Under mounting pressure to placate advertisers' concerns, Facebook has announced a host of new brand safety features, measures against 'fake news' providers, as well as more third-party tie-ups, including its application for accreditation by the Media Ratings Council (MRC).
The social network made the announcements today (September 13) to coincide with the kick-off of the Dmexco trade show in Cologne, Germany, where a host of its senior executives are in attendance, including chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.
Among the developments announced were brand safety tools that let advertisers see where their ads are likely to appear prior to a campaign's launch, including placement and category opt-out lists, giving them better control over the content their ads will be adjacent to both on the social network as well as placements bought via its third-party Audience Network.
This update also includes an analytics tool which gives advertisers visibility over where their ads have appeared post-campaign, including ads that have run as part of media buys on its Ad Breaks; Instant Articles; Branded Content; and Audience Network offerings.
The pre-campaign advertiser control features are already in roll out phase while the post-campaign tool set to launch in the coming months.
Facebook is also using the trade show to announce that it is in the process of joining the Trustworthy Accountability Group’s (TAG) anti-fraud program, as part of a wider initiative that has seen it more proactively embrace pan-industry cooperation.
This switch in its mindset includes seeking MRC-accreditation with a timeline of 18 months to audit, with the social network seeking approval in key areas: first-party served ad impression reporting; third-party viewability partner integrations, with its two-second video buying option set for approval upon launch.
Facebook has also reported that it is in the process of adding two new viewability partners, DoubleVerify and Meetrics, and that it is also in negotiations with JICWEBS on DTSG (UK) plus it is working with the AGF (Germany) to find a new solution to reporting in each market.
Carolyn Everson, Facebook VP global marketing solutions, discussed the developments via a blog post, where she acknowledged concerns over the issues of viewability, online ad metrics and brand safety raised to her by advertisers at this year’s Cannes Lion Festival of Creativity.
“We hear them loud and clear,” she commented. “Which is why today, we’re introducing new monetization eligibility standards that will provide clearer guidance around the types of publishers and creators eligible to earn money on Facebook, and the kind of content that can be monetized.”
The “monetization eligibility standards and content guidelines” will apply to ad placements where context could matter, including in-stream ads and Instant Articles, with Everson pointing out that its post-campaign reporting will identify the publishers that advertisers’ ads ran on across Instant Articles, in-stream ads and Audience Network.
Facebook reiterated that it has hired an additional 3,000 content reviewers as part of its clean-up drive, and stressed its ongoing efforts to ensure that it isn’t ‘grading our own homework.’
In addition to its MRC accreditation under way, Everson also pointed out that it's now working with 24 measurement partners, in addition to the two new partners in the works.
“These reviews and partnerships help with viewability verification. They’ll also help us deliver the most accurate metrics possible to our partners."
“We know how important it is to provide the right insights to our clients so they can focus on business growth. We’re not perfect. But we are striving for accuracy, and these third-party verification efforts will help identify potential issues.”
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg is a keynote speaker at Dmexco, click here for The Drum's coverage from the event