Ad transparency is a tool used to show social media users how advertisers and brands are using social media platforms to market.
This new information will make it easier for audiences and competitors to obtain ad information and how they are marketing to certain demographics.
Launched on Facebook, Twitter and Facebook-run social platforms such as Messenger and Instagram in late-June, ad transparency gives both users and non-users access to previously hidden information regarding ad content and page history.
With page information and current ads now accessible under the Info and Ads tab on Facebook page sidebars, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg says ad transparency is vital for people to understand who is paying for the advertisements they see.
“Our ultimate goal is very simple: we want to reduce bad ads, we want to make sure that people understand what they’re seeing, who paid for it, and the fullness of what other people might see.”
The release of this new information will make ads more open to user scrutiny, by also make businesses and brands more accountable for the advertisements they produce.
It will also pressure social giants to be more transparent in their control and monitoring of ‘bad ads’ such as the paid political ad content on Facebook that may have interfered in the 2016 US election, as well as the scrutiny and inquests that followed.
Page history is also made to be more transparent, with information regarding when the page was first created and any changes to the name of the page now accessible to users.
This information may not seem relevant, but it will give users the opportunity to see and understand the purpose the page was originally created for and why it could be marketing in a certain way.
Currently only basic page information is available to users, but Sandberg says more page information will be made accessible and available in the coming weeks.
On Twitter, ad transparency is done a little differently, through what Twitter is calling the Ads Transparency Centre.
Through the Ads Transparency Centre, which is laid out similarly to Twitter’s typical search page, the user can now see all ad campaigns (promoted tweets) posted by the searched Twitter handle over the last seven days.
In a bid to hold political campaigners accountable, extra information is made accessible in the case of political campaign advertising and promotional tweets targeted towards US Twitter users.
This information could include the identity of the organisation that funded the ad and the ad’s target demographic, meaning political campaigning ads will become a lot more regulated.
While social media ad transparency seems to be great so far, there is a major limitation with how both Twitter and Facebook’s transparency tools work.
Both services only display a very limited amount of ads that have been promoted by the page, with Facebook only showing current campaigns and Twitter only showing campaign tweets from the past seven days.
For help with your social media marketing and advertising, check out Social Connection’s Social Media Marketing Services.