Aldo Agostinelli

<<When it comes to advertising on Facebook, people should be able to know who is the investor behind it and which ads they are publishing >>: in other words, advertising should be “transparent”, showing “who” pays for it, “how much” they have paid and to promote “what”.  The new policy on advertising announced by means of a long post by Rob Goldman, Facebook AdsVP, last October , is causing troubles to many people, politicians in primis. Read it in Italian.

The greatest traceability of ads promised by Zuckerberg last September, following the scandal of Russian interferences in the political elections of 2016, has finally been enforced. BUT it has been extended to all kinds of advertising, not only electioneering campaigns or messages aimed at pushing voters one side or the other, with the aim to fighting fake news and also brands commercials.

The system works like this: users surfing a fan page will be able to use a new button, “View Ads”, and clicking on it they will access a list of all ads promoted by the page administrators not only on Facebook but also on Instagram and Messenger. And such list will also include targeted ads, which means users will be able to see pay advertisements even though they don’t belong to the target audience they have been created for.

Facebook also intends to create a database of the last 4 years including data concerning the impression obtained by each ad, the total amount spent for any given ad and the demographics concerning age, status, position and gender of the audience reached by the it (Facebook Unveils New Political Ad Disclosure Rules To Combat Election Meddling).

But to which extent unveiling the amounts spent for a given ad may backfire for brands? And again: which may be the impact of allowing competitors to know which budget has been allocated to a certain campaign? Optimists believe that the new policy will boost creativity pushing advertisers to work harder, others instead think that competitors will benefit from a new, free of charge, monitoring tool  and this will favor forging (Facebook new policy on advertising).

In the meantime Facebook has been having headaches, as well: the Australian government appointed an inspector to check the revenues of all contents providers and to look into the local taxes paid by Google and Facebook on their revenues generated by Australian marketers and consumers. All offshore tax agreements used by such social platforms are now actively prosecuted by the Tax and Revenues authorities. This is due to the fact that if on the one hand the popular social platform is focusing on the transparency of their advertising policy, some countries have started tackling the cannibalization of the digital advertising market enacted by the global players to the detriment of local media. More specifically, Google and Facebook have been charged of having “diverted” 4 billion dollars of Australian revenues deriving from advertising towards their platforms, since marketers have apparently felt forced to use them to publish some of their contents to retain their audience (Google, Facebook to be forced to reveal commercial secrets).

Going back to brands, notwithstanding possible future modifications of the aforementioned policy, will have time till next summer to find some answers, obtain some clarifications from the social media and, in case, deploy some new strategies. Let’s see what will happen in the months to come.

Do you feel it is fair to apply the new Facebook advertising policy also to businesses and brands? What do you think of the new rules? Tweet @agostinellialdo.

Want to learn more on the digital world? Read my new book “People Are Media” 

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Aldo Agostinelli