After YouTube suffered a flood of bad press for allowing ads to appear within or alongside controversial content, potentially building an unwanted association between the advertisers’ and the material, Facebook has this week announced new measures which will enable video advertisers to control their in-stream ad placements on Facebook videos, including on Facebook Watch and within Instant Articles.
Specifically, Facebook has added two new measures:
- Publisher Lists will enable advertisers to review a listing of video publishers on which their ads could potentially be shown, and exclude those they don’t want their content associated with.
- Publisher Delivery Reports will provide advertisers with a complete list of the sites and apps where their ads have appeared, providing more transparency, and enabling them to decide whether those publishers align with their brand safety expectations. Advertisers can then update their block lists accordingly.
Publisher Lists have been available for Audience Network since last year, with this new rollout extending it to video content, specifically.
But as noted by Digiday, some advertisers don’t think the measure provide enough control, as they only allow advertisers to block publishers which they’re aware of. That means their ads could still appear against unsuitable content from publishers they don’t know, and thus, don’t know to block.
There’s likely not a lot Facebook can do on this front – they can’t know the specifics of what is and isn't acceptable to each brand, so the measures here make perfect sense. Possibly, in future, Facebook could add in something like a 'category of concern' scale (1 to 5, for example) and file each placement accordingly. But then again, that still wouldn’t cover all bases.
The addition makes perfect sense, particularly as Facebook ramps up its video content efforts through the expanded rollout of Facebook Watch and its ongoing original content efforts. If Facebook can get it right, video could become a key ad revenue source, and providing new controls on this front aligns with rising industry expectation, enabling both transparency and control.