Facebook’s New “Info and Ads” Feature Creates Opportunity (and Concerns)
By Evan Rubin, Evoke Social Strategist
In response to highly publicized criticism over privacy and an inability to combat misinformation, Facebook pledged to increase transparency around advertising and the nature of business pages by creating the new Info and Ads tab earlier this year.
While this move is intended to provide visibility and help users distinguish advertising from other content, it also opens the door for brands to see what competitors are producing on the platform (and for them to see you). Anyone can now easily access every ad currently running from any brand on Facebook, along with other pertinent information about that brand’s page.
For now, it’s worth noting what this new feature means and consider how brands, and their competitors, will take advantage of this change.
1. Competitors can now view your brand’s content and vice versa.
Perhaps the most obvious benefit (and drawback) of the feature is that brands finally have access to the competitor dark posts that have been elusive for years, allowing them to keep a closer eye on their competitors. Before this tab, brands would only be able to see competitor posts on the actual page or if they matched the target audience and were served an ad. Now, there is a constant window into competitor Facebook and Instagram ads.
Additionally, competitors can hint at the creative strategy behind the Facebook ads. For example, multiple, identical ads can signal a brand is experimenting between different audience segments. Similar ads with only variations in patient images can signal the targeting of different age groups or ethnic affinities. While these insights rely more on intuition than fact, it can still provide a better sense of how competitors are using the platform and with whom they are speaking.
2. Inspiration abounds
When wondering, for example, how a black box drug manages their Facebook ads, it’s easy to find out with just a few screen taps. Creative teams can find inspiration from other brands, including ideas for how (and how not) to execute key ad formats. Plus, perusing other brand’s ads provides extra insight into which brands are experimenting with new and different ad types not previously used in the pharma space.
How It Works:
By clicking on the "Info & Ads" tab, users will see:
- Ads a brand is currently running on Facebook and Instagram (although they won’t be able to distinguish which platform the ad is on)
- Ads that are currently running in the viewer’s region (by country or geotargeted to states or cities)
- Creation date for the page
- Page name changes
- Page merge history
- Country locations of page admins
Information that viewers are not able to access on most ads* include:
- Performance metrics
- Target audience and audience segments
- Comments, reactions, or shares
- Ad spend
- Platform placement (Instagram vs. Facebook)
* Note: In certain countries, additional information is available (including ad spend and performance) on advertisements that are deemed broadly “political” or “of public importance” by Facebook.
What It Means
Users on social media platforms have been demanding authenticity and transparency from brands. The new Info and Ads tab puts increased pressure on brands to deliver that authentic content. While this should be less of an issue for healthcare brands, given the regulated industry in which we work, what remains to be seen is who will be the main users of this new feature: customers who are browsing the ads for themselves or brands who want to peek in on competitor content.