What does Facebook’s misleading advertising problem mean for publishers?

Ad Industry News
Last updated: January 18, 2023 | by Kean Graham

This post was most recently updated on January 18th, 2023

Online advertising is continually scrutinized, from analyzing how 3rd party cookies converge with your privacy & tracking dashboard tools for Facebook ads to concerns over brands heedlessly funding bad press via ad spending.

Being the most popular digital outlet for online ad campaigns, Facebook’s misleading advertising policies has been getting a lot of negative media attention lately.

Zuckerberg is often criticized because of the third-party cookie tracking privacy haywire and ever-increasing ad campaign prizing hikes he showers upon brands.


What does Facebook's misleading advertising problem mean for publishers? MonitizeMore


Facebook’s new rhetoric about making Facebook ads more privacy-conscious is an admission of defeat itself. 

As recently as last year, the business went on the attack against Apple’s ad tracking prompt, claiming that Apple was acting unjustly and negatively affecting small businesses that relied on advertising.

Unfortunately, the Facebook campaign ultimately failed, and the company is now working on privacy-conscious approaches to data collection similar to that of Apple’s SkAdnetwork campaigns.

“Differential privacy,” for example, involves tampering with datasets to obscure individual identities.

You must be thinking, as a publisher, why should you care about this?

In this blog post, we break down facts regarding why Facebook’s misleading advertising problems don’t stack up with the opportunities & value that publishers find on the network.


Ad Observer & Ad Observatory: Setting the scene


What does Facebook's misleading advertising problem mean for publishers? MonitizeMore


This is the most generic responsibility of any digital advertising platform. 

‘Good ads don’t sync well with bad content, and bad ads don’t sync with good content.

There is a variety of independent services available when advertisers run ads on publisher sites. These services make sure that these ads get placed with relevant content. 

Both publishers & advertisers get all the metrics & data they require for page context & the ads appearing on that ad space.

The bad news is that it never always goes as you planned on Facebook.

Those who are reading valuable content are exposed to inappropriate ads that cannot be detected or tracked. 

Publishers often end up with weird ads placed on their content that don’t even relate to their brand identity.

This is because they have no power over the settings in which these Facebook ads appear on their site.

Ad Observatory is an NYU study program that is breaking down why deceptive advertising happens on Facebook.

It even has a chrome plugin named ‘Ad Observer’ which extracts all data from Facebook & Youtube Ads. It is a private browser extension that doesn’t leak data about users.

This plugin beats Facebook’s ‘Ad Library’ service any day.

Through ad observatories, we are able to view Facebook ads in the same way everyone can see open web ads. 

Publishers and advertisers can use independent crawlers to check anything on the open web.

Publishers whose sites run any type of problematic ads will be notified immediately, so they can fix it as soon as possible.

The same goes for advertisers: They need to be able to control and correct any kind of inappropriate ads displayed.


Facebook’s brawl with the NYU research team


What does Facebook's misleading advertising problem mean for publishers? MonitizeMore


Earlier, Facebook took the wrong path, attempting to hide its persistent glitches with strange ads.

On the other hand, the open internet was detecting and fixing bad ad placements (advertisers are focusing more on direct placements on quality sites, such as those found in MonetizeMore).

Facebook claimed the plugin violated a consent decree with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the NYU team was banned from the site for doing “unauthorized data scraping” under the consent decree. 

Researchers still have access to the Ad Library, CrowdTangle, and other services, but the Ad Observer extension no longer works.

Although, Ad Observer does not collect personally identifiable information – it collects ad data that is collected by genuine advertisers & publishers online.

NYU Ad Observatory does not scrape “user’s personal data,” but instead it lets users freely submit news about the ads they see on a daily basis.


FTC’s consent decree appeal


FTC reminds all advertisers to keep consumer interests in mind when deciding where to place their advertisements, even though not all web advertising is “surveillance-based.”

The public wants to check out ads for products they usually engage in, but blogs and content creators don’t prefer staying away from scandalous ad practices like gender-bias ads, etc.

Facebook ads cannot be independently checked or verified, so advertisers lack confidence in them.

Facebook made false claims in the past a million times stating that they will be taking the road to transparency (nice joke!)

 That won’t be happening from the looks of what’s going on now (meh!)


New Paid Online Events for Publishers: A Redeeming moment?


What does Facebook's misleading advertising problem mean for publishers? MonitizeMore


Facebook came up with a new feature called ‘Paid Online Events’ so that small-scale publishers can take their business to a whole new level.

Currently, Facebook is not charging any fee for these paid online events.

It’s best to strike when the iron is hot.
Designed to help publishers and online content creators generate multiple income streams, this feature allows publishers to create online page events that their users can attend respectively.

Publishers can promote these paid online events with Messenger rooms, receive digital payments & host the event via live video streaming on Facebook.

Always think about how much value your website offers and how you can make bank out of that accordingly.


What can I expect next?


What does Facebook's misleading advertising problem mean for publishers? MonitizeMore


It’s time to ponder about these two things as a publisher if you are looking to expand your brand identity online:


  • Are you interested in having your brand on a platform and in a platform where the preset algorithms favor negative content? Is that the context that my business needs to be portrayed in?


  • And second, Is it true to my brand to take a larger stance regarding the impact Facebook has on the mind & community, and if so, how would I want to convey that stance?


Our Recommendations:


  • Publishers should consider choosing a comprehensible & steady approach to Facebook’s ad policies. A general rule of thumb is not to over-index any one channel, blog, or app, not just in times of crisis. 


  • The use of an Omnichannel approach protects against disruptive events like platform outages and provides a way to identify and optimize areas of high performance.


  • Likewise, platform models can often resemble walled gardens to a degree, yet advertising technology can and should operate independently from media ownership.


  • Managing campaigns from a central point of control & being able to visualize the many placements where your marketing efforts work means you can leverage the broader ecosystem.


  • You can even employ automation to maximize your returns, rather than feeling confined by it.


  • Run high-quality ads and replicate the winning ad campaigns that are already performing well.


  • It is possible to come across risky ads and take a chance on whether or not these ads need to be run. We don’t need to end up attracting negative headlines for putting inappropriate ads on our sites


Despite the fact that web ads solve the problems the NYU team highlighted, the programmatic ad industry is in a state of flux.

We need to make sure that the open web remains a strong advertising platform when third-party cookie capabilities bid adieu to Google Chrome.

In order to stop scams from happening, new policies & technologies must have an equal influence on both “walled gardens,” such as Facebook, & the open web.

Most online businesses are tired of burning their ad budgets in black boxes of the biggest names in the industry without a decent ROAS in return.


Final Thoughts


In the past year, there have been a lot of Facebook transparency updates, and the pandemic only made matters worse.

Expect to see more features that promote transparency and authenticity in the coming months, as well as features that cater to the needs of small and medium-scale publishers.

With Facebook representing such a large portion of advertisers’ budgets, the downstream effects for these Android & iOS app advertisers will be quite significant during that time period. 

You can shift budgets to other social media platforms, but they will not yield greater results without a proper marketing strategy.

There are a bunch of bored people out there who will keep switching from Facebook to TikTok and Instagram every 15 minutes. 

Once you get used to what every social media platform has to offer, you suddenly lose interest (BUMMER!)

We believe it would be better to observe what is happening on competitors’ networks first and to pull back the budget for a few days to observe what is actually happening.

As a publisher, it is extremely likely that you may be feeling perplexed about Facebook’s ever-changing advertising updates and policies.

In such a case, getting in touch with us is the best way to go. (No Worries, we got you 🤗 .)

Are you ready to boost your ad revenue by 36% and more? Sign up for a starter account at MonetizeMore today.



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