On Thursday June 28th, the Facebook "Ads and Info" tab rolled out and pharma marketers who use this platform need to review their pages to ensure that any "dark" ads that were only available as promotions are ok to be viewed in a timeline together.
We have known for about nine months that Facebook was piloting an “Ads” tab in Canada and Ireland that allowed users to see what promotions Pages were running. This was meant to increase transparency for Facebook and was a reaction to misuse of the platform by special interests during recent democratic votes (see our Cambridge Analytica POV for more details).
The “Info and Ads” tab rolled out on Thursday, June 28, and works similarly to the one that was piloted in Canada and Ireland.
Just the Facts
A summary of how these tabs work isn’t too overwhelming:
- The contents of the tab are:
- Currently running ads on the page (note that all of these will already be fully MRL approved)
- In the viewer’s region (country level geoblocking is respected by default but the user can select another country):
- For Facebook and Instagram (Facebook Messenger and Facebook Ads Network are also visible but most pharma is not using these)
- With additional information:
- The creation date of the page
- Page name changes
- The ads are formatted similar to Creative Hub:
- They are formatted per viewing platform but the interactive controls (like, comment, share) are not active and will show even for protected brand pages (so don’t worry if you see “comment” on a brand page)
- They allow the user to click through to the destination URL (so a very small amount of organic traffic might be added to pages but we don’t expect this to be noticeable)
- As of this writing Facebook has not been able to clarify whether Lead Ads will allow users to submit the form or only see it (we will update as soon as we have clarification)
By showing only active ads in market, most of the regulatory issues are sidestepped. Any ads that can be viewed in users’ newsfeeds should also be permissible in the Page Ads list. There are, however, a few implications that MRL teams will want to consider.
Most importantly, the reader should note that a Page limited to the USA simply cannot be viewed by a user in any other country, which means that the Ads will never be viewable outside the country. Any page can restrict their visitors to specific countries, so if this becomes an issue Facebook provides an easy solution.
For pages not limited to the US, the Page visitor will be able to see ads that are provided in other countries. However, these users must take specific action of selecting the country they want to see and seek out this information.
We consider this similar to users performing Google searches specifically to find websites in other countries – those websites are not expected to gate that activity.
Even with the limited Canadian and Ireland tests we saw issues caused by multiple ad campaigns being shown in one stream. For instance, a Corporate page we reviewed targeted branded reminder-style ads at one province and unbranded, condition ads at another province. This put both campaigns in violation as you cannot link these two activities in Canada.
Likewise, reminder ads in the US, which by definition do not contain ISI, would be violative if placed next to condition ads on their own. However, having said that, the use of a video cover image can ensure that scrolling ISI appears on the page. This video is visible at the top of all content on the Page on desktop and on initial landing on mobile (but not on the ads list itself, which may pose an issue for some MRL teams).
The safest solution for the “multiple campaigns” issue is to simply create multiple pages with a separate one for each using the same boilerplate “About,” “Safety,” and “Story” information. These pages are free and simple to create and will allow the brand to separate different campaigns into different “Info and Ads” streams. Multiple pages can be managed with the same Facebook Ad Account so all targeting and ad control can still be handled in one place.
Current information from Facebook indicates that Lead Ads will be visible on the Ads list, and that users will be able to fill out the page and see the final landing page. Facebook is not sure whether the data the user enters is actually stored in the CRM destination or not. We will update this POV as soon as we get a final answer from Facebook (look for the version number on the document).
Canvas Ads are only visible on mobile so it is difficult to know how they will be rendered on desktop. It is likely that they will render fully on mobile.
When looking at the Facebook Ads list for the first time it can be disconcerting for marketers who are not used to seeing their ads posts organically. However, once the details of the list are known it should become a lot less concerning. The Klick Health Social Team makes the following suggestions to marketers:
For Pages Showing All Ads Organically
You should shouldn’t see any difference on these pages or have any issues with this new tab as it is similar, if not identical, to the existing Page timeline.
For Pages Showing Some Ads Organically
You will want to ensure that these Pages’ hidden ads (not shown on the timeline) are acceptable to be shown next to organic posts. Unless the content puts condition information in proximity to Reminder style ads, it is likely acceptable.
For Pages Showing No Ads Organically
There are two potential issues here. If the ads are hidden because that was easiest for getting regulatory approval, then you should consider pausing media spend until the approvers can see what it will look like and are comfortable with the view.
If the ads cannot be shown in proximity then you should consider using the multiple Pages technique as suggested in Multiple Campaigns on page 5 as an alternative.
For Approvals Going Forward
All review packages and screenshots going forward should include the “Info and Ads” tab and should note that approved ads will appear there. Submissions should not show all those ads in-situ as they are better handled through other processes.
Download the PDF
For a handle PDF version of this same information download below.