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‘Marketers told me they are feeling uneasy’: Facebook to boost advertising transparency

Facebook will be joining third party audit services to boost its advertising transparency and brand safety, VP of global marketing solutions Carolyn Everson said in an opinion piece published last night.

The announcement comes as the company is dealing with a number of crises, including allegations of inflating subscriber numbers, brand safety issues and ongoing claims of promoting fake news.

Carolyn Everson, Facebook VP of global marketing solutions

In her post, Everson outlined Facebook’s efforts across several areas including new brand safety tools and partnerships along with changes to monetization eligibility, standards and guidelines.

Among the measures was the company seeking accreditation from the US Media Ratings Council and to audit, review and accredit Facebook measurement of ad impressions and viewability.

Everson also announced a new third party measurement partners including DoubleVerify, Meetrics and Integral Ad Science.

Facebook will also introduce new monetization standards for publishers and creators, to reduce the prevalence of ‘financially motivated bad actors’ on the network and improve advertising quality, Everson wrote.

The full text of Everson’s post, as provided by Facebook, is below:

Providing More Clarity and Controls for Brands

Carolyn Everson, VP Global Marketing Solutions, Facebook

This past summer, I attended the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, one of the year’s biggest gathering for brands. There, some marketers told me they are feeling uneasy. Chief among their concerns are the issues of viewability, online ad metrics and brand safety.

We hear them loud and clear.

At Facebook, we take very seriously our responsibility to earn and maintain the trust of our advertiser partners – and give them the confidence they need to invest in us. That’s critical to their success and ours.

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. These standards will apply to ad placements where context could matter, including in-stream ads and Instant Articles.

And because brands also want to know where their ads are delivered, we’re also announcing that in the coming months we will begin providing advertisers with post-campaign reporting that clearly identifies the publishers that their ads ran on across Instant Articles, in-stream ads and Audience Network.

Together, these standards and tools will give advertisers the clarity and control they need to run their campaigns.

I’d like to also clarify the additional steps we’re taking with regards to third-party verification and brand safety.

Additional third-party verification

When it comes to verifying ad performance, Facebook has been accused of ”grading our own homework.” Even though the display and video ads that we deliver on Facebook and Instagram can already be measured and verified by third parties, we recognize the industry’s desire for more independent third-party validation.

That’s why we’re seeking accreditation from the Media Ratings Council, the US-based nonprofit industry organization that reviews and accredits audience measurement services in three key areas: first-party served ad impression reporting, third-party viewability partner integrations and upon launch, our new two-second video buying option. The first accreditation review is currently underway and our plan is for the others to follow.

Over the next 18 months, we’re working to achieve MRC accreditation across display and video on Instagram, Facebook and Audience Network for impression counting, viewability measurement and two second video buying. We’re committed to working with industry leaders around the world to advance the quality of advertising measurement. For example, in Germany we are working with the AGF to find a new solution to report reach across media.

Our commitment to third-party measurement and verification is clear. We first started working with third-party measurement partners in 2008. To date, we have 24 partners in our measurement system, such as Oracle Data Cloud, Nielsen, Kantar Millward Brown, as well as three partners measuring viewability: Moat, Integral Ad Science and comScore. And we’re in the process of adding two new viewability partners, DoubleVerify and Meetrics.

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.

Brand safety – new advertiser controls

Keeping our community safe is critical to our mission, and there is absolutely no place on Facebook for hate speech or content that promotes violence or terrorism. As soon as we determine that content has breached our Community Standards, we remove it. With a community as large as Facebook, however, zero tolerance cannot mean zero occurrence. Every week, our community reports millions of pieces of content to us for possibly violating our Community Standards. To speed up our process of reviewing those reports, we’re adding an additional 3,000 content reviewers, nearly doubling our existing team.

Our teams are partnering closely with third parties, such as DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science, to ensure the brand safety tools and controls we create serve our advertisers’ needs. DoubleVerify and Integral Ad Science are also determining the most effective ways to support advertiser requirements and manage their brand safety controls on Facebook. Additionally, we are in the process of joining the Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG) “Certified Against Fraud” program, given our longstanding commitment to combat fraud on Facebook.

With regards to brand safety, generally, people who view content in News Feed implicitly understand that the individual posts they see are not connected to or endorsed by the other posts in their feed— from brands or anyone else. That being said, content adjacency might still be a concern for other ad placements in which the disconnect between content and advertisement may not be as clear, such as Instant Articles and in-stream ads on Facebook, and placements on publisher’s sites and apps through Audience Network.

So, in addition to offering placement and category opt-outs, next week we will begin to roll out pre-campaign publisher lists. At launch, this tool will give advertisers a preview of partners using Instant Articles and in-stream videos on Facebook as well as publishers monetizing their sites and apps via Audience Network. For Audience Network, we expect the full list of publishers on the complete set of formats to be available by October. The post-campaign lists will begin rolling out in the coming months.

Looking ahead

We want all our partners to have the information and tools they need to feel confident advertising on Facebook. We’ve made significant progress this past year on some of the major issues, but we’re not done. We still have further to go. As the ad landscape continues to change, we’ll continue to work with our advertising partners to understand their needs and work with them to build a more brand-safe digital advertising ecosystem. We are committed to nothing less.

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