Advertising Changes
September 6, 2018

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Data-informed advertising has become a hot button issue, and social media platforms are making an effort to make the process more transparent and ethical. But will it make a difference?

New in Digital is a blog series dedicated to highlighting digital news from across the web and explaining what those developments mean for organizations in the public affairs environment.

Digital advertising has become an overall more contentious subject since the 2016 elections. Now, advertisers must disclose their intentions and information in order to advertise on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and now Google. All platforms are hoping their voluntary systems to limit anonymity and keep foreign meddling off their platforms are enough to prevent lawmakers from creating their own systems to protect America’s elections. Advertisers are also mixing up the platforms they’re using to chase audience trends.

Advertisers need to be verified by Google

Following Twitter’s lead, political ads need to be verified by Google before their ads can be published on Google Ad Services.

Once an ad has been verified by Google, the advertising and search giant will compile all the ads in a report showing how much “verified advertisers are spending” on the platform nationwide with a convenient state-by-state spending breakdown. This feature-rich database of advertising will also highlight how much each advertiser spent, which keywords they bid on and more.

This will hopefully bring more transparency to who is behind more political advertising.

Facebook rolls out mobile-first video creation tool for advertisers

Facebook recently launched a set of tools for advertisers to create video ads optimized for mobile. This new framework will help create video ads from still image ads, and will allow advertisers to “convert existing images and text assets into mobile-first video ads with ease.” Our own experience shows that video content performs well above average on the platform.

Facebook is promoting the approach by arguing that mobile-first creative has a 27 percent higher likelihood of increasing brand lift and 23 percent higher likelihood of “driving message association” compared to video ads that aren’t optimized for mobile.

Instagram’s ad spend rate is growing

Instagram ad spend is up 177 percent year over year during Q2, while spending on Facebook only increased 40 percent. This highlights the growing reality that highly desirable audiences — and therefore advertisers — are flocking to Instagram as their go-to app.

Strengthening Instagram’s offering, Instagram Story ads have quickly become one of the most popular ways for advertisers to reach potential customers. Advertisers see more user interaction with these ads than they do on Facebook. The short term outlook is very positive for this fast-growing advertising channel; it’ll be interesting to see if this growth can be sustained or if another platform rises to take the crown.

Facebook’s effort to make advertising safe and civil

In an ongoing effort to clean up their ad universe, Facebook has updated their ad targeting tools and guidance for advertisers. They are scrubbing more than 5,000 targeting options, including any that relate to ethnicity or religion as they could easily enable biased advertising on the platform.

Facebook is also making the effort to get advertisers educated about avoiding biased advertising campaigns, and remind advertisers that such campaigns are in violation of Facebook’s terms of service. For example, advertisers “offering housing, employment or credit ads” are forced to certify that they are in compliance with Facebook’s non-discrimination policy.

As advertising has become ground zero for the conversation about Russian meddling in the 2016 election and the wider discussion about how our data is used by corporations and influence organizations, social media platforms are working to make the necessary changes to be more transparent and ethical. It remains to be seen whether the changes they’re making will impact the upcoming midterm elections.

Stay tuned for more New in Digital posts.