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  • In response to newly discovered foreign interference in the most recent election, Facebook is discontinuing the use of “dark posts,” and moving forward with more transparent paid advertisement regulations.

    What is a dark post?

    Dark posts are targeted ads created for social media that only a select audience can see. The ads aren’t posted on the brand’s news feed directly and are only viewable in user’s newsfeeds. Why is this important? Brands don’t want their biggest competitors to see who they are targeting, which creative media and content they are using, or how much they are spending because other businesses can use this information to their advantage.

    For example, Snickers doesn’t want Reese’s to know the Halloween advertising tactics it’s using this year because then it may lose market share and subsequently, potential customers – a waste of time and money for Snickers. Therefore, brands will often use this tactic to test ads without having to show competitors their homework.

    Dark posts are also useful when A/B testing different content strategies. Brands can test messaging and imagery nuances to a select group of users without posting to their Facebook page for the general public to see. Messaging can also be customized based on user demographics and interests to appeal to as many market segments as possible.

    What are the new rules?

    Facebook is implementing new transparency rules to disclose what groups and companies use paid advertising for on its platform. This means that any ads running on Facebook will be readily viewable by anyone.  Soon, there will be a “view ads” icon on every page and it will show exactly what ads are associated with the ad accounts linked to the Facebook page.

    These new rules are part of a social media effort to prove these networks can regulate themselves while providing a platform to communicate freely.

    What are the implications?

    This new initiative opens up huge opportunities for competitive research and audience identification. Competing brands will be able to nail down the targeting, imagery, and messaging their peers are focusing on for the first time in the history of social media advertising. This new layer of transparency is unique because social media ads are largely demographic based rather than keyword or content focused. Insight of this kind will shed light on the key audiences brands are looking to engage.

    As with everything in the digital marketing industry, strategies and tactics are always changing and the only way to keep moving forward is to adapt to the trends. If you’re not sure what the latest direction advertising in your industry is taking, the Exults team can help – contact us today to take the lead with your marketing.

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