Advertising has evolved into a multi-billion dollar revenue generator for Facebook. In its most recent earnings release, the social media giant disclosed that it had generated roughly $10 billion in ad revenue in Q3 of 2017 alone.
Opportunities to advertise on Facebook have grown leaps and bounds since 2012, the year the company went public. Despite some recent setbacks, the capability to target specific audiences has made Facebook’s ad manager a must-use tool for businesses and brands.
When it comes to serving ads to its more than 2 billion users, Facebook recently made an effort to outline its values. Rob Goldman, Facebook’s Vice President of Ad Products, blogged that the overarching mission of the advertising team is to “make meaningful connections between businesses and people.” To accomplish that, Goldman stated the importance of serving ads to people that are “relevant and useful”.
There are seven key principles that guide Facebook’s quest to reaching those goals. Below is a summary of each.
Facebook builds for people first.
To make Facebook free for all, advertising is a needed stream of revenue. However, that doesn’t mean Facebook puts its own financial gain ahead of the needs of its users. Goldman pronounced that ads shouldn’t negatively impact someone’s experience on Facebook. One way Facebook is accomplishing this is by making its auction system prioritize user relevance over how much money the platform can make from an ad.
They don’t sell user data.
Signing up to Facebook requires a user to voluntarily provide a bevy of personal information. In order to keep advancing the platform, Facebook has to ensure users feel confident their data isn’t being compromised. This is why Facebook has made it a principle to not sell information like names, email addresses, phone numbers and more to potential advertisers. Facebook’s ad system is built to maintain the anonymity of its users while still providing specific audience demographics that are valuable to advertisers.
Users can control the ads they see.
Users have the capability to opt out of the ads they are served. If it isn’t relevant, one can easily hide it by clicking the upper right-hand corner of an ad. Facebook also makes a point to explain to users why they’re being served the ads they’re seeing. Goldman recommended that people visit Ad Preferences to learn more about the data that facilitates the kinds of ads users see.
Transparency is crucial.
Facebook believes that each and every one of its users should have access to know what businesses are running ads. The social network also believes people have the right to examine any other ads an advertiser is running. Starting in September of 2017, Facebook addressed this by building an ads transparency feature, which enables users to visit any business’ brand page and view all of the ads it’s running. Facebook’s hope is that this makes advertising clearer to its users and holds businesses accountable for the quality of their ads.
Safety and civility, not division and discrimination, should be key features of ads.
When it comes to the promotion of any kind of harmful behavior, advertisers are held to strict guidelines. Facebook has made it a mission that no ads are used for hateful or discriminatory purposes. To protect the user experience, ads are reviewed both using algorithmic and manual tools.
Advertising is meant to empower both big and small business.
Facebook strives to make its ad platform available to everyone. Whether you’re a multi-million dollar corporation or a local small business, the capability to advertise should be accessible to all.
Facebook is always improving its advertising.
Facebook is the oldest social media network in existence. It’s managed to grow and stay relevant over the last decade because of a willingness to improve. Facebook’s ad platform is one feature that has changed on a constant and consistent basis. Goldman said that Facebook is continually seeking feedback to better ads users see on the network.
“We know our work isn’t done by any means, which means we’ll often introduce, test and update certain features like ad formats, metrics and ad controls,” Goldman said.
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