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.

Instagram Introduces New Stories Feature

Instagram made waves in the social media and digital marketing worlds this week as they announced the launch of Instagram Stories. The new feature allows users to share multiple photos and videos in a slideshow format. With Stories, Instagram users have expanded opportunities for creativity, as text overlay and drawing tools are included.

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom provides an alternative perspective. He explains, “we need to have a place where you feel free to post whatever you want without the nagging fear of, did someone like that or not?”

Stories add value to Instagram personal users and brands alike, giving them an opportunity to share content that is more fun, raw, casual and ultimately authentic, in contrast to the posed and filtered images that had been the norm.

Since the announcement, a number of digital talking heads have been quick to “throw shade” at Instagram’s new feature for its likeness to Snapchat with some taking the position that Instagram copied Snapchat altogether. Instagram head of product, Kevin Weil told Buzzfeed that many platforms adopt and adapt features from other platforms. Examples include Facebook’s newsfeed structure being replicated on LinkedIn and how Twitter’s hashtag functionality has spread to a number of different platforms.

So what does this mean for the realm of digital marketing? Does this mark the beginning of the end for Snapchat? Social Media uber-expert Gary Vaynerchuk said “Anybody who thinks this is going to kill Snapchat is completely out of their mind. It’s a “no chance” statement. Sure, this update will affect Snapchat, but it won’t be the end of it.” He goes on to explain, and we agree, that while behaviors around Instagram and Snapchat may change, Snapchat’s established market share, product niche and ability to scale will continue to drive growth. DJ Khaled won’t be abandoning his 15 million plus Snapchat followers anytime soon.

We’ll be excited to follow the growth and adoption of Instagram stories over the coming weeks and months, as well as Snapchat to see if they launch any new features to help grow and add value for their loyal user base. If you’ve got any questions about how Charles River Interactive can help you with your Instagram or Snapchat presence, we’re happy to help!

Interested in learning more in social media trends? Read more from our blog, View from the Charles:
Facebook launches Canvas: Mobile Interactive Full Screen Ads

10 Tips for Effective Content Marketing on Twitter

Facebook launches Canvas: Mobile Interactive Full Screen Ads

Facebook’s newest mobile ad creation is Canvas, which debuted at the Cannes Lions advertising festival in France, had a brief beta period and was recently made available to all Facebook advertisers using Power Editor.

With Facebook Canvas, advertisers are able to provide users with a full screen interactive rich media ad experience that lives within the Facebook app.

How It Works

Facebook Canvas ads exist only within Facebook’s popular mobile app.

Canvas ads appear to users as normal sponsored posts in their news feed. When users click on a Canvas sponsored posts, it expands, taking over the users’ full screen, immersing them into the rich content.

According to Facebook “You can easily build your Canvas using a combination of videos, still images and call-to-action buttons. In Canvas, people can swipe through a carousel of images, tilt-to-view panoramic images and zoom in to view images in detail.”

Initial Results

Canvas’ beta release was limited to well-known global brands including Carnival Cruise Lines, Wendy’s, Target, BMW and Macy’s.

In their first Canvas campaign, Carnival Cruise Lines targeted a broad audience of newcomers to cruising. TechCrunch provided some initial overall metrics, reporting that “53% of users that open a Canvas, view at least half of it, and the average view time is a stunning 31 seconds. The top Canvas ads can see more than 70 seconds of view time per user.”

Digiday reported that “Carnival said that 50 percent of people who opened the ad scrolled through until the end. Also, the average time spent with the ad was between 135 seconds and 174 seconds, longer than the ad’s running time of two minutes.”

Wendy’s Deconstructed Cheeseburger Canvas ad let people scroll, swipe, and see GIFs of different ingredients received 65 seconds of average view time. 2.9% of viewers even got all the way to the bottom and used the Wendy’s restaurant locator.

Why We Love It

  1. Increase Brand Awareness: For branding and awareness campaigns attention and engagement are top priorities. Facebook Canvas gives companies and brands the ability to create an immersive experience that grabs 100% of a user’s attention. The level of engagement driven by Canvas ads is unparalleled across social media platforms.
  2. Enhanced Mobile Experience: Facebook Canvas ads are designed for and run exclusively on mobile, so it only makes sense that the Canvas ads are fast to load and are very user friendly.
  3. Standard Advertising rates apply: Facebook Canvas ads run as sponsored post ads and there are no additional costs associated to run them. Advertisers will be able to use the same pricing and bidding models available for standard Facebook ads.
  4. Content Marketing Opportunities: With all the hype around content marketing, Canvas ads are like delivering small websites to your consumer’s thumbs. Great content nudges consumers closer to conversion goals.
  5. Higher Engagement: With Canvas’ advanced visual features you can create an immersive storytelling experience, translating into long consumer engagement and higher conversion rates.
  6. Ecommerce made easy: With Canvas you can add more details, including full product catalogs and even Buy Now CTAs.

Interested in learning more, contact your Charles River Interactive Account Manager, or check out Facebook’s official site for Canvas.

Interested in learning more in social media trends? Read more from our blog, View from the Charles:
The Rise of Mobile Chat Apps
Facebook & Twitter Unleash New, Exciting Features

10 Tips for Effective Content Marketing on Twitter

Co-authored by Nancy Stewart

We reported last month on big developments with Twitter (#RIPTwitter: The Future of Twitter and Your Brand) and how they could change the content marketing landscape.

Our conclusion? There’s a lot of opportunity here for smart marketers – despite the critics who fear any change to the Twitter algorithm. The rules are still the same: Really compelling, targeted, organic content is your best bet for attracting followers, building engagement and achieving conversions.

Where do you start? We’ve compiled our top 10 Twitter tips (with a bonus tip) to help you develop a smart strategy.

How to Use Twitter for Your Brand

If you want Twitter to be a successful tool for your business, you need to have a plan before you start tweeting away.

Even the most eloquently-crafted 140-character posts will not attract followers and achieve real results on their own. Creating and implementing a smart content strategy will go a long way to keep your Twitter account focused on your business objectives and directed at your target audience.

  1. Lay out your goals: You’ll have more success creating effective tweets if you know why you are tweeting. Your posts should support your business goals for using Twitter. Start by answering a basic question: What are you trying to do? The answer may be build brand awareness, promote thought leadership or generate leads. Make sure your content supports those goals.
  2. Target your audience: Before posting any tweet, ask yourself: “What information does my target audience want and do they care about this message?” It’s a good idea to tweet about topics you’ve seen resonate with your followers in the past. These easy tricks can help you acquire a more targeted following.
  3. Find your voice: Central to building a brand presence on any social media platform is having a personality. How do you want followers to perceive your brand? Are you fun, creative, humorous? You convey that personality by picking the best voice and tone and staying consistent.
  4. Get creative with #hashtags: You’ve seen them, but do you know to use them? Hashtags are keywords or phrases that help your posts reach the right people. Research the most popular hashtags related to your industry. Once you’re established on Twitter, you can even create your own hashtags.
  5. Use visuals: Stop thinking about Twitter as a space that only allows text. Uploading images, GIFs and videos help your posts stand out and increase engagement significantly.
  6. Develop an editorial calendar: Feeling overwhelmed with the need to post to Twitter, Facebook, your blog and so on? Editorial calendars help you get organized and post regularly on a schedule, so you don’t fall behind.
  7. Be interactive: By nature, social media isn’t supposed to be a one-way conversation. Make sure you are giving back to your followers by responding to them, re-tweeting them, etc. If you tweet content from other sources (besides your own blog), be sure to mention and tag authors and publications.
  8. Engage with influencers: Identify a list of reputable individuals or businesses with a particular expertise that’s relevant to your brand. When an opportunity arises to reply or retweet, take it! You can also keep an eye on what the industry experts are tweeting and mention them in tweets you feel they’d be interested in.
  9. Include a clear call to action: The best way to achieve a direct response is to be explicit. If you have only 140 characters, don’t be coy or shy. “Read more at our blog” or “Visit our online store” are effective approaches when you pair them with a compelling reason why: “Get ready for summer. We’re offering 20 percent off all sandals today. Visit our online store.”
  10. Be brief: This one goes without saying, since the hallmark of Twitter since its launch was the 140-character-limit. You may feel the squeeze to stay within those boundaries, but know this: Shorter Tweets – 140 characters or less – get more conversions. That’s according to Twitter’s own best practices guide.

And a bonus 11th tip:

Pay to promote your Tweets: Even a small investment in paid social can help drive traffic. Promote tweets with high engagement rates to extend your reach and continue providing your target audience with particularly engaging content.

Interested in learning more about social media and paid search trends? Read more from our blog, View from the Charles:

How To Use Snapchat For Your Brand

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