Running Political, Election, and Social Issue Facebook Ads. What to Expect.

This is the third and final chapter of our dive into Facebook’s restricted topics advertising. So far, we’ve covered what Facebook’s Politician, Election, and Social Issue Advertising Policy is and how to complete Facebook’s authorization process. Once you identify an ad as falling under this policy, a few things will happen. Manly, the ad will look a little different from non-policy ads in Facebook and Instagram. In the image below, we call out these differences in yellow:

Now, let’s compare that ad to one that does not reference social issues, elections, or politics. Can you see the distinct differences in appearance?

Non-policy ads do not need to 1.) identify who is paying for their ads, 2.) have the extra “non affiliated with Facebook” copy, or 3.) have the information icon on top of their creative. **Note that advertising information including why a user is seeing a particular ad is still visual in the drop down of the see more icon (…) in the top right corner.

What actually topics count as Political, Social Issues, or Election Facebook Ads?

The answer depends on the country you are advertising in. Facebook is a global company and intends for this policy to fit each particular cultural and political climate where an ad will be served. As a result, there are different requirements for different countries. Below we list just a few.

For the United States, which has the largest list so far, affected topics (as of today) include, but are not limited to:

  • Abortion
  • Civil rights
  • Crime
  • Energy
  • Guns
  • Health
  • Social security
  • Terrorism
  • Values

In the European Union, the affected topics (as of today) include, but are not limited to:

  • Immigration
  • Political values
  • Security and foreign policy
  • Environmental politics

Your best bet is to bookmark this Facebook Help Center page to keep track of the latest updates. The actual list and how Facebook decides to interpret each category will continue to evolve. It’s best to think about how your content may or may not fall into these categories. As we discussed in our last post, the authorization process takes some time. Better to be prepared than to not be able to run an ad when you want to.

Some last minute notes about running Social Issues-, Politics-, or Election-based Ads on the Facebook Network

  1. Currently, these ad authorizations can only be set up from a computer. So, if you are using Facebook’s Mobile Ads Manager App, you will need to sign back in to a computer to mark your ads.
  2. These types of ads are not currently allowed to run on the WhatsApp, Messenger and Audience Network placements. Even if you select these placements in your targeting, they will not show.
  3. Facebook’s machine learning is ever-evolving. If the machine or human reviewers determine that an ad’s content is related to social issues, politics, or elections, they will disapprove your ad. If you are already approved to run these types of ads, it is usually a simple matter of going in and clicking the declaration button at the ad level. If you are not, you will need to edit the ad to try and pass the test.
  4. Even ads that were previously approved may be disapproved by this policy in future campaign reviews.
  5. Any ads about social issues, elections or politics that target the U.S. will be eligible to be added to the Ad Library, even if the advertiser who created them doesn’t reside in the U.S., and/or hasn’t completed the ad authorization process. The Ad Library includes all active ads that are currently running, ads that have stopped running, ads that an advertiser deleted and ads that were active before being disapproved due to policy violations. For those of you looking to do a little research, the Ads Library can be a great place to find out what competitors are doing.

In Summary

The digital marketing world is always changing, and the Facebook platform is no different. As new technology develops, there will always be people who find a way to use it for good and others for bad. New Facebook policies like this content disclaimer will ultimately help the general public understand how and by whom messages are being paid for and delivered. Advertisers in the platform who present themselves honestly and think of marketing with a user-first mindset will continue to excel.

Having a great partner can make all the difference. Let Charles River Interactive help you with your digital marketing strategy. Reach out to us at to start a conversation.

Running Social Issues, Politics, or Elections Ads on Facebook: Step-by-Step Authorization Guide

Facebook’s advertising policy is always changing. Where before, ad content discussing only political topics and then election-related topics were restricted, now broader items considered to be social issues may also require special permission to run. And the updates are not over yet as Facebook is consistently updating the policy. Last week, we shared some of the history of the policy and how to work within it. Today, we’re sharing the authorization steps you need to follow to run these ads.

How do I get authorized to run Facebook Network Ads about Social Issues, Politics, or Elections?

Overall, this a multi-step, but fairly straightforward process. Remember, when you are looking for an agency to help run your advertisements on the Facebook Network—which includes Messenger, Instagram, WhatsApp, and more—to make sure they are authorized to run these types of ads on your behalf (as is Charles River Interactive). The process is slightly different for each country. In this post, we will focus on the United States.

Below are the steps you will need to take for your Facebook Page to be allowed to run ads related to political, election-based, or identified social issues (like healthcare and cyber security) on Facebook.

  • Page admins and ad account admins must submit a government-issued ID and provide a residential mailing address (to which the verification code will be mailed)
    • This verification process will come via a letter with a unique access code that only that individual can use.
  • As we approach the 2020 U.S. Election Season, Facebook has increased the information required by organizations. Advertisers will have five options for providing more information, three of which rely on US government resources. Advertisers who complete one of these three options and provide a U.S. street address, phone number, business email, and website will receive a “Confirmed Organization” icon that will appear on all of their social issue, electoral and political ads:
    • Option #1: Tax-registered organization identification number (ie. EIN)
    • Option #2: A government email domain (.gov or .mil) and a similar website domain
    • Option #3: Federal Election Commission (FEC) identification number
  • Advertisers who may not have those credentials, such as smaller businesses or local politicians, will still be able to run ads about social issues, elections or politics. Those advertisers will have two options for creating new disclaimers and their “i” icon will read “About this ad” instead of “Confirmed Organization”:
    • Option #4: Submit a different organization name, along with a US street address, phone number, email, and website that matches the email
    • Option #5: Use the Page admin’s legal name, as it appears on their valid government-issued ID (For this option, the advertiser will not be able to use an organization name in disclaimers)

There are a few requirements for each individual user be able to complete the process for your organization. You must:

  • Be a Page admin on the page the ads will be running on
    • In addition to the Page admin who’s creating the disclaimers, any person creating, modifying, publishing or pausing ads about social issues, elections or politics will need to have their identity confirmed through this process.
    • If you are not a Page admin and need to undergo this process, leave a comment and we will be happy to help

And finally, here are the actual steps you’ll follow to complete the process:

  1. Confirm your identity
    • In Facebook, click on settings for your Facebook Page (either on the page itself or through Business Manager, if you have one set up)
    • Under Settings, click Authorizations
    • Update the Where Do You Live section
    • Under Step 1: Confirm Your Identity, click Get Started
    • Click Get Started again
    • Set-up two-factor authentication
    • Under Your Primary Country Location, click Confirm Primary Location
    • Update the Enter Mailing Address section with your information and click Send
      • This will trigger a letter to be sent to your home with your personal verification code.
    • Select the type of identification you would like to use (US driver’s license, US state ID card or US passport for those in The States) and click Next
    • Now you will need to upload images of your identification in either a JPEG or PNG file (at least 1,500×1,000 pixels)
      • Don’t worry if your address on the document is different than the mailing address you give, right now Facebook doesn’t care
    •  Click Next after your image is uploaded. Approval or denial of your ID should be processed quickly
    • Answer a few questions and click Next
    • You are all done, click Finish and wait for your verification code to come in the mail (this usually takes around 3-7 business days)
    • Once your verification letter arrives:
      • Visit the URL provided in the letter
      • Enter your code under Confirm Your Identity
      • Click Submit Code and you should be done
  2. Link your ad accounts (each ad account needs to be linked to your Page and a disclaimer must be entered for each one)
    • In Facebook, click on settings for your Facebook Page (either on the page itself or through Business Manager, if you have one set up)
    • Under Settings, click Authorizations
    • In Step 2: Link Your Ad Accounts, click Begin
    • Accept Facebook’s Terms and Conditions by clicking Accept
    • Select the ad accounts that you want your Page to pay for social issue, elections or political ads for from the list provided. You should see any ad account for which you are an ad account advertiser or admin in the list.
    • Create a disclaimer for each ad account added that includes who paid for this ad (example: choose either Charles River Interactive or Rita Business Kulis depending on who is paying for the ads)
      • These disclaimers must accurately reflect who is paying for an ad. In my case, I might build and run ads, but my company is probably paying for them so CRI should be listed, not me as an individual)
    • Review changes and click Submit
  3. Authorize your Instagram account
    • In Facebook, click on settings for your Facebook Page (either on the page itself or through Business Manager if you have one set up)
    • Under Settings, click Authorizations
    • Step 3 is Authorize Your Instagram Account (this is Optional). Click Begin
    • Check Review this Instagram Name – if your two accounts have different naming conventions, you will have to explain why.
    • Click Submit, reviews are usually completed within 24 hours
  4. Create Ads
    • Complete as you would normally, with the only added step being that you must click the ad disclaimer during ad development
    • Note: everything must match the country where your authorization is certified (US authorization = USD currency, etc.)

Yes, the process seems overwhelming, but it is easier than it looks. In total, you can expect it will take about two weeks from when you submit your information until your approval codes arrive in the mail.

When you are running ads in Facebook and other social platforms, it is helpful to have a seasoned agency in your corner. Reach out to our team at to learn more.

Understanding and Working with Facebook’s Updated Political, Election, and Social Issue Ad Policy

Understanding and Working with Facebook’s Updated Political, Election, and Social Issue Ad Policy

Facebook. It’s one of the most popular websites and communities in the world, making it a great platform for advertising. With many people getting their news directly from the platform, Facebook has introduced policies to make clear when information is a paid promotion, and in some cases, who is paying for it. This is most commonly seen in its Political, Election, and Social Issue advertising policy.

I hear you asking yourself: I’m not a political brand. Why does this matter to me? Well, my friend, read on and find out.

Facebook’s advertising policy requires an extra layer of security for accounts that advertise what Facebook deems to be issues related to politics. But political content is not the only thing requiring additional authorization these days. Facebook has recently updated its restrictions to include social issues. Where before, ad content discussing only political topics, and then election-related topics were flagged, the list now includes broader items including healthcare and security. And the updates are not over yet. Facebook is updating this list regularly so topics included under these political or social issue categories will continue to change.

For those looking to advertise on the platform, these changes mean managing a regularly changing landscape as these classified topics rise and fall quickly. That’s why it is helpful to have a seasoned agency team in your corner, helping you navigate these changing tides. If you’re looking for help with your digital marketing strategy, be it advertising in Facebook or other digital marketing initiatives, reach out to our team at We’d be happy to help.

Why did Facebook change its political advertising policies?

The roots of the change stretch back a number of years, but are most famously tied to the lead up to the 2016 US Presidential Election. By introducing increased transparency into the behind-the-scenes workings of their advertising platform, Facebook is attempting to distance itself from much of the echo-chamber blowback seen following social and political events like Brexit, the Rohingya crisis, and investigations into Russian interference with U.S. elections in 2016.

The official policy was originally introduced in April 2018, and sought to denote ads related to political topics such as elections or specific pieces of legislation. The policy soon expanded to include topics deemed to be of “National Importance”. Non-profits focused on human rights, international politics, and immigration were some of the first to really feel the impact of this new practice. As political climates and discussions shifted, this categorization extended further, coming to include hot social topics like immunizations and even, as seen in April 2019, the Boston Marathon.

Spring of 2019 marked a turning point in Facebook’s application of this practice. A seemingly ever-increasing number of topics were coming under the policy umbrella that has now been redefined as, “Social issues, elections, or politics”. At CRI, we see these changes impact campaigns and client goals every day. As recently as last week, some of our technology clients’ ads have been reevaluated and flagged based on language around cybersecurity or cyberattacks.

Chatting with our Facebook representatives, we know that these categories of interest are only going to continue to broaden, especially as we enter into the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election cycle.

What can my brand do to make sure our ads can run?

There is a simple answer: get approved to run these types of ads.

While some brands are unlikely to be impacted by this particular set of rules, many others will be. And as Facebook is updating their list regularly, you may not know a topic will be flagged beforehand (such as the above examples of the Boston Marathon or cyberattacks).

Having the ability to react quickly to changes in the Facebook platform will help you ensure your brand can react to current events and be in front of key audiences when topics and conversations are fresh.

Some organizations I have worked with are concerned that, by becoming authorized to run political or social topics ads, they will appear to their audiences as being political when that’s not their business model. Rest assured—being authorized to run these types of ads does not mean you have to run them. There is a simple button that can be toggled to distinguish if the ad has political/social issue material or not right in the ad build within the Facebook Ads Manager platform.

Note: only those authorized to run these ads will see this option in Ads Manager.

The process to set your page up as an approved advertiser of this content requires a number of steps and can seem a bit overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together a handy step-by-step guide to help you check all of the boxes. Click here to read our full guide to becoming authorized to run Social Issues, Politics, or Election-related ads in the Facebook Network.

Google Marketing Innovations – The View from Charles River Interactive

Google Marketing Live is one of the biggest days on the marketing calendar. The event recently came and went and, as per usual, Google announced some huge advancements within their suite of marketing products and platforms. And while artificial intelligence might be some years away from ensuring your fridge “magically” remains stocked through the holidays and that no appointment goes missing from your calendar, it is ready to make a real impact on your marketing efforts as soon as today.

Artificial Intelligence: The Future of Marketing Begins Today

Perhaps no unveiling was more seismic to how we do and will work with our clients than Google’s announcement that they have fully embraced artificial intelligence across their marketing platform.

Automation is here and here to stay! But what exactly does that mean?

The algorithms that govern search engines are becoming smarter. The ability to learn user behavior in turn means that paid search strategies need to account for this newfound and expansive ability to speak to and capture specific, valued audiences. Google has launched some new products in order to help marketers develop these strategies including Responsive Search Ads, Advanced Audience Targeting and Automated Shopping Feeds, as well as some new tools to help marketers optimize and understand the user experience, such as Mobile Landing Page Speed and Cross Device Reporting.

Responsive Search Ads

One of the products announced, Responsive Search Ads, promises to make A/B testing on ad copy a whole lot easier. As a Premier Agency Partner with Google, Charles River Interactive has had early access to this tool across several of our clients’ accounts.

The tool, which is powered by Google’s Machine Learning, is able to incorporate up to 15 headlines and 4 descriptions into an ad set, with Google then taking the option to mix and match headlines and descriptions and automatically test for optimal performance. How convenient! Once a combination has been determined to be the most successful, Google then shows that ad the most.

Advanced Audience Targeting

Have you ever taken a survey on YouTube to skip to the video? That’s Google gathering information about you!

Google has leveraged this data in creating their Advanced Audience Targeting. The data comes from YouTube and other channels and Google has compiled multiple audiences to allow more refined targeting.

CRI is already leveraging this tool across several accounts. We are able to observe multiple and diverse audiences and assess the topics and content that best lead to conversions. As data accrues, we also are able to credit a specific audience with a higher conversion rate, and to make bid adjustments accordingly—for instance, by exceeding our maximum bid for a specific audience because we know the audience will convert at a high rate.

Automated Shopping Feeds

Scheduled to launch later this year, Automated Shopping Feeds promises to remove a significant barrier to entry into the ecommerce space. It would be hard to argue that brick-and-mortar retail is thriving and, as more people look to begin and complete their shopping solely online, it is more important than ever to have your products available for purchase online.

Automated shopping feeds will rely on Google’s spiders to crawl your ecommerce website. That crawl will allow Google to generate a shopping feed. That is countless labor hours of data entry and management that can be reallocated across your organization, as you will no longer have to manually create and maintain a shopping feed across inventory hiccups or new product roll-outs.

Why CRI is excited: Less time on management means more time to implement better strategies within campaigns, driving a great ROI for our clients.

Smart Shopping Campaigns

Along with automated shopping feeds, Google also introduced Smart Shopping campaigns. These enable marketers to surface the most relevant product to in-market searchers at the precise right time. The machine learning and artificial intelligence underpinnings also make it straightforward to optimize around specific goals, whether revenue, conversion rate, or something else entirely. Within a Smart Shopping campaign, Google will test different combinations of image and text, in addition to automating ad placement and bidding for maximum conversions.

Mobile Landing Page Speed Score

The already-released Mobile Landing Page Speed Score evaluates a single page on your site according to a 10-point scale. Since half of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, this is already beneficial to our web services clients.

The tool highlights available landing page optimizations that will improve pageload speed on a mobile device; for many clients, we are able to immediately implement these optimizations. Since the tool is updated twice daily, we also receive near-immediate feedback, and can inform our client with little delay if our optimizations are having the expected effect—and not just on pageload speed, but also on KPI’s ranging from engagement metrics to revenue and everything in between.

Cross-Device Reporting

Assessing mobile performance in isolation, and following a user across devices, has been a common issue for many of our clients over the years. That makes the unveiling of cross device reporting through Google Analytics 360 that much more exciting.

Now, it will be that much simpler to follow a user, for instance from their discovery of our site via an organic search on a mobile device to their conversion via a remarketing ad on their desktop. Along with machine-learning driven advancements in attribution modeling, cross-device reporting moves us that much closer to holistically understanding user behavior during the shopping and conversion process.

Google Data Studio: Data Blending

Over the past year and a half, Google has consistently rolled out additional features for its data visualization tool, Google Data Studio. We have already gone over some of the key benefits of this tool and why we believe it is revolutionizing the data visualization game in a previous post.

At the 2018 Marketing Innovations Keynote, however, Google dropped a bomb on us, in the form of Data Studio’s newest feature, called “Data Blending”.

To understand why this update is so important and how to best use this new feature, think back to the difficulties you and your team might have encountered in trying to stack multiple chart elements pulled from different data sources, one on top of another. What once required labor-intensive data pulls and error-prone data manipulation is now accomplished in just a few clicks.

As an example, a client requested Google Search Console impressions, Google Analytics pageviews, and Google Ads clicks in a single chart. Prior to this update, GDS only allowed one data source per visualization, leaving a gap in the story our data was able to tell—or, perhaps an even worse fate, forcing our poor marketing analysts to resort to Excel and other tools to combine data before it could be warehoused in Google Sheets and, from there, brought into a Data Studio visualization.

The only requirement for data blending is that each source have what Google refers to as a “join key”, a term used for dimensions that are shared amongst two or more data sets. In many cases a join key can be a simple dimension—date, channel, user ID, etc. Blending data off of a shared dimension creates the opportunity for more in-depth reporting, including:

  • Contextualizing online performance using offline metrics such as weather, stock market trends, and unemployment rate
  • Comparing goals across multiple Google Analytics properties and views
  • Assessing paid media campaign performance as compared to onsite website performance

One of the most requested features in the brief history of Data Studio just launched and we couldn’t be more excited about the avenues to optimization it will create. This will truly enhance the power of Data Studio, taking the tool to whole new level.

Some closing thoughts

Google AdWords, which is now rebranded as Google Ads, is getting faster, getting smarter, and getting personal. The ability to group users into audiences will provide refined targeting. Digital marketing is shaping the world we live in, and Google’s artificial intelligence is controlling the devices that we use. CRI leverages our team and their deep knowledge of and enthusiasm for the industry to strategize the right mix of digital marketing to make you and your brand successful.

To find out how CRI can work with you, reach out to us!

Acronym Quiz

We’ve all been there before.

You’re talking to your PPC strategist. They’re explaining why conversions on your site increased 10% this month. They just said a sentence. You’re pretty sure it was in English, but you wouldn’t necessarily bet your life on that fact.

Every profession has its own particular vocabulary. For marketers, acronyms are a necessary evil—if we had to take the time to say “Search Engine Optimization”, and not just “SEO”, we’d never have time to do any actual work!

But that introduces a “Lost in Translation” situation, especially when your industry uses the same acronym for different purposes. At Charles River Interactive, we take our role as valued consultants seriously. To that end, we prepared a quick quiz to help ensure we are always on the same page with our clients.

That’s right, it’s quiz time!

Click below to get started. And remember – knowing the vocabulary is only the first step. For some more context about the metrics that are important to you, reach out to us. Let’s have a conversation!


The Power of Integrating Supermetrics with Data Studio

By now most marketers have realized the reporting advantages of Google Data Studio. It offers advanced reporting visualization and an impressive level of customizability to show data in the best way for your visualization needs. Check out our previous blog to learn more about Data Studio.

What is Supermetrics?

Supermetrics is an Application Programming Interface (API), which is a fancy way of saying it’s a software that allows two applications to talk to each other. In this case, Supermetrics allows marketing platforms, like Facebook, to send data directly into Data Studio. No more exporting and manipulating data in Excel or Sheets for reporting!

In most organizations, and in virtually every marketing agency, reporting requires a significant time investment for data exporting and manipulation, often in either Excel or Google Sheets. At Charles River Interactive, we estimate adopting Google Data Studio with the Supermetrics API has saved us over 150 hours of work. That’s more time we get to spend focusing on driving results for our clients.

Why do you need Supermetrics?

A key selling point for Data Studio is the ease of integration with certain marketing platforms—in particular, with Google’s owned properties, including AdWords and Google Analytics. And, while that might account for a fair amount of many companies’ marketing efforts, there is no shortage of ad networks or marketing tools. The Supermetrics API lets you easily bring even more data sources into Data Studio!

Supermetrics allows you to connect non-Google platforms to Data Studio. It has over 30 connectors, including Bing Ads, Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads and more! Within each connector, you are able to blend data from more than one account.

Combine Ad Data and Google Analytics Data

The Ad Data + Google Analytics connector allows you to merge data from different ad networks and Google Analytics. You can combine data from any of the following into one data source; Facebook Ads, Google AdWords, Bing Ads, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Ads, and Google Analytics. There are many useful arrangements of data now possible with this connector!

Pro Tip 1 – Connect Google Analytics to each of the ad networks to see how users from different ad networks behave on your site.

Pro Tip 2 – Merge Google AdWords and Bing Ads data to get a holistic view of PPC performance.

Pro Tip 3 – Connect all your social networks to see your overall social performance and compare performance across platforms effortlessly.

Improved Google connectors

Google Data Studio has 14 Google Connectors, build and supported by Data Studio, including Google Analytics and Google AdWords. Supermetrics provides improved versions of some of these Google Connectors.

The Supermetrics Google Analytics connector allows you to connect as many Google Analytics views and segments as you want, in an easy to use drop-down menu. Data sampling in Analytics is also a problem when reporting on long date ranges or websites with high traffic volume. The Supermetrics Google Analytics connector allows you to avoid sampling by selecting the “try to avoid sampling” option in the data source menu. The connector will partition the data into smaller queries in order to process the data without sampling. Note that when using this feature it may take several minutes to process the data request, as in most cases this is why Google samples the data.

The Supermetrics AdWords connector also allows you to connect more than one account to a single data source—if, for example, you had three different AdWords accounts but you wanted to display the overall performance across all accounts. Another unique feature of this connector is the historical quality score metric.

Historical quality score is one of AdWords’ newer metrics. It reflects how relevant your ad is to the user-specific search query. This connector also pulls in placement metrics for your Display Network campaigns, including Placement URL, Domain, Placement status, Extension type, and Placement destination URL. These metrics are not available in the stock Google connector.

5 Ways Supermetrics will enhance your Data Studio reporting

In Conclusion

You haven’t even cracked the full potential of using Data Studio if you haven’t integrated it with Supermetrics. If this article gets you interested in trying out Supermetrics with Data Studio for your organization, there is a 14-day free trial! There is also a free “hobby” level of access which only allows you to see the last 10 days of data, but that’s enough for you to see firsthand that you’re missing out on the full potential of Data Studio if you haven’t integrated it with Supermetrics.

These five advantages are just the beginning; you can do so much more with Supermetrics for Data Studio. Move your organization away from manual data reporting. Use your time for more productive things!

Now go and enhance your Data Studio reports with Supermetrics!