Friday 25 September, 2020

By Thom Watt

The pace of change in the social media world is always intense, and nowhere more so than at Facebook. In the last month they have rolled out two of the most significant changes to their platform in years, both of which are vital for digital marketers.

Facebook Groups have been one of the platform’s biggest success stories in the last two years, with over a billion users regularly engaging with these closed communities. Posts, comment and engagement is more forthcoming in this forum, whether it’s for a residential community group, as a portal for meme creators, or a place for hobbyists or pet owners to share their passions.

In August, Facebook announced that it would expand the collaborative nature of Groups by allowing brands to partner and sponsor content amongst these active communities. Group admins will now be able to share and monetise ads and posts from partners, creating a revenue stream for active communities with over one thousand members, and a new way for brands to reach active, targeted audiences.

There has been an even more significant development with Facebook Ad guidelines. In August, Facebook implemented a welcome new verification policy for “political ads”. From now on, any brands which promote content deemed “political” must undergo a verification process to ensure they are resident in the country they are promoting to, they have a named administrator with valid ID for that region, and that they’re transparent as to who is paying for the promotion.

The definition of “political” is very broad and defined by the regional laws, but in the UK it covers everything from overt electioneering and civil rights to immigration and environmental issues.

Scrutiny will be on social media platforms and their influence in the run up to the US election in November. As they continually redefine their own responsibilities, it’s vital we understand the knock-on effects.

Thom is Head of Digital at Weber Shandwick Scotland. He works across a range of sectors and industries, specialising in social media strategy, data policy and digital content. Contact Thom at Thomas.Watt@webershandwick.com