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Facebook Improves Brand Safety Controls & More Recent News

It’s time for another round-up of the online advertising news, folks. Let’s see what’s been going on recently in the worlds of search, social, and ecommerce.

Facebook makes it easier to control ad placements

If you’re currently running—or have ever run—contextual advertisements, you understand how important it is to have control over the content that’s being associated with your brand. Knowing this, Facebook has introduced an inventory filter for advertisers who are buying placements within Instant Articles, Audience Network, and in-stream video.

If you’re buying contextual ad placements on any of these three platforms, you’ll now have the opportunity to choose one of the following three inventory filter options:

  • Limited inventory gives your business maximum protection. If a piece of content contains material that may be considered sensitive or offensive, your ad won’t show.
  • Standard inventory, the default choice, gives your business a moderate level of protection. Your ad is eligible to show alongside content that some consider offensive.
  • Full inventory gives your business minimal protection. Your ad is eligible to show pretty much everywhere.

Via Facebook.

When deciding which inventory filter option is best for you, you’ll have to do some cost-benefit analysis. If it’s extremely important that your brand stays away from anything that could be considered inappropriate, opting for the limited inventory option and sacrificing some of your reach potential is probably the right call. Alternatively, if you can afford to be associated with mature content, you’re better off going with the full inventory option and reaching more users.

If you want even tighter control over your ad placements, block lists enable you to completely prevent your ads from showing alongside certain publishers’ content. Plus, with transparency controls, you can see where your ads are eligible to show before sending them live.

Bing introduces CTA buttons for text ads

If you’ve been procrastinating the extension of your PPC presence to Bing Ads—something we’ve consistently encouraged over the years—you’ve got a little extra motivation now. As of now, you can include clickable CTA buttons in your text ads.

Officially, the new buttons are called Action Extensions. Bing rolled them out to advertisers earlier this month. Here’s an example:


Via Bing.

As you can see, Action Extensions give you an additional opportunity to encourage your search prospects to click through to your site. So far, they’re pretty damn effective—advertisers who participated in beta testing reported an average increase in CTR of 20%.

You can add Action Extensions to your text ads for no additional charge, and clicks on them will cost you the same amount as clicks on your headlines. And best of all: you can use them in addition to sitelink extensions. No wonder advertisers’ CTRs skyrocketed during the beta period!

You can start adding Action Extensions to your Bing text ads (on both desktop and mobile!) today. In fact, you’ll find dozens of pre-made ones in your account.

Pinterest rolls out automated bidding for conversions

As it prepares to hit the public markets, Pinterest has seen fit to follow in the footsteps of other digital media sellers and roll out an automated bidding solution to its advertisers.

With the new conversion optimization campaign type, you can select specific actions that you’d like your prospects to take: visit your website, sign-up for email promotions, or even make an online purchase. Once you’ve told Pinterest what you want to accomplish with your campaign, simply set a target cost per action (CPA) and let the platform optimize your bids to make your Promoted Pins most visible when a user is likely to convert.


Via cpcstrategy.

If you haven’t already, you’ll have to set up the Pinterest Tag on your ecommerce website. Just like the Facebook Pixel, the Pinterest Tag is a simple piece of code that enables the platform to track what particular users do once they’ve landed on your website. As it collects more data regarding the behavior of your site visitors, the Pinterest algorithm will become better suited to optimize your bids for conversions.

Gravity Blankets, an ecommerce brand that sells weighted blankets to consumers, was one of the Pinterest advertisers involved in the conversion optimization beta. With the new automated solution, they were able to double their sales and cut their CPA by nearly 60%. Elsewhere, liquor subscription club Flaviar used the conversion optimization campaign type to drive a 400% increase in site traffic and an 8x boost in leads.

Conversion optimization is now available to all Pinterest advertisers. Make sure to set up the Pinterest Tag and let the platform collect a substantial amount of data before giving it control of your bids!

Amazon pulls back on private-label ads

Amid growing concerns about anti-competitive behavior, Amazon has reportedly pulled back on the promotion of its private-label products, says CNBC.

As anyone who’s shopped or sold on Amazon knows, the company sells its own branded products alongside those of third-party vendors and sellers. Do a quick search for batteries, for example, and you’ll see the AmazonBasics brand next to listings from Energizer and Duracell. Although the company’s venture into the private-label business hasn’t been the most lucrative—they attribute about 1% of total retail sales to it—Amazon currently boasts well over 100 private-label brands nonetheless.

Private-label offerings are valuable to Amazon because they’re more profitable than third-party products and they enable Amazon to strongarm vendors and sellers into cutting their prices. It should come as no surprise, then, that the company has been pretty aggressive with its promotion of these products.

According to CNBC, Amazon has been reserving highly valuable real estate—the top of search results pages, next to the buy box, etc.—for its own products. By combining that visibility with hard-to-resist prices, Amazon has been making it harder and harding for third-party businesses to move their products.

In recent weeks, however—in coincidence with Sen. Elizabeth Warren vocalizing her plans to break up the biggest companies in tech, including Amazon—the company has substantially pulled back on the promotion of its products. For example, banner ads that used to appear at the top of the search results page are now being seen at the bottom.



If your ecommerce business sells on Amazon, this is certainly good news. Selling on Amazon is expensive and competitive, and a decline in the promotion of Amazon’s private-label products should give you a better chance of winning new customers.

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