The social media platforms are constantly working on providing users with new options these days, so they can have a better understanding of why they’re seeing specific ads, and who is sponsoring these ads. Ever since political interference on the social media platforms began becoming a significant issue, many of the platforms have taken it upon themselves to provide users with more information and more tools, so they can have a greater awareness of the how and the why of advertising.
In addition to helping users realize why they see certain ads and who is running those ads, users can also find out about other campaigns which specific companies happen to be running. At first it was primarily Facebook which was carrying the torch in this area, and that’s because Facebook was accused the most strongly of permitting this kind of political interference on its platform.
Especially in the wake of the past presidential election, more and more political groups have been making use of the social media platforms to try and influence voters, and to sway their opinions. After first using Facebook to get their message across, these political groups then branched out into LinkedIn and Pinterest, so it was only natural that those platforms also take steps to protect their users. One of the newest tools provided by LinkedIn to increase user understanding of the source of specific ads is the Ad Transparency tab, which is very similar to the same tool implemented by Facebook some time ago.
Ad Transparency tab
LinkedIn has positioned its Ad Transparency tab on the company pages, and it will offer insights into all of the advertising which any specific company has run on the platform during the last six months. Members will be able to use this new Ad Transparency tab to inspect all sponsored content, which amounts to the native ads that run daily in the news feed provided by LinkedIn, over the preceding period of a half year.
Although members will be allowed to click on those ads, sponsors will not be charged for this type of user engagement, and the clicks themselves will not count toward any kind of campaign metrics. You might not think that LinkedIn would be a target of such politically motivated groups, and that it would be spared the same kind of interference which plagued Facebook, following the most recent presidential election.
However LinkedIn has already been forced to remove several of these groups, and has disqualified them from further activity on its platform. This fact alone should be a clear indication of the platform’s commitment to keeping its network policed up and beyond the reach of political groups. In fact, late last year LinkedIn was obliged to remove a whole slew of accounts which had been making use of fake profiles, for the purpose of networking with various members of established political groups within this country.
Prevalence of political ads
LinkedIn has also completely banned all political ads as of last year, in the wake of its detection of increased foreign activity on the platform. While the network itself has not commented publicly about this kind of political meddling, it was noted by Newsweek that LinkedIn has been the target of Russian trolling and propaganda campaigns, and that these were widely applied on the social media platform following the last election.
It’s easy to understand why such foreign interference was undertaken, given the fact that engagement on LinkedIn has already achieved record levels, and hordes of new users are starting accounts every day of the week. With this kind of built-in audience, it was only natural that some of the more politically motivated groups would attempt to use the platform to get their messages seen.
This new Ad Transparency tab will have a major impact on business usage on the platform, especially for social media marketers. These individuals will now be able to have much more information about what the competition is up to on LinkedIn, and how ads are being used on the social media platform.
Marketers will now be able to examine a full listing of ads being run by any particular company, and they’ll have a much better idea of the strategies being implemented by those companies to target their audience of users. Having this wealth of knowledge available to you can be like solid gold when you’re trying to plan out your own advertising and marketing campaigns.
LinkedIn’s direction on ad transparency
According to LinkedIn, this latest tool which it is offering is only one more step in the direction it has already embarked upon to provide greater transparency for users of its network. With a full understanding of the political implications which are possible, and which seem to have surrounded the 2016 election, LinkedIn is following Facebook’s lead in providing as many options and tools as possible to help users understand advertising sources.
LinkedIn also recently provided users with new ad settings that everyone can access from their account, and which can help to manage the kinds of ads they see. In one of the few comments that LinkedIn has made on this subject publicly, it has announced that the Ad Transparency tab is only the first of many planned updates. Future updates will also revolve around ad transparency and allowing users to know exactly why they’re seeing what they’re seeing, and where it came from.
They will then have the opportunity to block these type of ads, or to limit the number of ads they are seeing. This means we can all expect a continuing effort on the part of LinkedIn to offer greater insights into ad sourcing, so that users of the platform will not be bombarded by propaganda and political messaging. It is expected that the new Ad Transparency tab will be rolling out to users all around the globe over the course of the next several weeks. Don’t expect this to be the last of the new features regarding ad transparency though, as the platform has promised many more to come.