Over the past year, Facebook’s been skirting around the definition of what it is – or more specifically, Facebook’s actively worked to avoid being labeled a media company. And that makes sense – Facebook sees itself as more of a facilitator, a platform for anyone to share their voice. They don’t make editorial decisions, they simply provide the tools through which to share content.
But increasingly, that stance has been tested, particularly as The Social Network has been pushed to crack down on controversial content and misuses of their platform.
Now, that definition looks even more suited, with Facebook announcing a new listing of content which will be ineligible for monetization, based on a set of advertiser standards.
As explained by Facebook:
“At Facebook, we take very seriously our responsibility to earn and maintain the trust of our advertiser partners – and give them the confidence they need to invest in us. Which is why today, we’re introducing new monetization eligibility standards that will provide clearer guidance around the types of publishers and creators eligible to earn money on Facebook, and the kind of content that can be monetized.”
Essentially, Facebook’s making rulings on what’s acceptable content on their platform, which sounds kind of like an editorial decision. Kind of.
So, what kind of content will no longer be eligible for promotion? The full explanation of each is available in Facebook’s ‘Content Guidelines for Monetization’, but here’s a point-by-point list:
- Misappropriation of Children’s Characters – Content that depicts family entertainment characters engaging in violent, sexualized, or otherwise inappropriate behavior – including videos positioned in a comedic or satirical manner.
- Tragedy & Conflict – Content that focuses on real world tragedies, including but not limited to depictions of death, casualties, physical injuries, even if the intention is to promote awareness or education
- Debated Social Issues – Content that is incendiary, inflammatory, demeaning or disparages people, groups, or causes.
- Violent Content – Content that is depicting threats or acts of violence against people or animals, where this is the focal point and is not presented with additional context.
- Adult Content – Content where the focal point is nudity or adult content, including depictions of people in explicit or suggestive positions, or activities that are overly suggestive or sexually provocative.
- Prohibited Activity – Content that depicts, constitutes, facilitates, or promotes the sale or use of illegal or illicit products, services or activities.
- Explicit Content – Content that depicts overly graphic images, blood, open wounds, bodily fluids, surgeries, medical procedures, or gore that is intended to shock or scare.
- Drugs or Alcohol Use – Content depicting or promoting the excessive consumption of alcohol, smoking, or drug use
- Inappropriate Language – Content should not contain excessive use of derogatory language, including language intended to offend or insult particular groups of people.
All of these categories seem fairly logical, with clear reason why Facebook wouldn’t want to allow such content to be promoted. But then again, ‘debated social issues’ will no doubt raise the hackles of various groups, and lead to more criticism of Facebook censorship.
And this is where the editorial accusation comes in – while all of the other categories are fairly clear-cut, ‘debated social issues’ comes down to a level of judgment, someone has to make a call on what’s appropriate.
The same criticism has been leveled at Facebook over their decision to ban Pages which repeatedly share false news from buying ads – various groups have questioned who it is that decides what’s ‘false news’ in this context. In this case, it’s content highlighted by third-party fact checkers, but still, some further question what gives those groups the authority to label something as fake.
Essentially, at the end of this chain, Facebook needs to make a decision as to how they rule on such cases – which, it could be argued, is an editorial decision. If, that is, Facebook were a media company.
Interestingly, that decision – to ban certain Pages from buying ads – extends to this announcement too. Facebook notes that:
“Those who share content that repeatedly violates our Content Guidelines for Monetization, share clickbait or sensationalism, or post misinformation and false news, may be ineligible or may lose their eligibility to monetize.”
Facebook’s plan is to make it increasingly difficult for bad actors to make money on their platform, but again, this is clearly an editorial decision. Facebook’s making a call on what content people can share on their platform, a fairly direct editorial link.
In addition to this, Facebook’s also looking to boost the credibility of their ad metrics – which have taken several hits in recent times – by seeking accreditation from the Media Rating Council, while they’re also partnering with third parties, like DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science, ‘to ensure the brand safety tools and controls we create serve our advertisers’ needs’.
This is more aligned with the recent controversies over YouTube ads appearing alongside questionable content – on which, Facebook is also adding an extra 3,000 new content reviewers to better safeguard against such issues.
The added security, and clarity, over Facebook ad content is a positive, but definitely it will raise questions over how The Social Network decides what is and isn’t acceptable – and how it can then maintain its position that it’s not a media company.
Overall, the new guidelines will make Facebook a safer, better place for interaction, but the controversy around their content controls aren’t likely to ease up, and could push some users off to other, less censored platforms.
Want to add a bit more pizzaz to your Facebook cover photos? You can now take a 360-degree photo and set it up as your cover photo, and you can do it all directly from your Facebook mobile app.
The new feature, available on both iOS and Android, lets you capture a 360-degree photo with your Facebook Camera.
The process is simple: Spin around as you take the photo and make sure you stay within the guiding lines on the screen. Choose the starting point and you’re done.
While brands have been buying ads for niche audiences on Facebook for years, they’ll soon be able to target ads down to the specific household.
Just in time for the holiday-planning season, the social network is introducing a new household audience feature that will let brands direct ads to entire families or to specific people within a household. The tool, which the company announced today, could help aim ads at people who influence purchasing decisions and other ads to the people making the actual purchases.
Here’s how it works: Brands can select a source audience—a custom audience uploaded to Facebook that represents their customers based on an email list, for instance—and then turn on the household audience feature to reach not just the person they’re targeting, but also other people in the same household.
“What we want to do basically is leverage the power of our network to enable that kind of influencing or to support that kind of influencing across the family,” Graham Mudd, Facebook’s product marketing director, said this morning at a press event in New York.
The feature is yet another way Facebook plans to siphon advertising dollars away from television networks, which have historically been how you show the same ads to the same household at the same time. Facebook executives said they’ll be able to identify members of the same household based on signals, such as their familial relationships on Facebook, but also based on the frequency of shared check-ins or where they access the internet.
According to Mudd, there are three use cases for how brands might want to target household audiences. In one instance, he said, a travel brand might want to target ads at the person paying for a trip—flights, hotels, etc.—but the marketer might also want to make sure the people voting on the destination also see the ads. For gifting, if one person might benefit from getting something from a certain retailer, then the ads might be directed at people in the household likely to be buying rather than receiving the gift.
The tool might also be used to reduce wasted ad spend. For example, if someone has already bought a household-specific product or service—a Netflix subscription, an Airbnb reservation—then based on the customer database, the marketer and Facebook know to stop showing ads to that household.
Along with the added targeting, Facebook is adding additional measurement capabilities. The updates will appear in the Ads Reporting dashboard and show how campaigns perform in terms of driving results across members of a household. Metrics will include how many households the advertising reaches, along with the frequency at which they were reached. (It’ll also potentially show how an ad shown to one person affected a purchase made by someone else.)
Mudd shared an example of how this might work around the holidays: Because he has purchased products from Sonos, he’s in the brand’s customer database. So, if his wife wants to get him a gift, Sonos might try influence Mudd’s wife and their kids with ads as they’re shopping for their dad.
“You can image that if you’re a parent with kids, while you might not be personally interested in the toys that your kids are looking for for the holiday, you might find it useful to know where that hot toy is and where it’s in stock,” Mudd said.
The updated audience targeting comes as Facebook also introduced video capabilities for its Dynamic Ads product, which will allow advertisers to move beyond the static images that have only been allowed in the past. (According to Facebook, 30 percent of mobile shoppers prefer to discover products through video.)
“We’re getting to a size where it’s worth really taking a careful look at what are all the things that we can do to make social media the most positive force for good possible,” Facebook Chief Product Officer Chris Cox told TechCrunch about the company’s new milestone. Thirteen years after launching and less than five years after hitting 1 billion, Facebook now has 2 billion monthly active users.
Do you need to use Facebook ads more effectively?
Have you considered narrowing the goal for each of your ads?
In this article, you’ll discover 11 examples of results-oriented Facebook ads you can use as models for your own business.
#1: Remarket to Potential Customers Who Abandon Carts
This Bluehost ad gets Facebook advertising right on so many levels. Bluehost uses this ad in the middle of the sales funnel to reduce cart abandonment. The ad appears to people who have added a Bluehost service to their cart and prompts them to return to the website and complete their purchase.
The ad features compelling copy, beginning with the question to remind someone they’re in the middle of a decision about building their website. The second line hits the low-cost barrier to entry to using the Bluehost service, only $2.95. Next, the ad uses text to provide extremely heavy social proof: trusted by millions of customers.
Video makes this ad even more effective. Video is currently the best-performing type of content; people watch more than 100 million hours of video on Facebook every day. Also, by featuring different business owners, the video reinforces the social proof mentioned in the ad copy.
Below the video, the clear link title, description, and call to action (CTA) also make this a strong ad. The link title, “Launch Your Website Today,” is clear and direct, design to compel users to take the final action to launch their website.
After the link title, the link description reinforces social proof that appeared earlier in the ad copy and video. The description also highlights another benefit of joining: getting a free domain. The CTA, Shop Now, reflects what the ad would like customers to do: prompt them to finalize their buying decision and launch their site.