Hey, I’m not sure if you’ve heard yet, but the world is going through a bit of a bummer right now, what with the global pandemic and all… and although I’m sure you’ve read a gazillion blog posts about COVID-19 and how business are adjusting to COVID-19 and how employees are adjusting to COVID-19 and literally almost everything else you can imagine. One thing that I think might be useful to discuss is how the social networks reacted to it… more specifically the advertising on those networks.
As you already know, business was not as usual for quite a bit of time, in fact as of writing this blog post, things are still not quite business as usual. While it’s probably likely that ad spend will be affected due to increased online, what is less predictable is what the social networks will decide to moderate heavily and what they choose to leave.
For example, when masks became a necessity for every American, you would imagine the ad networks would get flooded with masks immediately, so Facebook stepped in and banned the advertising of all masks, along with hand sanitizer. However, there were still ways to get around it with clever word choice, and very specific copy and creative. Nobody could have predicted this response and it absolutely affected every company that was advertising on the platform, especially those that sell items that are even closely related to masks or hand sanitizer.
Then on June 10, Facebook published an announcement that it's now allowing advertisers with at least 120 days of advertising history to run ads for non-medical face masks. Facebook says "many health authorities now advise wearing non-medical masks," masks have become a requirement to enter many stores, and that they have seen many businesses start making masks to fulfill the need. However, advertisements for any medical grade masks are strictly prohibited by Facebook for the time being.
Although we still don’t quite have a definitive version of what that looks like, and although hand sanitizer is starting to be advertised again on Facebook, the way in which all of this is moderated changes day by day. For some of our clients, we are having to constantly stay vigilant as far as the new rules, and new definitions put forth by these networks so that we aren’t left in the dust in case a previously limited advertising channel opens, and we are sleep at the wheel.
The lesson I am hoping you take away from this article is the fact that when a global crisis occurs, or any crisis, keep an eye on how the social networks are adjusting and limiting the market so that people don’t take advantage of a vulnerability. These rules and regulations can change at the drop of a hat, and staying informed on what is and isn’t kosher to advertise, might just give you the leg up you need to get ahead, and stay ahead of your competitors.