Platform news October 2019

Posted on October 09, 2019

The US elections cast their shadows ahead, shopping formats will be expanded on several platforms, Facebook launches new formats as well as Facebook Dating - the list of platform updates in October is long.   


Facebook introduced Account Quality and Policy-Violating Assets: Facebook´s advertising policies are always a highly debated topic and generate frustration when they are misapplied. Therefore, Facebook introduced two new features in the Ads Manager. With the section Account Quality, advertisers can, for example, see which ads have not been approved, send several ads to review at the same time and see the review status. Advertisers can now also see directly from each ad which component of the ad is responsible for the disapproval. This will make it easier for advertisers to adapt ads to the policies or to react in case of unjustified disapproval. These features will initially be activated for all ad accounts that have a direct Facebook contact. All other ad accounts will follow later.

Facebook updated its advertising policies for political ads: Advertisers who are running political ads must already comply with specific policies and, e.g., upload the ID card of a natural person who is accountable for that ad. Additionally, political ads are now labeled with a disclaimer. Facing next year’s US elections, Facebook updated these policies and now requires advertisers to provide even more details about their organization if they want to run political ads (e.g., the EIN or FEC number, a government website domain, etc.). The changes started in mid-September and ads from advertisers who do not comply by mid-October will be paused. Please note that the policies do not only apply to explicitly political ads, but Facebook also classifies ads as “political” if they deal with political or social issues of any kind such as green energy.

Facebook will update its Ad Metrics: Facebook is regularly reviewing how they can make advertising metrics simpler and more consistent. Therefore, Facebook will be making some updates to video and lead ads metrics in October. Metrics associated with 10-second Video Views will be removed and other video metrics will be renamed. Starting October 29th, these changes will be displayed in the Ads Manager, Report Builder, and API. An overview of all changes and many more details can be found in the Help Center

Facebook rolled out Placement Asset Customization: A feature many advertisers were wishing for will finally be rolled out. Advertisers will be able to use individual links for different placements when using Placement Asset Customization. These links will be independent and not only parameters attached to the URL. This feature will probably be available in all Ads Managers until the end of the year. Currently, it does not work with App Installs, Lead Generation or Language Customization. 

Facebook expanded AR, Polling and Playable Ad formats: Because of flashy platforms like Snapchat or TikTok disrupting the ad market, Facebook continuously experiments with new ad formats to remain competitive. With AR Ads, Polling Ads and Playable Ads they now announced three more showy ad formats. AR Ads have been in testing since mid-2018 and are now available in open beta. These ads will open an immersive augmented reality effect after the user clicks on a Video Ad. Currently, they are exclusively available on request and for mobile feed campaigns with the objectives of traffic or conversions only. The new Polling Ads bring the same functionality to Facebook as the poll stickers for Instagram Story Ads. Advertisers can measure how many users voted for which side of the poll. Supported objectives are mobile app installs, reach, traffic and brand awareness. Playable Ads have already been available for app install campaigns (e.g., to let users play a short demo of an app before downloading). Now, they can also be used for the branding objectives reach, brand awareness, video views, and conversions.

Facebook rolled out Detailed Targeting Expansion for more objectives: Advertisers currently have the option of expanding their interest targeting if the campaign performance could lead to lower cost per result. This expansion has been available for the campaign objectives Website Conversion, App Install, Lead Generation, Post Engagement, and Link Clicks. After positive results, Facebook will roll out Detailed Targeting Expansion over the coming weeks for Catalog Sales, Video Views, Messages, and Store Traffic. 

Facebook launched Facebook Dating:
Facebook launched Facebook Dating which is a dating service that makes it easier for users to find love based on mutual interests and hobbies. It will appear as a new tab within the Facebook app for users older than 18 years and requires users to opt-in. In the future, it will be possible to integrate Instagram posts and Stories to the user´s Dating profile. At the moment, it is not available in Germany, but it should be rolled out in Europe by early 2020. It is not yet clear if this placement will run advertising.

Launch of Lead Generation in Facebook Messenger:
In addition to the well-known Lead Ads, Facebook will soon roll out a new Messenger advertising format for the Messages objective. They announced the global rollout of lead generation in Messenger, which enables advertisers to ask users a series of questions. Buttons with prefilled answers are available for quick and easy lead generation. Furthermore, reminders are sent within 24 hours to those users who have not yet answered all the questions. The leads can be synchronized directly with the customer´s systems via numerous CRM providers. 


Instagram tests Shopping Posts as Ads: Instagram is continuously improving the shopping experience. Now, Instagram is testing the opportunity to run existing organic shopping posts as ads in the Ads Manager and thus to increase reach of a shopping post. If users tap on these ads, they will be taken to a product description page within Instagram and can purchase from the business´ website. This feature is for now only available for selected businesses. We will keep you informed if and when this feature is rolled out in Germany.


Twitter updated its advertising policies on state media: In the effort to protect healthy discourse and open conversation, Twitter will no longer accept advertising from state-controlled news media entities. This rule is a global policy and will be enforced across all accounts except for taxpayer-funded entities (e.g., public broadcasters) or state-controlled news sites dedicated solely to entertainment, sports and travel content. Since Twitter enacted this new policy, affected accounts will need to rely on organic posts for engagement.

Twitter launched Audience Expansion: Twitter wants to help advertisers reach their goals more efficiently. Thus, they launched a new Audience Expansion feature which intelligently broadens the targeting by including similar users that may be left out by standard targeting. Therefore, Twitter uses statistical lookalike modelling to find users who share similarities with the base audience defined in the targeting settings. Three different precision levels are available, ranging from "Defined" (most closely matches) to "Expanded" (medium matches) to "Broad" (loosely related matches). Metrics like spend, impression, CPX, etc., can be reported separately for default and expanded audience. The new feature allows advertisers to reduce friction by reaching more relevant users with fewer targeting specifications


Pinterest upgraded its shopping offering: Pinterest continues to expand its commerce offerings in Germany. Catalogs and Shopping Ads will be available to select partners in Germany, France, Spain, and Italy. Catalogs will enable brands to upload their entire catalog to Pinterest and thus turn their products into shoppable Product Pins. Furthermore, Pinterest introduced Shop the Look Ad in a new collection format in the US. This format will enable brands to feature multiple products in a single ad with up to 25 tagged items in an image. 

Pinterest upgraded its visual search tool: Pinterest is constantly working on helping users discover new ideas visually and is conscious about people not always being able to describe in words what they are looking for. Therefore, Pinterest upgraded its visual search tool to let users use the Lens camera search to snap a photo offline and get results in Pinterest about what it is and where to find something like it. This tool can identify more than 2.5 billion objects across home and fashion products. Along with this update, Pinterest rolled out shoppable Pins to visual search results. When users use Lens within a fashion or home Pin to see a specific product or object, they will see shoppable Product Pins along with visually similar ideas to try or buy.


Snapchat launched an archive of Political Ads: Like Facebook and Twitter, Snapchat is striving to offer more transparency around Political Ads. Therefore, Snapchat launched the Political and Advocacy Ads Library that archives all political and advocacy advertising that ran on the platform in 2018 and 2019. This archive includes details about the campaigns, such as the organization that paid for the ad, the total spend, targeting information and impressions.

Snapchat extended the Snap Ads length up to 180 seconds: From now on, Snap Ads can be up to 3 minutes long instead of the previous 10 seconds. The adaption of specifications could be interesting for clients that want to extend their Instagram Story Ads on Snapchat. Nevertheless, esome and Snapchat recommend shorter video snippets (e.g., 3 to 6 seconds) to generate the best possible results. Furthermore, Snapchat introduced the 15 seconds Video View optimization option

New swipe-up feature for Snapchat Commercials: Snap’s six-second non-skippable Commercials were introduced as video-only ads, with no interactive features attached. Now, the Commercials format allows for the addition of either web view, long-form video and AR Lens attachments on these ad units – in line with its other ad formats. 

Snapchat introduced new AR tools: Snapchat introduced new features to its Lens Studio to make it easier for brands and agencies to experiment with Snap´s AR. The new features include Landmarker template support for 14 real-world locations, an interactive tour for first-time app users and six new facial templates.


LinkedIn introduced Insights and Research Hub: LinkedIn puts a lot of value in helping advertisers make informed decisions about their social media strategies. Therefore, LinkedIn introduced a new page called Insights and Research, dedicated only to actionable marketing insights. This page is divided into three sections: People Insights, Industry Insights, and Advertising Insights. Under each section, advertisers can find information regarding the platform´s audiences, trends of industry verticals, and advice on how to measure and maximize marketing impact on LinkedIn.


XING rolled out new targeting options: Now it is possible to optimize XING campaigns on the following targeting options: Employer, university & course of study and job changers. The options are characterized by specific companies/employers, former and current students, or users with higher motivation to change jobs. This information will be based on the user´s profile settings and behavior.



YouTube introduced Video Reach campaigns: To help advertisers achieve their marketing goals, YouTube introduced Video Reach campaigns. Instead of having to separately manage campaigns for six-second Bumper Ads, skippable In-Stream Ads, and non-skippable In-Stream Ads, advertisers can now upload multiple video creatives in a single campaign. Google´s machine learning technology will automatically ensure the most efficient combination of these formats is used to generate maximum reach within the audience

YouTube launched Fashion Vertical: In previous years, fashion and beauty videos have been very successful on YouTube and the channels and views have been growing exponentially. Therefore, YouTube launched a new vertical called YouTube Fashion which is a single destination for style content on the platform. It will feature original content from the biggest brands in the industry and top creators.

YouTube rolled out Masthead Ads for TV: Similar to YouTube´s mobile and desktop feed Masthead Ads, YouTube rolled out Masthead Ads for TV as a beta, available globally. It is a huge advertising banner at the top of the home page and will offer brands a prominent place within its TV app. The ads in the TV app are supposed to be played automatically after a few seconds on all compatible devices. This ad can be purchased on a CPM basis and will be available via reserved placements. 


TikTok rolled out Audience Network in Asia: To let advertisers reach users across third-party apps, TikTok has rolled out its native Audience Network in Asia. TikTok will offer advertisers the choice between Rewarded Video Ads and Full-Page Video Ads. Media buyers will also be able to blacklist specific apps they want to avoid. We will keep you informed if this feature will be available in Germany.


Reddit made updates to its Video Ads: Reddit´s page views and time spent on its website and app have been increasing. To take advantage of this development and build out more comprehensive ad offerings, Reddit has been working on giving advertisers more Video Ad options. In addition to the 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios, Reddit added 1:1 square and 4:5 vertical video sizes. Furthermore, Reddit added the possibility to implement mobile landing pages for CPV campaigns. Through these updates, Reddit expects to improve engagement metrics

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