Meta brings transparency to election and political advertising


With the midterm elections approaching, consumers in the United States (and around the world) are turning to social platforms for transparency.

The fight against the sharing of false information is an uphill battle.

Meta (formerly Facebook) responded to consumer concerns by announcing updates to its ad transparency tools.

Jeff King, VP of Business Integrity at Meta, introduced new measures for better ad transparency for the following tools:

  • Facebook Open Research and Transparency (FORT) Tool
  • Facebook Ads Library

Specifically, the ad types that will be affected include:

  • Social problems
  • Electoral
  • Policy

Updates to these tools will be available to everyone countries which currently have Meta’s permission and disclaimer tools.

While these updates are driven by consumer feedback, they will impact advertisers. Let’s dive into the changes and how advertisers can prepare.

Facebook Open Research and Transparency (FORT) Tool

The Facebook Open Research and Transparency tool (known as FORT going forward) is not available to the public, but to approved academic researchers.

First launched on January 11, 2022, the goal was to provide a tool for researchers to understand the impact of Meta on society.

The tool is a cloud-based research platform that is cost-effective, flexible for researchers, and secure when it comes to data storage.

Starting in late May, the FORT environment will include detailed ad targeting information (such as interest categories) for social issues, election and political ads.

Detailed targeting information will be available at the ad level for affected ads.

Changes to the Facebook Ads Library

The Facebook Ads Library, on the other hand, is available to the general public.

Ad library updates will be available in July 2022. If your ads fall into one of the three categories above, consumers will now be able to see the following:

  • Summary of targeting information for each ad concerned
    • Location
    • Demography
    • Interests
  • Total number of targeted ads in all three categories a page served
  • Percentage of ad spend devoted to social, political or election ads
  • If a page used Custom Audiences
  • If a page used Lookalike Audiences

What this means for advertisers

It’s no secret that Meta is cracking down on detailed targeting.

While you still have the ability to target based on demographics such as age, gender, and location, you may see many more disapproved ads based on ad content.

Even if your ads don’t fit directly into social, electoral, or political categories, you may still be affected in the future.

If you feel like all hope is lost for meta audience targeting, don’t worry! Below are some tips and tools to try.

#1: Start with broader targeting

Even if you know exactly who your target market is, you may not be able to use demographics in the same way you used to.

A tip for wider reach and awareness is to create a large “interests” category that isn’t separated by demographics.

You may see a higher initial CPA during the learning phase, but it often doesn’t take long for Meta’s algorithm to find your highest quality targets.

#2: Use remarketing to your advantage

If you’re starting with broad targeting (above), track people who engage with your ads!

Quick video ads are one way to gain brand awareness, but did you know you can build remarketing lists from people who interact?

If you don’t have video content, try building a remarketing list of people who have interacted with your page before.

This takes the demographic targeting out of your ads and places it in a more qualified audience that is more likely to buy from you.

#3: Use Custom Audiences

While users will now be able to see if you’ve used Custom or Lookalike Audiences, this is less likely to phase them if they’re a former customer, for example.

As long as you populate these listings from first-party data, you should have no problem getting the ads approved.


Source: Meta

Featured Image: Tada Images/Shutterstock

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