In an effort to rebound from a string of controversies spanning the past two years, Facebook has just introduced a tool that is taking ad transparency to new heights. The “Info and Ads” feature allows users to look through all ads a Business Page is running in a given country. The tool also provides additional page information including how long ago a page was created and if the page has ever changed its name.
See the product demo below:
Users can also report the ads they find if they believe them to be in violation of any Facebook policy. Facebook hopes the heightened scrutiny of ads by users, on top of their internal ads review process, will expedite intervention on ads in violation of their policies.
On the user end, this new tool gives incredibly powerful insights into how brands may be communicating to different audiences. The increased transparency has numerous consumer benefits spanning virtually every industry. Followers of any given influencer will be able to see what kind of messages they are pushing to all their fans. Followers of any News/Media page will be able to see all the different stories they are choosing to highlight with a boost. Followers of any given product may find interesting information on how it’s being marketed towards different age groups. The list goes on and on.
As far as businesses go, this recent development does create new considerations for paid social media strategies. Most credible brands are not putting out content they wouldn’t want their name attached to anyway, but if there are select pages that speak to different audiences in vastly different ways, they need to prepare for that to be noticed. Additionally, brands who advertise on Facebook are now going to have to accept that any competitor can see what they are producing and take note.
Soon after Facebook released the “Info and Ads” tool, Twitter launched their own Ads Transparency Center, indicating that it may only be a matter of time before similar tools across other social media platforms emerge, and possibly even the other digital advertising goliath; Google.
In the end of the day, these developments are dually exciting and unsettling. It’s exciting that we now have this level of insight at our fingertips, but unsettling that the need for it has become so necessary. So as social media’s footprint continues to grow in both presence and influence, it’s important that our understanding grows with it.