Facebook Gives Marketers More Controls to Make Brands Feel Safer

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November 20, 2019

Facebook is making moves to ensure brands continue spending their ad dollars on its platforms.

The company announced on Wednesday new ways to help marketers have better control of their ads and where they appear on its services. Part of the updates includes testing "publisher white lists," which will allow brands to select which accounts that their ads are approved to run on.

It also includes centralized ways to create publisher blocklists, set ad inventory filters, and get reports. Facebook is also partnering with video advertising company Zefr to help ensure ad campaigns run in the right areas.

This year marks the first year advertisers will spend more on digital ads than traditional media, according to eMarketer. It also marks the first time the duopoly — Google and Facebook — will see their share of the digital advertising pie decline.

Facebook ($FB) will still be a digital advertising leader for the foreseeable future, with 2.8 billion monthly users across its family of apps as of October. But other companies like Amazon are growing their advertising revenue rapidly. Meanwhile, Facebook has reported under 30 percent revenue growth during its last three earnings reports.

Brand safety, concerning what kind of content that ads are running adjacent to, has become an increasing issue for advertisers. Some companies choose not to advertise on Facebook's in-app mobile advertising Audience Network because of worries about where their marketing will appear, WPP agency Essence told Ad Age.

Facebook has more than 35,000 people working on safety and security, which includes removing billions of fake accounts annually. But the company has been under scrutiny recently for allowing misinformation and other fake news in politicians' ads, something which would clearly be a concern for many advertisers, should their ads appear alongside the content. The platform has argued users should decide what is correct and incorrect and that blocking content would curtail newsworthy items. However, critics have said false narratives can influence voters and undermine democracy.