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Facebook is cracking down on brands using its advertising platform to mislead or trick users with “malicious advertisements”.

As the social network announced this week, it is reducing how often it shows ads it believes are “clickbait” or mislead users, if not outright rejecting them.

As Facebook’s self-serve ad platform has grown, it has encountered growing issues with misleading or sensational ads – including political news spreading fake news. Now, it is working to remedy the problem and ensure users can trust ads shared across the largest social network existing today.

Specifically, Facebook has announced it will be cracking down on these types of troublesome ads:

Ads that withhold information:

Facebook Bad Ads - Withholding

Clickbait has become a popular way to get clicks, but it is universally hated because the actual content on the page often doesn’t live up to what the sensational headlines promise. This has grown into deliberately sharing vague ads that often start with “You’ll never believe…” or “You’ll never guess…” Now, any ads using this strategy will be demoted or disallowed.

Engagement bait:

Facebook Bad Ads - Engagement Bait

Another popular tactic to get the ever-important likes and shares on Facebook is to specifically use ads to drive these kinds of engagement without delivering any actual content with value. Facebook has already taken steps to prevent this type of advertisement, but it has continued to run rampant across the platform. However, the company says these ads will now be disallowed or receive reduced visibility.

Sensationalized language:

Facebook Bad Ads - Sensationalized Language

Over-the-top headlines may make people more likely to click, but it leaves a bad taste in their mouth when the content is not nearly as “MIND-BLOWING” as the ad suggests.

Pages that use these strategies regularly:

To reinforce its stance on clickbait or misleading advertising, Facebook is also taking aim directly at the pages which rely on these ads. As the company explains, “multiple ads flagged with low-quality attributes may impact the performance of all ads” from any offending advertiser.

All of these types of ads have become increasingly popular because they drive engagement and traffic, but these types of engagement are arguably worthless because they don’t come from real engagement or appreciation of the ad content.

Facebook is finally allowing all advertisers to run ads during users’ Stories.

The social network has been allowing a limited number of brands across three countries to create ads that appear during Stories published on the site since May, but this is the first time the company has expanded the option to smaller businesses.

Notably, during this time period, the number of people watching Facebook Stories each day has more than doubled from 150 million to over 300 million viewers.

In addition to making the ads available to a wider range of brands, the company has also rolled out a number of new tools and features to better target the ads and improve performance.

As part of these features, Facebook Stories now allow brands to optimize for all objectives available for Instagram Stories ads, including:

  • Reach
  • Brand awareness
  • Video views
  • App installs
  • Conversion
  • Traffic
  • Lead generation

Facebook has also brought all of its targeting and reporting tools for ads to Story ads, allowing brands to better track their performance.

As part of the official announcement of Story ads, Facebook emphasized how popular their Story feature has become and the impact of ads viewed during Stories:

“Advertising in stories has proven to drive valuable business outcomes. In the Ipsos survey, 62% of people said they became more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in a story. And brands testing Facebook Stories ads are already seeing results. iHeartRadio, Kettle Chips and KFC are among the advertisers who have seen brand lift from their Facebook Stories ad campaigns.”

The company also noted some other interesting statistics about Stories, such as:

  • More than half of people surveyed said they’re making more online purchases as a result of seeing stories.
  • 38% of people said that after seeing a product or service in a story they talked to someone about it.
  • 34% said they went to a store to look for a product after seeing it in a story.

Facebook is changing how it handles the ads shown by Pages across the platform, with a new “Info & Ads” section that details all the ads your Page is running.

By going to a Page’s “Info & Ads” tab, you’ll be able to see every ad the company is running across Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and Facebook’s partner networks whether they were targeted to you or not. You can also flag suspicious ads with a “Report Ad” button.

The tab will also include detailed information about Pages, including when it was created and any recent name changes to the Page.

“The vast majority of ads on Facebook are run by legitimate organizations — whether it’s a small business looking for new customers, an advocacy group raising money for their cause, or a politician running for office. But we’ve seen that bad actors can misuse our products, too,” writes Facebook’s director of product management, Rob Leathern, and its product marketing director, Emma Rodgers, on the company’s news blog.

The change was initially announced last October as part of sweeping changes to how Facebook handles political ads but has largely flown under the radar until now.

Facebook says this is just the beginning of changes to increase transparency between Pages and the social network’s ad platform. The company will be rolling out changes to political ad labels to Brazil ahead of the country’s upcoming elections and will continue to encourage greater transparency in advertising around the globe.

Facebook is opening up a new part of its platform to advertising by letting businesses run ads in the Facebook Marketplace for the first time.

Marketplace has, until now, been an area of the site strictly reserved for users to buy and sell items. However, that is changing as Facebook is allowing ads to also be shown alongside the user-sold items.

The actions function similarly to any other type of Facebook ad, allowing you to include photos or videos representing your products or services, as well as a call-to-action button.

You can also choose to expand your currently running ads onto the Marketplace platform by changing the placement settings for your ads.

In the official announcement, Facebook said the ads would allow advertisers to be where users are most active:

“Advertising across our platforms enables you to reach your target audience wherever they’re spending time, giving you more opportunities to connect with people likely to be interested in your offerings.”

According to Facebook’s tests with select businesses, running ads on Marketplace can help generate up to 2.2X greater return on ad spend.

While this marks the first time businesses have been able to advertise on Marketplace, it is notable that Facebook recently also began allowing users to promote their listings within Marketplace, similar to how promoted posts work in News Feed.

Currently, Marketplace ads are only available in the US and Canada, and only eligible for traffic, conversion, and product catalog ads.

According to the announcement, Marketplace ads will be coming to Australia and New Zealand in the coming weeks.

Facebook’s Stories are officially being monetized, as the social network announces new ads within their latest big feature.

The rising popularity of Facebook’s stories has been a slow growth. It has taken approximately 14 months since the launch of the feature to reach 150 million daily views.

To put that in context, Instagram’s Stories reached the same milestone within five months. Since then, Instagram Stories have continued growing to reach more than 300 million daily users.

Of course, now that Facebook has amassed a sizable audience for the feature, Search Engine Journal reports the platform is adding ads to Stories.

Facebook began testing ads in Stories earlier this month in North America and Brazil earlier this month. The ads consist of 5-to-15 second video clips, which can be skipped by simply taping through to the next story.

Compared to most of Facebook’s offerings, these new ads are relatively bare-bones. There is no click-through, no call-to-action, or any of the other ad features you are used to. However, Facebook plans to add those soon.

Along with the launch of Story ads, Facebook is working on bringing more detailed analytics about the performance of Stories to businesses, to help monitor your investment.

If you already have Story ads running on Instagram, you can automatically migrate them to Facebook. Or, you can let Facebook automatically format your news feed ads for the Story feature, including a color-matched border and text at the bottom.

Facebook’s Instant Articles are touted as being the fastest way to deliver content on the web. They are even supposed to be faster than Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, which similarly streamline content to load as quickly as possible on mobile devices.

There’s just one problem: no one seems to be using them.

Even big publishers that initially led the charge to Instant Articles have slowly started dropping the service, opting instead to use regular content hosted on their website or relying solely on Google’s AMP platform.

This week, Facebook made strides to attract publishers back to Instant Articles by announcing new ways to implement ads and monetize content shared on their fast-loading pages.

The ads are designed to be minimally invasive, only appearing within the “Related Articles” section appearing below the full articles. The company has been testing these ads since March of this year, and say they provide an “incremental increase” in the amount of revenue generated by Instant Articles, according to a blog post shared on Thursday.

As you can see in the image above, the ads look similar to most advertisements across Facebook. They put the focus on a large image, with a small bit of descriptive text and a link. For now, videos aren’t allowed but that could potentially change in the future.

The main difference between these ads and standard Facebook News Feed ads is they now appear at the bottom of the page among links to other articles, instead of in your feed.

There is one catch, however. To include the new ads in the “Related Articles” section of Instant Articles, you must also be a part of Facebook’s Audience Network.

Interestingly, Facebook says the ads can be used for virtually anything – not just branded content. The only requirement is that the ads link directly to a landing page.

While the ads may bring publishers back to using Instant Articles, the advertisers themselves may be less happy about the new ad placement. Advertisers who opt-in to placing their ads in Instant Articles can’t control whether they are prominently placed above the ad or within the “Related Articles” section at the bottom. The good news is, they can choose to block specific publishers or types of content from including their ads. That means you can at least be sure your ads aren’t appearing alongside questionable or objectionable content that could hurt your image.

messenger

Facebook has been expanding their advertising service across every aspect of their platform for years, but one area has remained completely ad-free for users despite this – until now.

Facebook has officially launched ads within its Messenger app with ad bots.

The company has been testing sponsored messages since April, and now it has announced it is opening the messaging app’s ad format to all brands using Messenger’s developer tools to manage their chats.

636141993368026582-ad

The ads are pretty much exactly like the format they have been testing, with straightforward ad messages. However, you can’t spam out ads to everybody. You can only show sponsored messages to those who “have an open, existing conversation with” a brand, according to Facebook.

To help with this limitation, the company says it is also allowing advertisers to create ads that link directly to their Messenger account to spark more conversations with brands.

The ads are also limited to just one link and photo. Unlike most Facebook ads, sponsored message campaigns also cannot be modified to automatically run on Facebook or Instagram.

In another departure from Facebook’s normal ad formats, the company says it will charge advertisers anytime the ad appears on a Messenger user’s screen in their Messenger Inbox – even if it is never opened.

facebookadvertising

Earlier this year, Facebook was excited to announce that over three million businesses actively advertise on their social ad network. Now, just seven months later, the company has added another million businesses to that number.

In comparison, Facebook’s biggest competition in the social advertising field, Twitter, only took in a little over 130,000 advertisers in the fourth quarter of 2015. The Facebook-owned social platform Instagram announced last week that it has reached 500,000 brands purchasing ads each month, more than doubling from around 200,000 in February 2016.

Really, the only ad network that counters the size of Facebook’s is Google, and they no longer say how many advertisers are active on their network.

While the highlight of Facebook’s advertising announcement was the overall growth in advertisers, they also highlighted just how big of a factor mobile is in their ad network. Not only do more than 80% of Facebook’s advertising revenue come from ads shown on smartphones and tablets, but approximately 40% of Facebook’s active advertisers also have created ads on mobile devices.

Another major player in Facebook’s ad network is video advertising. More than 20% of Facebook’s active advertisers have purchased video ads, and over four million new video ads are created on Facebook every month.

While every social network has its benefits, it is hard to argue with the sheer size of Facebook’s ad network. No other social platform gives you the massive audience and versatile tools that make Facebook ads so popular with advertisers.

Source: Jhaymesisviphotography / Flickr

Source: Jhaymesisviphotography / Flickr

Online advertising is something many people hate. While some brands make it their effort to provide valuable ads in an un-intrusive format, it seems like the majority of websites and advertisers would rather bombard you with full-page interstitials, auto-playing video ads, and pop-ups no matter where you look.

That is likely going to change soon.

The biggest names in online advertising, including Facebook and Google, have joined together to improve digital ads in response to the rise of ad-blocking and widespread public dissatisfaction with ads.

The Coalition for Better Ads was unveiled this week at the Dmexco conference in Cologne, Germany. The group’s founding members include not just Facebook and Google, but several huge advertisers like Procter & Gamble, Unilever, and The Washington Post. According to a report from AdWeek, the coalition also includes the 4As, the Association of National Advertisers, the World Federation of Advertisers, GroupM, and the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

While the new coalition could mean big changes are coming to online advertising, don’t expect anything in the immediate future. For now, the coalition says they plan to monitor and evaluate the quality of online ads with technology being developed at the IAB’s Tech Lab, which will score ads on several factors including creative and load time.

From there, the group will develop new standards using this data and other feedback from consumers and marketers.

“It is essential that industry create standards to assure that consumers get safe, fast, secure delivery of the sites and services they love,” said IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg.

The announcement comes just days after AdBlock Plus, the biggest ad blocker on the market, unveiled a new “Acceptable Ads” program, which will function as an ad exchange that sells ads to brands looking to work around the software distributed by the company. The announcement of the Acceptable Ads service claimed it would be working with Google and AppNexus to distribute ads, however, both companies have since disavowed their relationship with AdBlock Plus and its new business strategy.

FacebookVideo

Your site’s speed on mobile devices will soon be a factor deciding how many people see your Facebook ads, according to an announcement from the social network this week.

In Facebook’s words:

“Over the coming months, we’re working to improve ad experiences for people by considering website performance and a person’s network connection in our ad auction and delivery system.”

While it isn’t clear exactly how site speed and page performance will be implemented into Facebook’s algorithm for displaying ads, the social network is already introducing features to help brands deliver content more quickly across Facebook.

In addition to the use of Accelerated Mobile Pages, Facebook is introducing prefetching to help users see the content they are interested in as quickly as possible. This week’s announcement explains that prefetching starts loading mobile content in the Facebook in-app browser before a user ever clicks a link.

According to their estimates, this speeds up mobile site load time by as much as 29 percent and decreases the rate of site abandonment during the loading process.

The new Facebook help page dedicated to prefetching goes a bit more in-depth about how the system actually works:

“For each News Feed mobile ad, Facebook attempts to predict how likely a person is to click on an ad. If the prediction score meets the requirements, we prefetch the initial HTML page when the story first appears on a person’s screen. This content is cached locally on the person’s device for a short amount of time. If the person clicks on the ad, Facebook loads the initial page from the cache. The initial page then makes regular web requests to the publisher’s server to load the remainder of the page. We currently only cache the initial HTML page. Keep in mind that the CSS, Javascript or images on the website are not cached.”

Ultimately, Facebook’s changes are aimed at improving their overall ad performance and increasing engagement with ads. Advertisers with slow-performing sites tend to also underperform in many ad metrics.

While Facebook’s new feature will improve content delivery speed across the board, the company also offered five tips for tuning up your site:

  • Minimizing landing page redirects, plugins and link shorteners
  • Compressing files to decrease mobile rendering time
  • Improving server response time by utilizing multi-region hosting
  • Using a high-quality Content Delivery Network to reach audiences quickly
  • Removing render-blocking javascript