In an op-ed published June 16 in USA Today, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that users will soon be able to opt out of seeing political, social issue, or electoral ads from all organizations required to use ‘Paid for by’ disclaimers in their Facebook or Instagram a.
This move — the latest of Facebook’s efforts to quell calls for the platform to moderate political content and stop the spread of misinformation — has several of our clients and colleagues asking: what does this policy change mean for our work in 2020 and beyond?
This week’s announcement isn’t breaking news: Facebook announced in January that it would begin rolling out options for users to see fewer political ads. You may already have had this option available to you, but chances are you didn’t notice unless you dove deep into the options buried in your account settings.
As digital professionals who navigate a world where people spend less than 15 seconds reading an email and an average of two seconds on a Facebook post, we’re skeptical that many users will take the steps necessary to opt out of political ads. Once this week’s headlines die down, we’ll be interested to see if Facebook — which brings in hundreds of millions in revenue a year from political ads — continues to promote this option to users.
It is possible this policy may result in a decrease in performance and increase in cost for campaigns as the pool of reachable users dwindles. This would be particularly unfortunate for non-profit organizations whose advocacy work is swept up in Facebook’s broad definition of “political” content.
Time will ultimately tell. We’ll be closely monitoring our clients’ Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns for changes in performance and, as always, be prepared to adjust.
The opt out announcement isn’t the only item keeping Facebook in the press: civil rights groups — including the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League, and Color of Change — unveiled the #StopHateforProfit campaign last week, calling on advertisers to pull their spending for the month of July in protest of the platform’s failure to stop the spread of hateful content and misinformation.
This week’s news is merely the latest reminder of the risks of over-reliance on a single platform and the importance of a diversified digital strategy.
If you need help navigating the ever-changing world of Facebook ads and crafting a diversified strategy that aligns with your organization’s values, we’re here to help. Schedule a call with the ACM Strategies team today.