Facebook Shed Light on The Principles That Drive Its Advertising Decisions

Vp of ad products Rob Goldman detailed the principles behind decisions on advertising on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram

What drives ad decisions at 1 Hacker Way? JasonDoiy/iStock
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Facebook vice president of ad products Rob Goldman shed some light on the principles behind the company’s decisions regarding advertising on Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.

Goldman discussed the following principles in a Newsroom post Monday:

  • We build for people first.
  • We don’t sell your data.
  • You can control the ads you see.
  • Advertising should be transparent.
  • Advertising should be safe and civil; it should not divide or discriminate.
  • Advertising should empower businesses big and small.
  • We’re always improving our advertising.

On the principle of “people first,” Goldman wrote that Facebook aims to make ads “as relevant and useful” to people as the other posts they see, adding that businesses are helped by this, as well, since people will most likely not respond to “irrelevant or annoying” ads. He said the social network’s auction system prioritizes ads that are most relevant to users over how much money the company will make.

Goldman also stressed that personal information including names, Facebook posts, email addresses and phone numbers are never sold to anyone, with the information only being used by the social network itself to serve “relevant and useful” ads.

He also reminded Facebook users that they can click on the upper-right-hand corner of ads to hide ads they don’t like or block specific advertisers, and clicking on “Why am I seeing this?” gives people information on why they were shown specific ads, as well as a way to access their Ad Preferences, where they can manage interests and information to ensure that they see more relevant ads.

Goldman repeated the social network’s announcement in October that it is building an ads transparency feature that will enable people to visit any page and see ads being run by that brand.

He stressed recent efforts by Facebook to tighten its advertising policies to eliminate discriminatory ads, writing, “We don’t want advertising to be used for hate or discrimination, and our policies reflect that. We review many ads proactively using automated and manual tools and reactively when people hide, block or mark ads as offensive. When we review an ad, we look at its content, targeting, landing page and the identity of the advertiser. We may not always get it right, but our goal is to prevent and remove content that violates our policies without censoring public discourse.”

Goldman also touched on small and midsized businesses having access to the same advertising tools that were previously available only to larger companies.

He concluded, “We’re always making improvements and investing in what works. As people’s behaviors change, we’ll continue listening to feedback to improve the ads people see on our service. For instance, when people shifted to mobile, we did, too. We know our work isn’t done by any means, which means we’ll often introduce, test and update certain features like ad formats, metrics and ad controls.”

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.