Ads run on Facebook which point to an off-site location now show the domain URL below the headline and above the image. By notifying users of the main domain URL (the root of the URL that doesn’t include the suffix which points to a specific page within a website) they’ll be sent to if they click the ad, users are less likely to be duped into visiting sites they’re not interested in. Ads pointing to Pages, apps, and other sites within the Facebook canvas do not show their display URL.
For years Google AdWords has presented domain URLs of ads, and the enhanced user experience this offers may have inspired Facebook to follow suit. Forcing ads to be transparent will assist Facebook in creating a perception of itself as safe zone on the internet. The change will help alleviate a user’s worries about whether the site they’re clicking through to is irrelevant, objectionable, or malicious.
However, as a significant portion of Facebook’s advertising inventory is used by developers to market their apps, there is still considerable volume of opaque ad content on the site.
This change will benefit users, and also could lead to a higher conversion rate for ads since there will be fewer uninterested clicks. By adjusting its ad product, Facebook is naturally weeding out unscrupulous advertisers and creating a better user experience.
Update: Facebook has informed us that it is “constantly looking for new ways to improve the user and advertiser experience on Facebook and have begun a test that shows the domain URLs for ads pointing users off of Facebook.”