As Facebook looks to expand its video advertising business, it's also working on new tools which will enable advertisers to control where their ads appear, in order to avoid the same problems YouTube has had in regards to brand messages showing up alongside controversial videos.
As reported by Digiday, Facebook's developing a new system which will enable more effective management of where ad content appears, with the main focus being on Facebook's Audience Network, the platform's option to expand advertiser reach beyond the platform itself, and into participating apps and websites.
But The Social Network's growing video ad business will also be included - the tool, according to Digiday, will be an API which will enable third-party groups who monitor content for brand safety to automate the implementation of such block lists
"The block-list management tool is meant to assuage advertisers’ concerns with the ads running across Facebook’s Audience Network ad network and, perhaps more importantly, the growing number of videos on its platform from publishers and individual creators to which Facebook attaches pre-roll and mid-roll video ads."
At present, Facebook provides two options to control where your ad content appears:
1. You can create your own block list, which you can build by downloading Facebook's 'Publisher List'. The Publisher List includes thousands of URLs where Facebook could place your ad across In-Stream videos and the Audience Network - from this, you can put together a list of the placements you'd like to block delivery to.
The problem here is that if you want to block all placements for a chosen group, you need to list all possible URLs, including their Facebook Page, website and App Store identifiers. And for video content, you also need a Facebook Page's numeric ID, which you need to manually obtain for each. Basically, it's a lot of work to build and maintain such lists
2. Your other option is to use Facebook's 'Exclude Categories' tool, which is included within the Ad Placements section of your ad set.
Facebook offers five categories for ad exclusion:
- Debatable social issues - Topics related to debated social issues, such as religion, politics, immigration and more. Does not apply to Audience Network mobile apps.
Mature - Topics including violence, firearms, sexual content, profane language, and more. Does not apply to Audience Network mobile apps.
Tragedy and conflict - Topics that contain emotional or physical suffering, such as crime, illness, bullying and more. Does not apply to Audience Network mobile apps.
Dating - Websites and apps that have been categorized as dating. Ads may still appear alongside content about relationships and dating.
Gambling - Websites and apps that have been categorized as gambling, where winners receive money or prizes. Ads may still appear on websites or apps where people play games just for fun.
These cover most of the key areas of advertiser concern, but there are always others that specific brands would prefer not to be associated with, or which fall outside of Facebook's listings. Hence the development of the new process.
The new tools will enable greater capacity to manage ad placements, without Facebook's current limits on how many Pages and URLs can be added to block lists. The added technical capacity is why the option will be an API that will go through third-party vendors, but it will provide more assurance for businesses who want to avoid any potential association with undesirable sites.
There's no official launch date for the tool at this stage.