Testing Facebook’s Topic Exclusion Controls Rolls Out to More Advertisers

Facebook will soon expand its testing of topic exclusion controls for News Feed ads to a limited number of advertisers who serve ads in English, the company announced Thursday. First announced as a test in January 2021, Topic Exclusion Controls allow advertisers to opt out of ad serving to users who have interacted with any of the following topics: “News & Politics”, “Social Problems” and “Crime and Tragedy”.

Why we care. If these controls are rolled out more broadly, advertisers might feel more confident about brand safety on Facebook. The platform has been at the center of much controversy over its handling of misinformation and hate speech and could fall out of favor, especially with teenage users, who are expected to decline by 45% over the next two years.

Creating a safer environment for the brand can help Facebook maintain ad revenue. But, if it is unable to modernize and compete with newer platforms, like TikTok, advertisers can eventually switch to whatever social media platform their audience is migrating to.

Early tests have been promising, according to Facebook. In Facebook’s early topic exclusion control tests, advertisers were found to:

  • Excluded, the News and Politics categories were able to avoid the News and Politics adjacency 94% of the time.
  • Excluded, Tragedy and Conflict categories were able to avoid the Tragedy and Conflict adjacency 99% of the time.
  • Excluded, Debated Social Issues categories were able to avoid adjacency Debated Social Issues 95% of the time.

More granular feed controls for users. Users can dictate whether they are included in the three topic exclusion categories from their ad preferences menu.

The company is also testing new controls that allow users to adjust their News Feed ranking preferences. Customizations would allow users to increase or decrease the amount of content they see from friends, family, groups, and pages.

To look forward. “We see this product as a bridge between what we can offer today and where we hope to go – content-based controls,” Facebook said in the announcement, “We will soon begin exploring and testing a new content-based suitability checks that aim to address advertisers’ concerns about having their ads appear in Facebook and Instagram feeds alongside certain topics based on their brand suitability preferences.

By the end of the year, the company also plans to work with third-party brand safety partners to develop a solution to check whether content adjacent to a News Feed ad matches suitability preferences. of a brand.


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About the Author

George Nguyen is an editor for Search Engine Land, covering organic search, podcasting and e-commerce. He has a background in journalism and content marketing. Prior to entering the industry, he worked as a radio personality, writer, podcast host, and public school teacher.

Jessica C. Bell