Last week, both Facebook and Twitter announced immediate changes that make ad information transparent to the public.
Under each Page’s new Info and Ads section, Facebook now shows all active ads that a Page is running across Facebook, Messenger, Facebook partner networks, and Instagram. Historical ads can be accessed in Facebook’s ad archives, but only if they contain political content.
Facebook also allows you to view ads by country, although if the brand or organization has distinct Pages for each country or region (versus publishing all ads from a single Page), those Pages’ ads won’t be visible unless you go to those specific Pages.
Twitter’s Ad Transparency Center allows you to search by handle and shows all ads run by that handle in the last seven days, including Promoted-Only ads. Historical ads beyond that period are not accessible except in the case of US electioneering ads, for which there is no cutoff date. Twitter defines electioneering as referring to a political candidate or party. Electioneering ads do not yet encompass issue-based ads, only ads referring to a political candidate or party.
Ad Targeting Data
Facebook details ad impression data for political and issue-based ads. Impression data provided includes number of impressions and a breakdown of audience by age, gender, and location.
For all ads, Twitter indicates which ads are targeted at your demographic. Twitter takes it a step further with electioneering ads and provides insight into each ad’s demographic targets, including age, gender, and geographic location.
Facebook provides ad spend estimates for political and issue-based ads. For ads with US political content, including issue-based ads, Facebook notes the advertiser (“Paid for by …”) at the top right hand corner of each ad. Ads without political content do not have this note.
Similarly, for US electioneering ads, Twitter provides billing information, a disclaimer that the ad is a political ad, and total campaign ad spend data, including historical ad spend data. Ads outside of the electioneering category do not show this data.
Only Facebook users with active accounts can report suspicious or inappropriate ads for review. Twitter ads can be flagged by anyone.
For full details of the changes, please read Facebook and Twitter’s announcements:
We recognize how important ads are to your digital strategy and will continue to provide updates as additional changes arise!