone to access all the active ads for any page. For example, if you’re wondering how many active ads your favourite publisher runs, you can simply visit their page and access the section called “Info and Ads.”
You can also pick the location that you want to analyze, in case the ads are the target to a particular audience.
This change will bring increased accountability, with Facebook hoping that it will prevent any future fake news and abuses.
Further more, there is an additional level of transparency for political ads. All political ads will now be archived in a different section, which will allow you to find all Facebook and Instagram ads that have run from May 7 and onwards. All the ads will stay on the archive for 7 years to ensure that they will still be available for anyone interested in checking them.
So if you have to search for ads that you didn’t know were running, then you may not have been in their target audience. This transparency should make it easier for Facebook to keep everyone accountable while the archive could help prevent any misuse of their advertising features.
Learning more about Twitter’s ad transparency changes
Twitter may not have suffered from the same level of backlash as Facebook lately, but they’re still receiving numerous reports on the way some Twitter users manage their profiles.
This was probably the reason that they wanted to ensure that their ads will be transparent from now on.
Their new tool is called ‘Ad Transparency Center’ and you can access it here. You can simply search for any account to see the tweets that they have promoted in the last seven days.
There will be additional information in the US-based political ads, such as the ad spend, impressions, demographics, and billing information. This takes transparency to the next level to prevent any future problems.
The difference from Facebook’s feature is that you can access this data even without having a Twitter account, while you can also access the ads that ran the past 7 days, instead of just the active ones.
Twitter’s future plans include improved options as part of their transparency and commitment to shining a light on anyone running ads in their platform.
What is ad transparency changing for marketers
All the changes we’ve mentioned above aim to make the advertising ecosystem more transparent to protect the platforms for any future problems, while they also allow users to access any ads from any publisher.
When it comes to marketers, the initial announcement brought a confusion on whether this is a good change or not. At first, there were delays in the approvals of Facebook Ads, which caused a concern about the future of Facebook Advertising. There is the fear that there will be a closer look at all the ads, which will end up delaying the approval process for them.
Although this can be a good thing for the platform and its reputation, advertisers hope that this process will become smoother to avoid any further delays in their daily tasks.
Also, one of the first thoughts many of us had is that these changes mark the end of dark posts.
Dark posts refer to the social posts that you’re using for your ads without publishing them in your page. This way, you’re able to promote the right content to the right audience, without making it look like an irrelevant ad. This tactic has been useful for big brands that wanted to target multiple audiences without alienating all their fans.
The engagement had the potential to be higher as every audience was accessing different content. This tactic is not necessarily over, but it may turn grey instead of black, as everyone will be able to access your ads from now on.
The change can be good
And this brings us to one of the best reasons we should be happy about this change. From now on, you’ll be able to monitor your competitors’ active ads to gain a significant understanding of their methods, their targeting campaigns and possibly their goals.
This may work on both sides as there will be no secrets about the ads that you’ll be running, which means that the most successful marketers will be the ones who are smart enough to overcome their competitors.
You’ll be able to gain valuable information about your competitors’ ads to use these to your advantage:
- How many ads are they running?
- Which products are they promoting?
- What’s the language that they’re using?
- What creatives are they involving?
- Which types of ads do they use?
- Are they planning any seasonal campaigns?
Social media is gradually changing to a more open era that we all need to adapt. Transparency should always be welcome and even though it seems like an initial challenge we should all try to use it to our advantage to become better in our advertising tactics.