Tiger Pistol Cares: Fall Community Volunteering at the Food Bank

Recently, we took part in volunteer days at the Central Texas Food Bank and the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. These two food banks combined provide nearly 100 million nutritious meals to those in need.  

Our team worked together packing school lunches, sorting vegetables, and sorting and stacking milk into crates. We learned about the food banks’ reach, gaining a greater understanding of how hunger affects the communities where we live and work.  

“It was great to make a real hands-on impact on our local community,” said Bob Govia, Director, Product. “We took the time to learn more about the issue of hunger and the impact on communities and education, and then we had the privilege of packing lunches for kids in need in Cleveland.” 

“Being able to give back as an organization is one of the reasons I love working at Tiger Pistol,” said Ashley Gutierrez, Talent & Operations Manager. “We not only care about our people internally but our surrounding communities.”

Learning about the extensive community partnerships the food banks require to achieve their mission gave us humbling insight into the fight against hunger. The day of volunteering also gave us time to learn more about each other and our personal values.

Alex Serrano, Marketing Services Specialist, said, “It was extremely rewarding to see Tiger Pistol come together as a team to lend a helping hand at the Central Texas Food Bank. It really is incredible that just a few hours of volunteering helped create over 9K meals for our neighbors in need!”

“Volunteering at the food bank was a great opportunity to interact and collaborate with my colleagues in a non-work-related setting while also giving back to the community,” said Matt Liszewski, Senior Data Engineer. “It was awesome to be able to put our teamwork skills to use while also contributing to a worthy cause.”

Coming from a family that understands and values community service and the impact it can have, I found our experience at the Central Texas Food Bank immensely gratifying. I know I speak for our whole Tiger Pistol team when I say how proud I am to be part of a team that cares.

If you’re feeling inspired to volunteer at your local food bank, click here to find a location near you.

Revamping Your Strategy and Audiences for the Latest “Safe & Civil” Facebook Advertising Update

Your social advertising strategy and audiences may need a bit of an overhaul to align with updates to Facebook’s “Safe & Civil” Advertising Policies, especially if they fall within particular categories.

Last year, I wrote an analysis of Facebook’s swift changes to Housing, Employment and Credit Opportunities Policy. The Non-Discrimination Policy, as it became know, was born from a complaint issued by The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Part of the social network’s solution was to remove “over 5,000 targeting options to help prevent misuse,” in an effort to keep Facebook advertising “safe and civil” by promoting a positive social advertising atmosphere.

Fast-forward to 2019, Facebook announced that one of their “top priorities is protecting people from discrimination” on their Platform, and as a part of their settlement with the groups that filed lawsuits against them, they would be enacting changes to protect Facebook users. These amendments include:

  • Changes to geolocation targeting by the elimination of zip code targeting;
  • Changes to age and gender targeting; and
  • Limited detailed targeting parameters for housing, employment, and credit opportunity campaigns.

By August, the above changes became what is now known as the Special Ad Category. Every US-targeted campaign – yes, campaign – that corresponds to a housing, credit, or employment opportunity must have one of the three categories applied – a major change considering the previous iteration certified compliance for the entire ad account.

Campaign audiences also take a hit. On top of previously announced changes to gender, age, and zip code targeting, users could no longer target by multicultural affinity “or any detailed options describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics In other words, Special Ad Category campaigns are meant to target the broadest audience possible.

You may be wondering “what about my Lookalike and other Custom Audiences?” Those were nixed too. Instead, advertisers can opt for Special Ad Audiences that are built in a similar fashion to previous custom audiences but ignoring age, gender, or zip code.

How do you choose correctly?

Choosing a Special Ad Category is pretty simple. Nine out of ten times if you have an inkling your campaign is going to be flagged, it will be. So, what options can you choose?

In Facebook’s Help Center, you can find a guide to choosing the correct category. The breakdown Facebook provides is as follows:

  • Credit Opportunity: Ads that promote or directly link to a credit opportunity, including but not limited to credit card offers, auto loans, personal or business loan services, mortgage loans, and long-term financing. This also includes brand ads for credit cards that include a specific credit offer.
  • Employment Opportunity: Ads that promote or directly link to an employment opportunity, including, but not limited to, part- or full-time jobs, internships, or professional certification programs. Related ads that fall within this category include promotions for job boards or fairs, aggregation services, or ads detailing perks a company may provide, regardless of a specific job offer.
  • Housing Opportunity or Related Service: Ads that promote or directly link to a housing opportunity or related service, including, but not limited to, listings for the sale or rental of a home or apartment, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, mortgage loans, and home equity or appraisal services.

How can I prepare prior to launch?

Our team at Tiger Pistol can say with certainty that any campaign that falls within this umbrella will require Special Ads certification and likely requires an audience update. To better prepare yourself, make sure:

  • Your audience does not include zip code targeting and targets a minimum of 15-miles (if you target an address or city)
  • Your audience targets Adults 18+
  • Your copy falls within Facebook Policies

If your customer is running a campaign that does fall within one of the three categories, it’s best to launch your campaign with a Special Ads Category applied prior to publishing. This will save you time and a headache resolving errors during the length of your campaign.

If your campaign gets flagged during its flight, first check your ad copy – something in there may have set off the Policy algorithm. An easy example would be “We’re hiring for all positions!” in your body copy, but you haven’t applied Special Ad Category: Employment. If you can say definitively whether or not your customer falls within a housing, employment, or credit opportunity, make sure you’ve applied the appropriate category, then adjust your audience to fall in line with Policy and republish. 

When in doubt, apply a category – it will benefit you and your campaigns in the long run.

Want to make sure your locations or customers ads are within Facebook Policy every time? Contact us today. 

Decision 2020: Changes to Facebook’s Social & Political Ads Process

In the wake of the 2016 US Election, Facebook made drastic changes to its policies regarding Political Ads and the way they would be handled. Among the changes are the Ad Library and the requirement of advertisers to be authorized. In some ways, this may be seen as Facebook’s move to keep Political Ads out of users’ News Feeds and to avoid renewed criticism experienced after the last presidential election.

With the 2020 election season on the horizon, Facebook added further requirements to the policy, asking even more of advertisers for the coming election season. This change also includes a heavy investment in people (read: an increase in policy reviewers) and improving its technology to “proactively identify abuse and help prevent foreign interference.” 

So – where do you start? You can tell a Political Ad from a normal sponsored post by the disclaimer: “Paid for By,” which states who has funded the ads. In a recent update, Facebook stated, “Despite [the] requirements, there are a number of cases where advertisers have attempted to put misleading “Paid for By” disclaimers on their ads.” 

In the wake of this latest round of Political Ad deception, Facebook chose to roll out further updates to the Political Ads process, requiring Disclaimer Approval and the submission of further information about the organization running the ads.

The good news? Nothing regarding the authorization process on a user-level has changed. “Confirming Your Identity” is still required for any user wanting to run political or social issue-related ads.

The not-so-great news? Your “Paid for By” disclaimer requires an extra bit of work. In addition to providing important business information such as an address, business email, and matching website, one of the following is required:

  1. A Tax-registered organization identification number (i.e. EIN)
  2. A government website domain that matches an email ending in .gov or .mil
  3. A Federal Election Commission (FEC) identification number

For SMBs or local politicians who aren’t credentialed in this way, Facebook does provide two other options when submitting Disclaimers for approval:

  1. Submitting a verifiable phone number, business email, mail-deliverable address, and a business website with a domain that matches the email; or
  2. Submitting no organization-related information. Facebook will not allow the usage of a registered organization name in disclaimers for users who choose this option.

When all is said and done, what does this do for your ads? For options 1-3, an “i” icon will appear in the upper-right corner that states this is a “Confirmed Organization.” For options 4-5, the “i” will instead read “About this ad.”

Ultimately, Facebook wants to provide users with more knowledge about who is influencing them within their social feeds. Facebook further states, “This will allow people to confidently gauge the legitimacy of an organization and quickly raise questions or concerns if they find anything out of the ordinary.

In addition to these five options, Facebook overhauled its list of social issues within the United States, narrowing them down to a set of 10. The original list was “meant to be fluid,” but was a pain point for many users who appealed wrongly flagged ads that were caught in the error net. Facebook says its authorization process will still be enforced, but ads that merely advocate or discuss social issues will not require further authorization –unlike previous iterations of this policy.

For a full list of social issues within your country, click here.

Now, you’re probably asking yourself “how does this apply to me?” If you’re looking to run ads relating to Social Issues or true Political Ads, we suggest budgeting an extra bit of time into your schedule. From experience, Facebook is reviewing every “Paid for By” Disclaimer submitted for legitimacy and will send it back for review if updates are required. The social network has even gone so far as to build a helpful one-sheeter, which can be reviewed here.

If you’re running ads outside of these categories but were flagged for social issues, our best recommendation is to appeal. If you can provide the Facebook Policy Team with legitimate reasons why your ads aren’t of a political or social nature (ie. you’re an electrician who specializes in alternative energy installations). They’re pretty good about reactivating campaigns. Remember, the Tiger Pistol team is always here to help!

Let’s talk about how our team of experts can scale your social advertising campaigns. 

Facebook’s Democracy: “Safe & Civil” Advertising in a Sea of Policy Change

NB: Tiger Pistol does not condone nor promote the utilization of targeting for discriminatory purposes.

Facebook policies exist to keep advertising “safe and civil”, driving the social network’s mission of connecting the world via a positive user experience. But when Facebook continues to make swift, reactive changes based on public outcry, it’s hard to stay in the know of what their policy actually stands for, and what it means for advertisers.

 

Should we be a little frightened?

On a macro level, one could view Facebook as a governing body. Patrolling the millions of active users in the U.S. is a feat in itself; when things go awry, a new policy is encoded and we’re back to being ‘protected’. When Facebook gets slapped with a complaint, a lawsuit, or even brought to court in front of the Senate, they quickly create a new policy or update an existing one, sometimes making it more difficult to advertise. And a trigger-happy Facebook is a little frightening – similar to Trump, Facebook’s reactions and policy changes have been swift, reactive, and garnered the same negative media coverage. Trump gets enough airtime elsewhere, so let’s get back to why we’re here…

 

What changes were made?

The policy changes started to pick up speed after the October 2016 ProPublica report, essentially broadcasting that Facebook enables advertisers to publish campaigns with exclusionary racial targeting parameters, specifically with regards to employment, housing and credit. While Facebook didn’t fully admit wrongdoing in 2016, it firmly stated Facebook would first “automatically disable the use of ethnic affinity marketing for certain types of ads” and carefully scrutinize all ads using “ethnic targeting”. A year later, after second ProPublica reportwent public, Facebook directly responded to an obvious violation of both the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Fair Housing Act of 1968, and rolled out the Non-Discrimination Policy, more fondlyknown as the “Employment, Housing and Credit Opportunities” compliance error.

To be clear, advertisers have always utilized racially-biased inclusionary and exclusionary targeting, that’s nothing new – even Facebook’s Head of Multicultural tried to make a case. But this wasn’t right because it was Facebook, and users weren’t happy. All of a sudden, Facebook Ads were not “safe and civil.”

The policy has had a few iterations, with the most recent change appearing quite abruptly in August this year. Facebook decided to remove “over 5,000 targeting options to help prevent misuse.” Again, keeping their advertising “safe and civil” by promoting a positive advertising atmosphere. I guess that’s what happens when HUD files a complaint against you.

 

How do the changes play out for advertisers?

In their April 2018 statement, Facebook specifically states, “a business’s success depends on finding the right customers.” How is an advertiser to be successful if they can’t find or target their potential or existing customers because of a policy that now prohibits them to do so?

Hopefully our example below provides some helpful insight into how the policy changes may impact your advertising, and what you can do to still drive meaningful results from Facebook.

  • You’re a Latina realtor searching for potential new clients and want to launch a campaign in Spanish to speak to directly to your target audience. Your selected audience is to target Spanish and potentially English-speaking Latinos in your area (parameter: Hispanics – US (All)) and you’re all set. Campaign: published.
  • Bad news: your campaign will be immediately disapproved. Under the Non-Discrimination Policy, your vertical falls under “Housing” and is not acceptable under the new rules.
  • Good Decent news: You can still target by Spanish-language, albeit narrowing your audience and decreasing your potential reach, but still allowing you to publish your ad and be seen by some, not all, of your target audience.

While the changes are certainly designed to protect users against discrimination, has Facebook actually done a disservice to businesses that rely on cultural affinity targeting to get in front of prospects? Thankfully, Tiger Pistol is here for our customers and can navigate those tricky waters. Our team is dedicated to learning, adapting and strategizing our client campaigns following every new policy change. We’re here to help!

 

Analissa Moreno is the resident bilingual Social Specialist for the Managed Services team in Austin, TX. She fulfills for Tiger Pistol in English and in Spanish.

Coming Soon: The Power of The Pixel by Chris Mayer.