Facebook announced some major changes last week; in addition to the long-awaited and widely-acclaimed 'Big Merge' of Ads Manager and Power Editor (yay!) there was also some not-so-good news as, following an investigation by news outlet ProPublica, the platform announced that ‘with immediate effect’ it was removing self-reported targeting categories due to their misuse by some advertisers.
Not sure what that means? Stay with me, partner.
WORD OF THE WEEK: I will also completely misuse ‘inveigling’ later on, purely because it popped into my head and sounded perfect for the situation and, well, I’m writing this for you and I, not my GCSE English teacher.
Anyway, what the ProPublica investigation showed was that far-right/Nazi groups wanting to sell ‘memorabilia’ or get more people to their rallies could target over 2,000 users classing themselves as ‘Jew haters’.
Image via www.propublica.org
This is obviously not something Facebook wants any part of, so after ProPublica told them of this issue they were quick to put out a statement and remove the offending anti-Semitic categories.
“Our community standards strictly prohibit attacking people based on their protected characteristics, including religion, and we prohibit advertisers from discriminating against people based on religion and other attributes. ‘ said the official Facebook statement.
“As people fill in their education or employer on their profile, we have found a small percentage of people who have entered offensive responses, in violation of our policies….to help ensure that targeting is not used for discriminatory purposes, we are removing these self-reported targeting fields until we have the right processes in place to help prevent this issue.”
Firstly, fair play to Facebook for acting so quickly to address this issue and for their emphatic response.
However, this means some collateral damage for advertisers, with (for the time being at least) all ‘job title’ targeting being removed.
From a quick check I did earlier, a lot of job categories are still available but only as the less specific ‘interests’ - meaning that if you were trying to target estate agents, for example - you might end up targeting an audience of people who merely like pages related to estate agents rather than actual estate agents themselves, thereby wasting a chunk of your budget.
The real effect of these changes will only be seen in the coming weeks, but the key phrase of the Facebook statement above is ‘until we have the right processes in place to help prevent this issue’…suggesting that job title targeting will be returning as soon as Facebook gets their house in order.
Which you might think would happen pretty quickly, however, as any veteran Business Manager user or advertiser knows Facebook can be surprisingly sluggish making even apparently obvious improvements.
For example (minor rant alert):
- The ongoing problem of trying to add new admins to a business page…where you either have to try several times before they get a notification, or you have to direct them to facebook.com/pages for them to be able to accept your invite!
- Pushing users to Business Manager…but making it more complicated and time-consuming to then access and post on your pages (not to mention the headache when you have a new ads client who hasn’t already switched to Business Manager)
I could go on but when I went to check what else had frustrated me that I’d posted/commented on in the past on Facebook Help I was greeted by this…
If I remember some of the other main, ongoing frustrations with FB/Business Manager I will update this post, make sure you add any of yours in the comments below as it might jog my memory!
(Some mobile browsers might not display the comments box, if so email me your frustrations instead at Gil@run-dmg.com!)
Now, onto the second big bit of recent Facebook news: ‘The Big Merge’.
Since the arrival of Business Manager and the inveigling of Ads Manager into it, it’s been difficult to tell the latter and Power Editor apart in all the moody corporate grey and white.
(Hope you weren’t waiting too long for me to roll out word of the week)
To digress for a minute - I seriously think FB should change the colours of Business Manager because just looking at it makes me feel sleepy and like I’m about to submit my tax returns or something - rather than exciting me about how incredible my newest ad campaign is and how amazing the results will be!
I can still remember the first time I used it, I understood why it couldn’t be the same ‘Facebook Blue’ but there was a distinct feeling of ‘is this really all they could come up with?’
Big Mark, if you’re reading this, can’t we change that boring grey to something a bit more enthusiastic and motivating like marmalade orange or maybe a nice lime green?!
Or, to be even more radical, why not give users a choice of personalised theme colours a la Samsung, Microsoft, Twitter, Google or pretty much anything else from a major tech company?
Ok, I’m done with my digressing now.
As I said earlier, once Biz Manager came along, physically there wasn’t much difference between Ads Manager and Power Editor, but in practical terms more advanced options (until Ads Manager was improved in 2016) and the ability to save drafts, swiftly make multiple changes and generally do things quicker set Power Editor apart, especially for agencies and more advanced users.
Then suddenly, last week and with no prior warning...
With the numerous improvements to Ads Manager over the last year or so this development really makes a huge amount of sense.
There's probably a few ‘Facebook Ads Gurus’ with their noses out of joint that they won’t be able to name-drop Power Editor to their clients anymore like it’s some kind of secret, mythical club that only Facebook Ads Superheroes are allowed to access.
But I'm sure they'll get over it.
“Starting later this week, advertisers will begin to see an updated Ads Manager interface where they previously found Ads Manager or Power Editor," the official announcement said.
"The updated Ads Manager interface is designed to feel familiar without sacrificing any capabilities advertisers enjoyed from the old Power Editor or Ads Manager.”
Thankfully the drafts feature of Power Editor that was so useful has been retained in the new version, along with what sounds like the ‘best of both worlds’ in terms of reporting:
“The updated Ads Manager combines the comprehensive charts and activity history of Power Editor with the breakdowns, summary rows, date benchmarks, exported insights reports and the ability to customize columns from Ads Manager.”
Mine hasn’t switched over yet (I’m half-expecting it to be fluorescent orange when it does after what I said earlier) so let me know what you think so far if your Ads Manager has updated already?
On paper, it all sounds very positive though so hats off to Facebook for this one (I do love it really)!
EDIT 21/9/17: In an astounding display of efficiency, and possibly due to the number of complaints they were getting from advertisers, Facebook has now restored 5,000 'commonly used targeting terms that meet our standards'.
Well done to them for taking steps to resolve this so quickly!
If you haven’t subscribed to my blog yet be sure to at the bottom of the page (or click here if you are on a mobile device) and I’ll let you know how I get on in future with the new Super Ads Manager, in addition to all the other useful stuff I've got coming for you!
Gil is a Digital Marketing Consultant specialising in social media marketing and Facebook Ads for small businesses. He has worked in sales, marketing and business management for over 12 years and has been on Facebook since 2006, when his sister made the whole family create accounts just to keep up with her when she travelled the world for a year. Otherwise, he might still be on Bebo. You can also find Gil on LinkedIn here