In his recently released revised mission statement for Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg emphasizes his ubiquitous organization’s strong focus on creating a community that brings the world closer together. In order to remain free for users, however, the platform must also continue to support paid advertising. The dual nature of Facebook’s goals means the organization must continuously work to find and maintain a healthy balance between delivering the best user experience and providing brands with the most effective paid placements. The push and pull between these two efforts is part of what drives frequent updates to the social platform, including changes in placement formatting.
Several recent updates have been focused on reducing the level of false information or “fake news” being published on Facebook, including: (1) the auto-population of images, headlines, and descriptions of links within Page Posts, and (2) Video Link Ads only being available to verified accounts.
Understanding how these placement changes will influence the social advertising landscape is paramount to our success as social media marketers. To help our team and partners, we have developed the following recommendation on how to most effectively take advantage of this new offering.
Update #1: Elements of Published and Unpublished (Dark) Page Posts Now Dynamically Populated
The rules against publishing fake news are documented in Facebook’s Community Standards. The recent changes to the Page Post offering are designed to proactively enforce these standards during the content creation process (instead of having to rely on policing already-published content).
What Changed and How To Move Forward
First, paid Page post link ads are still fully customizable through Ads Manager or Power Editor. Similarly, anyone with access to these tools and the right permissions to post to the brand’s page will be able to create both paid and organic link posts that are customizable.
For community managers or others without such permissions, customization will be limited. Link Headline, Display Link, Description, and Picture will now be pulled in automatically from a website crawl once the desired landing page URL is added to the placement. Brands can, however, still exercise some control through the use of Open Graph Meta Tags on their website.
Open Graph (OG) Meta Tags help guide Facebook’s crawler by telling it which pieces of information to pull into the placement. Implementing these tags on a brand’s landing page directs the crawler to only pick up and present the most desired elements of the webpage, ensuring it delivers the best possible description of the content.
In addition, instead of creating ad mockups by inputting predetermined copy and imagery, mockups will now be drafted through Facebook’s Creative Hub, where these elements will be dynamically populated based the content found at the desired website URL. To see how the user interface has changed to reflect these set-up changes, please refer to the image below.
Reasons Behind the Change and What is Means for Brands
False news and inaccurate information usually appear on Facebook in the form of Page posts. A typical fake news scenario is one in which a Page post misleads users with “link bait” that features copy, an image, or a headline that does not match what’s on the linked landing page.
The ultimate goal of these new placement features is to make the Facebook community better informed about the content being presented before they engage with it. Forcing advertisers and publishers to truthfully depict the content of landing pages by dynamically populating key fields, will greatly reduce the risk of misinformation.
As advertisers, the next move is identifying who is posting to the Page organically and whether they have the proper access to create customized posts. If they do not (and it is not possible to grant them access), preparing all landing pages with the necessary OG Meta Tags is the next step. This will help provide better control within the changing placement landscape, while still maintaining presence as trustworthy partners on the platform.
The good news is that OG Meta Tags are not just for Facebook – they are supported by a variety of platforms and publishers where links are shared and will help with visibility there as well.
Update #2: Video Link Page Posts for Verified Page Accounts Only
What Changed and How To Move Forward
In order to create video link Page posts, an advertiser must now meet two requirements: (1) be associated with a Blue Verified Page on Facebook (see below) in a role with posting ability, and (2) be associated with a managed ad account that is supported by Facebook’s sales team.
If not already in place, your first step is to work with the account’s Facebook client partner to get a Blue Verified badge on the brand’s account page. If you are an iProspect client, reach out to your account team and we can handle the request for you. In addition, make sure all necessary team members on the account have access to post to the Page. This will ensure that each team member meets the necessary requirements to create video link Page posts.
Reasons Behind the Change and What It Means for Brands
This change was made in an effort to ensure the integrity of brands posting video content on Facebook. With video content only coming from Facebook-supported Verified Pages, the number of spam accounts releasing unfounded information into the community will be drastically reduced. These new stipulations provide great credibility to the advertisers who meet the stated posting requirements. Being a part of this high-clearance advertiser group promotes user trust and gives our represented brands additional clout on the platform.
Although it may seem as though Facebook is making things more difficult with these new restrictions and requirements, these updates are actually one-time adjustments that will ultimately lead to longer-term success of the platform. This approach allows them to meet their dual mission of creating a community that brings the world closer together, and allowing brands and marketers to continue using Facebook’s global inventory of sophisticated ad products to drive business results.