Last Friday, Facebook announced it is getting rid of dark posts. This is in response to the ad campaigns that were served during the last election, but how does this change affect marketers?
What are dark posts?
Businesses can run ads that never show up on their business pages. The only people who see the ads are in the audience the business has chosen to serve them to. In fact, with my clients, these dark posts account for most of their Facebook ad spend.
How is Facebook offering transparency for these ads?
Facebook says it will have a tab on every business page where any user can see the campaigns that page is currently running and the audience the page is serving the ads to.
There will also be an archive of federal-election related ads where every ad ever delivered will be kept for four years with information including amount spent, audience demographic, and impressions delivered. Facebook does not say whether this archive will eventually house all ads or just political ads.
Facebook is rolling this change out to Canada first, but expects to release it to U.S. advertisers next summer.
What does this mean for you?
This is fantastic for businesses and marketers because we can now see directly into our competitors’ ad tactics and learn from them — and I don’t doubt that some social media competitor monitoring tool will eventually let you aggregate this data, analyze it and use it (if Facebook allows for it). For now, it will be up to a human to do the digging.
That said, your competitors can now see everything you are doing, too. In addition, businesses will often use dark posts as a means to testing new ads and campaigns before launching them to a larger market. Now, those tests will be available for all to see.