Facebook’s testing another way to provide more context on paid promotions, this time via a horizontal scrolling display of additional information below the ad image display.
As you can see in this example, some users are now seeing additional advertiser info – like business location, user check-ins and Page followers – below the ad visual.
That could be particularly beneficial in weeding out scammers who are seeking to misuse Facebook ads for nefarious purpose. You can buy fake followers, for example, but it’s harder to falsify physical business check-ins, while the additional location data, which is now compulsory for advertisers in certain categories, could also highlight potentially misleading ads directly in-stream.
Facebook has been experimenting with additional ad context elements since 2016, after revelations that Russian-based groups had sought to influence US voters through targeted Facebook ad campaigns. Among those changes, Facebook has implemented stricter regulations around the use of political and issues-based ads, with users now able to easily tap through for more information about the advertiser funding each promotion.
In addition to this, Facebook’s also added more context to its ‘Why Am I Seeing This?’ ad information panels, which show how each advertiser has targeted each user, and the means they’ve used to obtain their targeting information.
The main benefit of this new test is immediacy. While Facebook has implemented improved ad ID measures, they rely on people being aware of them, and then actually tapping through, in order to glean full context. If Facebook can remove that element, and showcase the same, or similar info in-stream, that could ensure that more users are better informed, which could help to reduce the impact of any ads being pitched at them for political purposes.
It seems like a good experiment, which will help add extra legitimacy to ad pushes. And while smaller advertisers could also be impacted (e.g. smaller following count reducing credibility), the benefits, in terms of potential misuse, could be more significant.
We’ll have to wait and see what the full impacts could be in practice before assessing any change in approach or strategy. We’ve asked Facebook for more info on the test and will update if/when we hear back.