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Facebook advertising: What does increased transparency mean for brands and agencies?

Who would have thought it would take Russian interference in a US election for Facebook to start to embrace transparency? But, we are in 2017 and stranger things have definitely happened.

Following scrutiny from both the general public and the US Congress, Facebook has begun to put measures in place to give more clarity over the role their platform plays in electioneering. Consequently, we are now beginning to see the impact of this on regular brands that have no skin in the political game.

Starting this month, anyone will be able to see all ads created by a brand by clicking a ‘View Ads’ button at the top of their page. Alas, only our friends in Canada currently have use of this feature, with a pilot have launched there in mid-November. From there we are expecting a protracted 6-9 month roll-out as Facebook lines up full functionality across the US and other nations in the build-up to the 2018 mid-term elections next summer.

The opportunity here for agencies and brands alike is an interesting one. The idea of being able to ‘spy’ on your competitors’ activity is appealing, however, they will clearly be looking to do the same to you. Without the additional detail around targeting, spend, bidding, and so on, you could put yourself in danger of over analysing and second-guessing current activity.

Interestingly these sort of details will be available for political ads, so you will be able to see exactly what is being spent on masterpieces such as this:

political ads

For consumers also, there could be a burgeoning ‘consumer advice’ market in searching through ads for offers perhaps being targeted at those at different stages in the customer journey but which are now publicly accessible to all.

Whatever the outcome, there are sure to be further developments in the political and social media landscapes between now and next summer, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on this one. Drop us a line if you have any questions, or would like to discuss further.