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Facebook expands topic exclusion controls test to more advertisers

Jason Breichner Team Photo
Jason BreichnerContent Strategist

Facebook announced the company will be rolling out its test of topic exclusion controls for ads in the News Feed to more advertisers that run ads in English. The company first tested topic exclusion controls in January of 2021.

Described in their announcement as introducing more control for people and brands, the topic exclusion controls will allow advertisers to eliminate ad delivery to any users who have engaged with the topics “News and Politics,” “Social Issues”, and “Crime and Tragedy”.

Why Facebook is rolling out topic exclusion controls

Facebook has been at the center of the conversation around misinformation for a while now. As a result, the social media platform continues to decrease in popularity, with an estimated 45% of teens expected to no longer be users in the next two years.

Facebook’s hope is that these added controls will help them retain more advertisers and help those advertisers feel more confident in brand safety on the platform.

However, Facebook faces some challenges to its hold over advertisers. The social media landscape is constantly changing, and as platforms like TikTok become users’ app of choice, advertisers may opt to follow them there.

New topic exclusion controls for users and advertisers

At least according to Facebook, that is. In their initial findings, they discovered that:

  • Advertisers that excluded the News and Politics categories were able to avoid News and Political adjacency 94% of the time
  • Advertisers that excluded the Tragedy and Conflict categories were able to avoid Tragedy and Conflict adjacency 99% of the time
  • Advertisers that excluded the Debated Social Issues categories were able to avoid Debated Social Issues adjacency 95% of the time

Users will be able to easily control whether or not they’re included in any of the three topic exclusion categories by utilizing their ad preferences menu.

In addition, Facebook is testing new controls that will allow users to adjust their News Feed ranking preferences. Doing this would allow them to control how much content they see from their friends, family, Groups, and Pages.

Action steps for advertisers

The company is hopeful that these changes will help rehabilitate their image and regain users’ trust.

In their official announcement, they stated:

“We see this product as a bridge between what we can offer today and where we hope to go — content-based controls. We will soon begin exploring and testing a new content-based suitability control that will aim to address concerns advertisers have of their ads appearing in Facebook and Instagram feeds next to certain topics based on their brand suitability preferences.”

Here are three things you can do today to evaluate if topic exclusion controls are right for you.

  1. Evaluate what categories your brand does not want to be associated with
  2. Review Facebook’s topic exclusion controls. Find a link to them here.
  3. Work with your media buying team to carefully test these controls and ensure brand safety while not negatively impacting performance.

Need help setting this up? Get in touch with us today and we’ll be happy to help!

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