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Good intel is invaluable

How much are you willing to spend to get your message in front of the right audiences? Ever wonder what your competition is spending on social media?

For the past year, Facebook Ad Library has provided a comprehensive, keyword-searchable database of spending on all ads related to politics and issues of national importance that run on Facebook Products, including Instagram, providing transparency for political elections, and going back seven years.

In mid-May 2019, Facebook will expand its report to include topics outside of politics, providing advertising spend amounts and data on the number of library assets for all content, including who paid for the ad, updated weekly. Also, Facebook will give users with the ability to search by Page, not just by keyword.

Time to come clean

The 2016 presidential election underscored the power of social media as a vehicle for political opinions and voices, exposing its vulnerability to be hijacked even by foreign interests. As it is very uncomfortable to be summoned before Congress, Facebook chose to minimize the possibility of having to testify on a regular basis by coming clean with its valuable intel.

The timing also coincided with the need to adhere to the EU’s GDPR regulations, so Facebook cleaned up its act in several areas, and then went one step further. And now, rather than weekly, Facebook will update its political report daily.

Claiming that it is “shining a brighter light on advertising and Pages on Facebook,” to make itself and its advertisers “more accountable,” the social media giant noted that this is part of its new authenticity and transparency stance.

Data guides strategy

As marketers, we’re accustomed to digging deep into the data before we begin to plot a sensible strategy. In fact, the more data, the better. So this new Facebook posture is welcome, as it gives us a lot of powerful information for:

  • Competitive budget comparisons
  • Messaging reach efficiency
  • Guidance for keyword A/B testing

Also, by clicking on “See Details,” we can see the following about a competitive ad campaign:

  • Active or inactive
  • Approved or disapproved
  • Number (range) of impressions received
  • Amount spent
  • Demographic information
  • Locations where the ad was viewed

So … spill! Who’s spending what?

Well, color me shocked. Over the past year, Beto O’Rourke outspent Donald J. Trump by a considerable margin, and spent twice as much on  Instagram as on Facebook advertising. After announcing his candidacy, Joe Biden now comfortably holds the top spot for a single week.

None of this is surprising. We’ve long heard amazingly high numbers thrown around during discussions of political campaign spending. It’s just entertaining to see how much.

And now, with this broader transparency, we can all get in on the fun and do some real budget tweaking after learning what the competition is spending outside of the political arena. Let the games begin!