Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has launched a new ad placement control system to help advertisers distance themselves from controversial posts and offensive content. The move follows a widespread boycott of Facebook in July 2020, during which thousands of brands called for greater control over ad placement, as they grew increasingly concerned about the reputational damage that could be caused by being associated with hate speech, fake news, and other harmful content.
The ad placement system offers advertisers three different risk levels to choose from, with the most conservative option ensuring that ads are not placed above or below posts that contain sensitive content, such as political debates, sexual innuendo, and weapons depictions. Advertisers will also receive a report via the advertising measurement firm Zefr, which will show them where their ads were placed and how that content was categorized.
Responding to Demands for Greater Control
Advertisers have long demanded greater control over where their ads appear online, arguing that social media companies have not done enough to prevent ads from appearing alongside controversial content. Samantha Stetson, Meta’s vice president for Client Council and Industry Trade Relations, said that she expected the new system to offer more granular controls over time, allowing advertisers to specify their preferences on different social issues.
Early tests of the new system have shown no significant change in ad performance or price when using more restrictive settings, which has left those involved in the tests “pleasantly surprised.” However, Stetson cautioned that pricing dynamics could change, given the auction-based nature of Meta’s ad system and the potential reduction in inventory associated with any restrictions.
Available in English and Spanish-Speaking Markets
Initially, the new ad placement controls will be available in English- and Spanish-speaking markets, with plans to expand them to other regions and to the company’s Reels, Stories, and video ad formats later this year. The move has been welcomed by marketers, who have long called for greater transparency and control over where their ads appear.
In conclusion, Meta’s new ad placement control system is a significant step towards addressing advertisers’ concerns over offensive content and its impact on brand reputation. With more granular controls expected to be introduced over time, advertisers will have greater control over where their ads are placed and can specify their preferences on different social issues. While the impact on ad performance and pricing remains to be seen, the move has been broadly welcomed as a positive step towards greater transparency and control in online advertising.