Facebook is testing another way of providing more context about paid promotions, this time via move the screen horizontally additional information below the ad image display.
As you can see in this example, some users now see additional information about advertisers — such as business location, user sign-in, and page followers — below the ad visuals.
This could be especially helpful in removing scammers who try to misuse Facebook ads for evil purposes. For example, you can buy fake followers, but it’s harder to falsify physical business sign-ups, while additional location data, which is now mandatory for advertisers in certain categories, could also highlight potentially misleading ads directly in the stream.
Facebook has been experimenting with additional elements of the advertising context since 2016, after discovering that Russian-based groups tried to influence U.S. voters with targeted advertising campaigns on Facebook. Among these changes, Facebook has implemented stricter regulations on the use of policy and topic-based ads, and users can now easily view more information about the advertisers who fund each promotion.
In addition to this, Facebook has added more context it’s “Why do I see this?” ad information boards showing how each advertiser targeted each user and the means they used to obtain targeting information.
The main advantage of this new test is immediacy. Although Facebook has implemented improved ad identification measures, they rely on people being aware of them and then actually touching them to gather full context. If Facebook can remove that element and display the same or similar information in the stream, it could ensure that more users are better informed, which could help reduce the impact of any ad placed on them for political purposes.
It seems like a good experiment, which will help add extra legitimacy to pushing ads. And while smaller advertisers could be affected (e.g., fewer credentials), the benefits, in terms of potential abuse, could be more significant.
We will need to wait and see how full the effects could be in practice before assessing any change in approach or strategy. We have requested additional information about the test from Facebook and we will update it if / when we respond.
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