The End of Dark Posts, Facebook Advertising Goes Transparent

By Tinuiti Team

If you’ve been running dozens of Facebook dark posts in attempt to target users (without revealing your ad strategy to competitors) – it might be time to rethink your marketing tactics.

Thanks to a recent update to Facebook’s ad transparency policy, political as well as retail – focused advertisers will now be forced to reveal every single ad they are running publicly in their feed.

According to the announcement from Facebook:

“Starting next month, people will be able to click “View Ads” on a Page and view ads a Page is running on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger — whether or not the person viewing is in the intended target audience for the ad.”

All Pages will be part of this effort, and Facebook will require that all ads be associated with a Page as part of the ad creation process.

They will start this test in Canada and roll it out to the US by this summer, ahead of the US midterm elections in November, as well as broadly to all other countries around the same time.


How will this impact Facebook advertisers?

According to our experts at CPC Strategy – this update is definitely a shift in the right direction.

“This is a game changer”, Nii Ahene, COO at CPC Strategy said.

“Once this rolls out, advertisers will be able to see all ads an advertiser (or competitor) is running – publicly ‘evening’ the playing field for advertisers to learn from competitors who have well optimized funnels.”

Historically, advertisers have been able to run ads using dark posts (also referred to as “Unpublished page posts”), which allow them to run as many ads as they want to – without a single ad appearing in their own news feed.

Think about it – your competitor could create dozens of Sponsored Ads for specific audiences, based on demographics, location and more – all without you being able to see it.

“This change will be incredibly helpful to advertisers across Facebook,” Casey Edwards, at CPC Strategy said.casey lead ads on facebook

“Right now, competitive research is limited to the ads you’re being served in your own feed. Now, regardless of your demographic you’ll be able to see the creative your competitors are serving to their audiences as well as messaging for each audience they’re targeting.”

Why the push for advertising transparency?

According to Facebook, a big push for transparency stems from recent political elections and debate:

“When it comes to advertising on Facebook, people should be able to tell who the advertiser is and see the ads they’re running, especially for political ads.”

“That level of transparency is good for democracy and it’s good for the electoral process. Transparency helps everyone, especially political watchdog groups and reporters, keep advertisers accountable for who they say they are and what they say to different groups.”

During the initial test, Facebook will only show active ads. However, when they expand to the US they plan to begin building an archive of federal-election related ads so that they can show both current and historical federal-election related ads.

In addition, for each federal-election related ad, Facebook will:

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