Rock the Block: Protecting Your Brand in the Era of Network Advertising

In 1984, as Ronald Reagan was stumping for re-election, he was moved by the rousing call of a current radio hit. Missing the point completely, his campaign reached out to Bruce Springsteen to ask about using Born in the USA at Republican rallies. Bruce said no way. The ‘trickle-down’ politician was just not in line with Bruce’s workingman brand.As a business that advertises on Facebook and its Audience Network, you have the same right and responsibility (as Bruce effin’ Springsteen!) to cultivate your brand and protect it from associations with a website or content that just doesn’t jive with what you’re after.

Fortunately, Facebook’s Business Manager lets you easily exercise that right.

You can throw out a blanket ban against undesirable content right from Ads Manager. Don’t want your ads for luxury vacations to appear alongside stories of war torn cities? Yeah, might play poorly. So, when you create your ad set, under the Placements heading, find Advanced Options. Here with a check of a box, you can opt your ads out of appearing alongside any or all of five content categories: Dating, Gambling, Mature, Tragedy and Conflict, and Debatable Social Issues. This of course will require some trust in Facebook to decide what all this covers. And by Facebook’s own admission, it still isn’t 100% effective.

Content blocking also limits your reach—in a way that’s somewhat out of your control—so it’s worth a thought or two before you proceed.

You can take a more hands-on approach if you’re looking to keep your ads off of specific websites and apps outside of Facebook but inside its Audience Network. To do this you’ll create a Block List by uploading a text file (.txt or .csv) in Business Manager that can contain up to 10,000 website domains and app store URLs you want nothing to do with. This will take some time, and requires regular maintenance, but it will help you avoid those angry tweets from customers accusing you of sleeping with the enemy—whoever the enemy is. For step-by-step instructions, click here.

Facebook advertising’s wide net can be a great tool for business, but it can come with some peril if you’re not careful. Remember, when it comes to how you represent your image to the world, ultimately, you’re The Boss.