The Beginner's Guide to Google Tag Manager

Collecting data using tools like Google Analytics is critical for expanding your business’s online reach, converting leads into customers, and optimizing a digital marketing strategy to create stronger relationships with your audience.

However, collecting data is easier said than done. Google Analytics and other similar analytics tools aid the process, but they work more effectively with the addition of tags.

Tags, in a general sense, are bits of code you embed in your website’s javascript or HTML to extract certain information.

For marketers, necessary tag information typically includes how long users visit a page on your site, form submissions, how they arrived on your site, which links they clicked, or even what products they removed from their shopping cart.

Each tag tracks something different. For instance, you might create a tag just to see how many people fill out the form on your “Contact Us” page. That tag can then send more precise information to Google Analytics, or AdWords, or another third party.

Unfortunately, manually coding tags can be a tedious and difficult process for marketers without much development or coding experience, and it’s time-consuming to fill out tickets for the IT department.

With Google Tag Manager, your whole tagging process becomes much easier. All you do is embed a code into your site pages once, and then each time you want to create a tag, Google Tag Manager codes it and embeds it for you.

Google Tag Manager does a few things: first, it allows your developers and IT department to focus on bigger-picture tasks by eliminating the burden of coding each individual marketing tag.

Second, since Google Tag Manager codes the tags for you, it significantly reduces the possibility of human error.

And third, Google Tag Manager enables your marketing department to take complete control over the tags they create and monitor. Giving your marketers full reign over their tags increases efficiency. Plus, using tags improves the accuracy of your analytics system, guaranteeing higher-quality reports and a better sense of your true online audience.

With all that said, it’s still a tool you might want to try for yourself before deciding if it’s a perfect fit — perhaps you already have a tagging system in place, or you don’t feel you need that level of organization, since your website doesn’t usually need new tags.

Google Tag Manager is free, so you can try it out virtually risk-free. Here, we’ll show you how to set up an account, how to create a new tag, how to use Google Tag Manager with your Google Analytics account, and how to embed the tool in WordPress.

After that, you can decide for yourself if it’s the right system for your business.

Google Tag Manager Tutorial: Set Up an Account

Setting up a free account is an easy two-step process, but it’s separate from any of your other Google Analytics or Gmail accounts. To ensure a painless set-up for you, we’ve recorded our process for setting up an account.

Here’s what you do:

1. Go to https://www.google.com/analytics/tag-manager and click the green “Sign Up for Free” button. It will ask you to input your account name (company), country, and website URL, as well as where you want to use Google Tag (web, iOS, android, AMP). When you’re finished, click the blue “Create” button.

2. Next, you’ll be given codes and instructions to include one code high in the <head> of your page, and the other after the opening <body> tag. You can do this now, or apply the codes to your site later (they are accessible in your dashboard). Once you’re done, click “Ok”. 

Google Tag Manager Tutorial: Set Up a Tag

Once you have a Google Tag Manager account, the first thing you’re going to want to learn is how to set up a tag.

You can create unlimited configurations of tags in Google Tag Manager.

This is helpful for creating in-depth reports on your audience’s behavior, but it can become inefficient if you don’t organize your tags properly.

Google recommends using the following naming convention: tag type – name of app – detail.

Perhaps you name one tagging configuration, “AdWords conversions – iOS – 2018-02 campaign” and then another, “Google Analytics – CTA – About Us page”.

This way, you can correctly identify and collect data related to specific campaigns or pages.

For instance, the second tag, “Google Analytics – CTA – About Us page,” tells you how well your About Us call-to-action button is performing. That information is valuable, and might be lost if you named your tags more generally, like, “CTA button”.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s check out how to set up a tag:

1. Within your Google Tag Manager dashboard, click the “Add a New Tag” button, circled below in red.

2. Title your tag, and then click anywhere in the top “Tag Configuration” box, to choose a tag type.

3. There are dozens of tag types (they are not all displayed here, and you can also customize a tag type). I chose “Classic Google Analytics”.

 

4. If you want your tag tracked in Google Analytics, the next step will be to input your Web Property ID, found in your Google Analytics account. Then, select a “Track Type”. I chose “Page View”, but there are plenty of other options.

5. Next, choose a trigger (a trigger means when you want the tag recorded, i.e. “every time someone visits the page”). I chose “All Pages”, to get insights every time someone views any of my web pages, but this varies depending on your purposes. 

6. When you’re happy with the information in the “Tag Configuration” and “Triggering” boxes, click the blue “Save” button. 

7. Next, click the blue “Submit” button. Your tag won’t work until you do so.

8. When you click “Submit”, you’ll be taken to this “Submission Configuration” page. There are two options: “Publish and Create Version” or “Create Version”. Since I’m ready to push the tag onto all my site pages, I selected “Publish and Create Version”, and then I pressed the blue “Publish” button in the top right.

9. Finally, you’ll be shown this “Container Version Description”. To keep your tags organized, add a name and description to understand what you’re trying to record with this tag.

10. Ensure your tag appears in your “Version Summary” report.

 

 

Now, you’ve successfully created your first tag.

Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics

If you want to use Google Tag Manager in conjunction with Google Analytics, there are a couple steps you need to take. However, it’s a worthwhile endeavor — embedding tags in your site will increase the precision of your Analytics reports.

First off, you’ll need to remove your GA code from your site pages. You’ll only need your Google Tag Manager tag code embedded — if you use both, it’ll just report everything twice and mess up your data.

Second, you’ll probably want to create a variable for your Google Analytics Tracking ID. A variable is a Google Tag Manager tool meant to increase your efficiency by saving additional (optional) data you provide.

If you save your GA Tracking ID as a variable, you won’t have to look it up every time you create a new tag for Google Analytics (which makes the lazy-person in me very happy).

How to Create a Variable in Google Tag Manager

1. Click “Variables” on your Google Tag Manager homepage. 

2. Under “User-Defined Variables”, click “New”.

3. Name your variable — I named it “GA Tracking ID” so I’d remember. Then, click the “Variable Configuration” box.

4. Choose “Constant” as your variable type, since you don’t want the ID to change for different tags.

5. Now, input your Google Analytics Tracking ID number into the “Value” box, and then select “Save” in the top right.

Next, let’s edit our “TestTag1” that we created earlier in this post, and include the new variable you just created.

How to Edit a Tag and Change its Value

1. Back on your homepage, select “Tags” from your side bar. Click on the tag you want to edit (I clicked “TestTag1”).

2. Click the grey “+” icon beside the “Web Property ID” box.

3. A “Choose a variable” box will pop up, and the first option, “GA Tracking ID”, is the variable we just created. Select that. 

4. Now, your tag’s “Web Property ID” should say (or whatever you named your variable). Click save, and your tag is updated. 

Google Tag Manager for Wordpress

If your business uses WordPress to host its website, there’s an easy two-step process to integrate Google Tag Manager into WordPress.

There are plug-ins available if you’ve paid for a business version of WordPress, such as DuracellTomi’s Google Tag Manager.

However, if you’d rather do it manually, it’s relatively simple to do. It will only get tedious if you have a ton of different pages of your site and want to use tags on all of them — you’ll have to copy and paste a code below the <body> tag on each page.

Here’s what you do:

1. Copy the Google Tag Manager code you are given during the set-up process. If you’ve already set up your account, click the blue “Google Tag Manager” code beside “Workspace Changes” on your Google Tag Manager homepage (circled below in red). That blue code will also supply you with your specific Google Tag Manager code.

2. Now, paste that code below the <body> tag of each page on your WordPress site.

Images courtesy of WordPress.org

Now, your WordPress site is prepped for any tags you want to create within Google Tag Manager. Google Tag Manager will automatically code future tags and embed them in whichever page you’ve selected.

Collecting data using tools like Google Analytics is critical for expanding your business’s online reach, converting leads into customers, and optimizing a digital marketing strategy to create stronger relationships with your audience.

However, collecting data is easier said than done. Google Analytics and other similar analytics tools aid the process, but they work more effectively with the addition of tags.

Tags, in a general sense, are bits of code you embed in your website’s javascript or HTML to extract certain information.

For marketers, necessary tag information typically includes how long users visit a page on your site, form submissions, how they arrived on your site, which links they clicked, or even what products they removed from their shopping cart.

Each tag tracks something different. For instance, you might create a tag just to see how many people fill out the form on your “Contact Us” page. That tag can then send more precise information to Google Analytics, or AdWords, or another third party.

Unfortunately, manually coding tags can be a tedious and difficult process for marketers without much development or coding experience, and it’s time-consuming to fill out tickets for the IT department.

With Google Tag Manager, your whole tagging process becomes much easier. All you do is embed a code into your site pages once, and then each time you want to create a tag, Google Tag Manager codes it and embeds it for you.

Google Tag Manager does a few things: first, it allows your developers and IT department to focus on bigger-picture tasks by eliminating the burden of coding each individual marketing tag.

Second, since Google Tag Manager codes the tags for you, it significantly reduces the possibility of human error.

And third, Google Tag Manager enables your marketing department to take complete control over the tags they create and monitor. Giving your marketers full reign over their tags increases efficiency. Plus, using tags improves the accuracy of your analytics system, guaranteeing higher-quality reports and a better sense of your true online audience.

With all that said, it’s still a tool you might want to try for yourself before deciding if it’s a perfect fit — perhaps you already have a tagging system in place, or you don’t feel you need that level of organization, since your website doesn’t usually need new tags.

Google Tag Manager is free, so you can try it out virtually risk-free. Here, we’ll show you how to set up an account, how to create a new tag, how to use Google Tag Manager with your Google Analytics account, and how to embed the tool in WordPress.

After that, you can decide for yourself if it’s the right system for your business.

Google Tag Manager Tutorial: Set Up an Account

Setting up a free account is an easy two-step process, but it’s separate from any of your other Google Analytics or Gmail accounts. To ensure a painless set-up for you, we’ve recorded our process for setting up an account.

Here’s what you do:

1. Go to https://www.google.com/analytics/tag-manager and click the green “Sign Up for Free” button. It will ask you to input your account name (company), country, and website URL, as well as where you want to use Google Tag (web, iOS, android, AMP). When you’re finished, click the blue “Create” button.

2. Next, you’ll be given codes and instructions to include one code high in the <head> of your page, and the other after the opening <body> tag. You can do this now, or apply the codes to your site later (they are accessible in your dashboard). Once you’re done, click “Ok”. 

Google Tag Manager Tutorial: Set Up a Tag

Once you have a Google Tag Manager account, the first thing you’re going to want to learn is how to set up a tag.

You can create unlimited configurations of tags in Google Tag Manager.

This is helpful for creating in-depth reports on your audience’s behavior, but it can become inefficient if you don’t organize your tags properly.

Google recommends using the following naming convention: tag type – name of app – detail.

Perhaps you name one tagging configuration, “AdWords conversions – iOS – 2018-02 campaign” and then another, “Google Analytics – CTA – About Us page”.

This way, you can correctly identify and collect data related to specific campaigns or pages.

For instance, the second tag, “Google Analytics – CTA – About Us page,” tells you how well your About Us call-to-action button is performing. That information is valuable, and might be lost if you named your tags more generally, like, “CTA button”.

Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s check out how to set up a tag:

1. Within your Google Tag Manager dashboard, click the “Add a New Tag” button, circled below in red.

2. Title your tag, and then click anywhere in the top “Tag Configuration” box, to choose a tag type.

3. There are dozens of tag types (they are not all displayed here, and you can also customize a tag type). I chose “Classic Google Analytics”.

 

4. If you want your tag tracked in Google Analytics, the next step will be to input your Web Property ID, found in your Google Analytics account. Then, select a “Track Type”. I chose “Page View”, but there are plenty of other options.

5. Next, choose a trigger (a trigger means when you want the tag recorded, i.e. “every time someone visits the page”). I chose “All Pages”, to get insights every time someone views any of my web pages, but this varies depending on your purposes. 

6. When you’re happy with the information in the “Tag Configuration” and “Triggering” boxes, click the blue “Save” button. 

7. Next, click the blue “Submit” button. Your tag won’t work until you do so.

8. When you click “Submit”, you’ll be taken to this “Submission Configuration” page. There are two options: “Publish and Create Version” or “Create Version”. Since I’m ready to push the tag onto all my site pages, I selected “Publish and Create Version”, and then I pressed the blue “Publish” button in the top right.

9. Finally, you’ll be shown this “Container Version Description”. To keep your tags organized, add a name and description to understand what you’re trying to record with this tag.

10. Ensure your tag appears in your “Version Summary” report.

 

 

Now, you’ve successfully created your first tag.

Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics

If you want to use Google Tag Manager in conjunction with Google Analytics, there are a couple steps you need to take. However, it’s a worthwhile endeavor — embedding tags in your site will increase the precision of your Analytics reports.

First off, you’ll need to remove your GA code from your site pages. You’ll only need your Google Tag Manager tag code embedded — if you use both, it’ll just report everything twice and mess up your data.

Second, you’ll probably want to create a variable for your Google Analytics Tracking ID. A variable is a Google Tag Manager tool meant to increase your efficiency by saving additional (optional) data you provide.

If you save your GA Tracking ID as a variable, you won’t have to look it up every time you create a new tag for Google Analytics (which makes the lazy-person in me very happy).

How to Create a Variable in Google Tag Manager

1. Click “Variables” on your Google Tag Manager homepage. 

2. Under “User-Defined Variables”, click “New”.

3. Name your variable — I named it “GA Tracking ID” so I’d remember. Then, click the “Variable Configuration” box.

4. Choose “Constant” as your variable type, since you don’t want the ID to change for different tags.

5. Now, input your Google Analytics Tracking ID number into the “Value” box, and then select “Save” in the top right.

Next, let’s edit our “TestTag1” that we created earlier in this post, and include the new variable you just created.

How to Edit a Tag and Change its Value

1. Back on your homepage, select “Tags” from your side bar. Click on the tag you want to edit (I clicked “TestTag1”).

2. Click the grey “+” icon beside the “Web Property ID” box.

3. A “Choose a variable” box will pop up, and the first option, “GA Tracking ID”, is the variable we just created. Select that. 

4. Now, your tag’s “Web Property ID” should say (or whatever you named your variable). Click save, and your tag is updated. 

Google Tag Manager for WordPress

If your business uses WordPress to host its website, there’s an easy two-step process to integrate Google Tag Manager into WordPress.

There are plug-ins available if you’ve paid for a business version of WordPress, such as DuracellTomi’s Google Tag Manager.

However, if you’d rather do it manually, it’s relatively simple to do. It will only get tedious if you have a ton of different pages of your site and want to use tags on all of them — you’ll have to copy and paste a code below the <body> tag on each page.

Here’s what you do:

1. Copy the Google Tag Manager code you are given during the set-up process. If you’ve already set up your account, click the blue “Google Tag Manager” code beside “Workspace Changes” on your Google Tag Manager homepage (circled below in red). That blue code will also supply you with your specific Google Tag Manager code.

2. Now, paste that code below the <body> tag of each page on your WordPress site.

Images courtesy of WordPress.org

Now, your WordPress site is prepped for any tags you want to create within Google Tag Manager. Google Tag Manager will automatically code future tags and embed them in whichever page you’ve selected.

Facebook Has Launched Its Political Ad Archive

Facebook today unveiled the publicly searchable archive of political ads it said it would develop in April.

The launch comes alongside new labeling requirements for all election- and issue-based ads, which includes a disclosure of who paid for them.

The History of These Changes

These latest developments come after months of efforts by Facebook to emphasize its focus on election transparency — particularly after revelations were made that the platform was weaponized by foreign actors to spread misinformation and influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Earlier this month, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Minority released roughly 3,400 of these ads, which ran on Facebook and Instagram leading up to the 2016 elections.

They were purchased by the Russian-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), and ran between Q2 2015 and Q3 2017.

Anyone wishing to run a political or issue-based ad must also go through an authorization process that requires submitting a government-issued ID and physical mailing address to Facebook, which the company announced in October.

Facebook later took similar measures to verify any Pages with large follow numbers — it’s unclear what that threshold is – in order to prevent the creation of fake accounts that are often responsible for publishing divisive ads and misinformation.

What the Ads and the Archive Look Like

Facebook’s officially-named “Archive of Ads With Political Content” is a searchable database of any ads of political nature, both active and inactive.

However, the archive does not contain ads that were published prior to May 7, 2018. Any ads it contains after that date will be available for up to seven years.

Rather than serving as a library of ads that can be filtered according to a date range, topic, or sponsor, users must type in keywords to find ads pertaining to a certain subject or person.

Facebook archive of ads with political content

To see how it works, I started with the search term “Clinton,” where I came across at least one ad that ran without a “Paid for” label, and was therefore removed by Facebook.

Facebook political ad without 'paid for by' label, featuring Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton 

The company scans ads for political content through a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and human intervention. In addition to the ad reviewers Facebook continues to hire, users of the site can report an unlabeled political ad, which is explained in the video below.

In addition to the content of the ad itself — its current status, the dates when it ran, and who paid for it — users can also view its performance, including the number of impressions it received, how much was spent on it, and a breakdown of the audience it reached.

Facebook paid ad performance page

An Imperfect System

Despite these efforts, many are taking issue with Facebook not providing even greater transparency. TechCrunch‘s Josh Constine, for example, argues that most users won’t know the details of the organization that paid for an ad — such as “BOLD PAC,” which paid for this ad — and that these labels should come with more information about the sponsor, its motivations, and donors (in the case of political candidates). 

Others, according to a formal statement from Facebook, have argued that the network should rid itself of political ads altogether, saying it was “the only sure-fire way of guarding against foreign interference.”

But in the end, the statement says, defining what constitutes “political” content was too difficult of a line to draw, which is why Facebook enacted these policies and practices, instead. 

“Deciding what is or is not a political issue is inherently controversial, and not everyone will agree with our approach,” say Facebook Director of Global Politics and Government Katie Harbath and Outreach Director Steve Satterfield. “But we believe in giving legitimate campaigns a voice — while also helping to make sure that people can find out who is trying to influence their vote and why.”

But how far these new labels and requirements go to define the “why” is still up for debate. Again, the issue of a lack of information about the sponsor of an ad comes into play — especially given that Facebook rolled out a feature earlier this year to add this sort of transparency and information about news publishers.

Still, the timing makes sense. The U.S. midterm elections will take place this November, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced questions about election integrity from the country’s lawmakers, as well as officials in the European Union.

Henry Franco, HubSpot’s social media editor, says “this is coming at a good time, with several global elections this year that could have huge implications for the political environment” – even if the efforts do fall short in some areas. “This is a good step towards increasing transparency into the world of political advertising on Facebook.”

The post Facebook Has Launched Its Political Ad Archive appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

Facebook today unveiled the publicly searchable archive of political ads it said it would develop in April.

The launch comes alongside new labeling requirements for all election- and issue-based ads, which includes a disclosure of who paid for them.

The History of These Changes

These latest developments come after months of efforts by Facebook to emphasize its focus on election transparency — particularly after revelations were made that the platform was weaponized by foreign actors to spread misinformation and influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Earlier this month, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Minority released roughly 3,400 of these ads, which ran on Facebook and Instagram leading up to the 2016 elections.

They were purchased by the Russian-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), and ran between Q2 2015 and Q3 2017.

Anyone wishing to run a political or issue-based ad must also go through an authorization process that requires submitting a government-issued ID and physical mailing address to Facebook, which the company announced in October.

Facebook later took similar measures to verify any Pages with large follow numbers — it’s unclear what that threshold is – in order to prevent the creation of fake accounts that are often responsible for publishing divisive ads and misinformation.

What the Ads and the Archive Look Like

Facebook’s officially-named “Archive of Ads With Political Content” is a searchable database of any ads of political nature, both active and inactive.

However, the archive does not contain ads that were published prior to May 7, 2018. Any ads it contains after that date will be available for up to seven years.

Rather than serving as a library of ads that can be filtered according to a date range, topic, or sponsor, users must type in keywords to find ads pertaining to a certain subject or person.

Facebook archive of ads with political content

To see how it works, I started with the search term “Clinton,” where I came across at least one ad that ran without a “Paid for” label, and was therefore removed by Facebook.

Facebook political ad without 'paid for by' label, featuring Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton 

The company scans ads for political content through a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and human intervention. In addition to the ad reviewers Facebook continues to hire, users of the site can report an unlabeled political ad, which is explained in the video below.

In addition to the content of the ad itself — its current status, the dates when it ran, and who paid for it — users can also view its performance, including the number of impressions it received, how much was spent on it, and a breakdown of the audience it reached.

Facebook paid ad performance page

An Imperfect System

Despite these efforts, many are taking issue with Facebook not providing even greater transparency. TechCrunch‘s Josh Constine, for example, argues that most users won’t know the details of the organization that paid for an ad — such as “BOLD PAC,” which paid for this ad — and that these labels should come with more information about the sponsor, its motivations, and donors (in the case of political candidates). 

Others, according to a formal statement from Facebook, have argued that the network should rid itself of political ads altogether, saying it was “the only sure-fire way of guarding against foreign interference.”

But in the end, the statement says, defining what constitutes “political” content was too difficult of a line to draw, which is why Facebook enacted these policies and practices, instead. 

“Deciding what is or is not a political issue is inherently controversial, and not everyone will agree with our approach,” say Facebook Director of Global Politics and Government Katie Harbath and Outreach Director Steve Satterfield. “But we believe in giving legitimate campaigns a voice — while also helping to make sure that people can find out who is trying to influence their vote and why.”

But how far these new labels and requirements go to define the “why” is still up for debate. Again, the issue of a lack of information about the sponsor of an ad comes into play — especially given that Facebook rolled out a feature earlier this year to add this sort of transparency and information about news publishers.

Still, the timing makes sense. The U.S. midterm elections will take place this November, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced questions about election integrity from the country’s lawmakers, as well as officials in the European Union.

Henry Franco, HubSpot’s social media editor, says “this is coming at a good time, with several global elections this year that could have huge implications for the political environment” – even if the efforts do fall short in some areas. “This is a good step towards increasing transparency into the world of political advertising on Facebook.”

The post Facebook Has Launched Its Political Ad Archive appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

Facebook Has Launched Its Political Ad Archive

Facebook today unveiled the publicly searchable archive of political ads it said it would develop in April.

The launch comes alongside new labeling requirements for all election- and issue-based ads, which includes a disclosure of who paid for them.

The History of These Changes

These latest developments come after months of efforts by Facebook to emphasize its focus on election transparency — particularly after revelations were made that the platform was weaponized by foreign actors to spread misinformation and influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Earlier this month, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Minority released roughly 3,400 of these ads, which ran on Facebook and Instagram leading up to the 2016 elections.

They were purchased by the Russian-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), and ran between Q2 2015 and Q3 2017.

Anyone wishing to run a political or issue-based ad must also go through an authorization process that requires submitting a government-issued ID and physical mailing address to Facebook, which the company announced in October.

Facebook later took similar measures to verify any Pages with large follow numbers — it’s unclear what that threshold is — in order to prevent the creation of fake accounts that are often responsible for publishing divisive ads and misinformation.

What the Ads and the Archive Look Like

Facebook’s officially-named “Archive of Ads With Political Content” is a searchable database of any ads of political nature, both active and inactive.

However, the archive does not contain ads that were published prior to May 7, 2018. Any ads it contains after that date will be available for up to seven years.

Rather than serving as a library of ads that can be filtered according to a date range, topic, or sponsor, users must type in keywords to find ads pertaining to a certain subject or person.

Facebook archive of ads with political content

To see how it works, I started with the search term “Clinton,” where I came across at least one ad that ran without a “Paid for” label, and was therefore removed by Facebook.

Facebook political ad without 'paid for by' label, featuring Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton 

The company scans ads for political content through a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and human intervention. In addition to the ad reviewers Facebook continues to hire, users of the site can report an unlabeled political ad, which is explained in the video below.

In addition to the content of the ad itself — its current status, the dates when it ran, and who paid for it — users can also view its performance, including the number of impressions it received, how much was spent on it, and a breakdown of the audience it reached.

Facebook paid ad performance page

An Imperfect System

Despite these efforts, many are taking issue with Facebook not providing even greater transparency. TechCrunch‘s Josh Constine, for example, argues that most users won’t know the details of the organization that paid for an ad — such as “BOLD PAC,” which paid for this ad — and that these labels should come with more information about the sponsor, its motivations, and donors (in the case of political candidates). 

Others, according to a formal statement from Facebook, have argued that the network should rid itself of political ads altogether, saying it was “the only sure-fire way of guarding against foreign interference.”

But in the end, the statement says, defining what constitutes “political” content was too difficult of a line to draw, which is why Facebook enacted these policies and practices, instead. 

“Deciding what is or is not a political issue is inherently controversial, and not everyone will agree with our approach,” say Facebook Director of Global Politics and Government Katie Harbath and Outreach Director Steve Satterfield. “But we believe in giving legitimate campaigns a voice — while also helping to make sure that people can find out who is trying to influence their vote and why.”

But how far these new labels and requirements go to define the “why” is still up for debate. Again, the issue of a lack of information about the sponsor of an ad comes into play — especially given that Facebook rolled out a feature earlier this year to add this sort of transparency and information about news publishers.

Still, the timing makes sense. The U.S. midterm elections will take place this November, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced questions about election integrity from the country’s lawmakers, as well as officials in the European Union.

Henry Franco, HubSpot’s social media editor, says “this is coming at a good time, with several global elections this year that could have huge implications for the political environment” — even if the efforts do fall short in some areas. “This is a good step towards increasing transparency into the world of political advertising on Facebook.”

Facebook today unveiled the publicly searchable archive of political ads it said it would develop in April.

The launch comes alongside new labeling requirements for all election- and issue-based ads, which includes a disclosure of who paid for them.

The History of These Changes

These latest developments come after months of efforts by Facebook to emphasize its focus on election transparency — particularly after revelations were made that the platform was weaponized by foreign actors to spread misinformation and influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Earlier this month, the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) Minority released roughly 3,400 of these ads, which ran on Facebook and Instagram leading up to the 2016 elections.

They were purchased by the Russian-based Internet Research Agency (IRA), and ran between Q2 2015 and Q3 2017.

Anyone wishing to run a political or issue-based ad must also go through an authorization process that requires submitting a government-issued ID and physical mailing address to Facebook, which the company announced in October.

Facebook later took similar measures to verify any Pages with large follow numbers — it’s unclear what that threshold is — in order to prevent the creation of fake accounts that are often responsible for publishing divisive ads and misinformation.

What the Ads and the Archive Look Like

Facebook’s officially-named “Archive of Ads With Political Content” is a searchable database of any ads of political nature, both active and inactive.

However, the archive does not contain ads that were published prior to May 7, 2018. Any ads it contains after that date will be available for up to seven years.

Rather than serving as a library of ads that can be filtered according to a date range, topic, or sponsor, users must type in keywords to find ads pertaining to a certain subject or person.

Facebook archive of ads with political content

To see how it works, I started with the search term “Clinton,” where I came across at least one ad that ran without a “Paid for” label, and was therefore removed by Facebook.

Facebook political ad without 'paid for by' label, featuring Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton 

The company scans ads for political content through a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and human intervention. In addition to the ad reviewers Facebook continues to hire, users of the site can report an unlabeled political ad, which is explained in the video below.

In addition to the content of the ad itself — its current status, the dates when it ran, and who paid for it — users can also view its performance, including the number of impressions it received, how much was spent on it, and a breakdown of the audience it reached.

Facebook paid ad performance page

An Imperfect System

Despite these efforts, many are taking issue with Facebook not providing even greater transparency. TechCrunch‘s Josh Constine, for example, argues that most users won’t know the details of the organization that paid for an ad — such as “BOLD PAC,” which paid for this ad — and that these labels should come with more information about the sponsor, its motivations, and donors (in the case of political candidates). 

Others, according to a formal statement from Facebook, have argued that the network should rid itself of political ads altogether, saying it was “the only sure-fire way of guarding against foreign interference.”

But in the end, the statement says, defining what constitutes “political” content was too difficult of a line to draw, which is why Facebook enacted these policies and practices, instead. 

“Deciding what is or is not a political issue is inherently controversial, and not everyone will agree with our approach,” say Facebook Director of Global Politics and Government Katie Harbath and Outreach Director Steve Satterfield. “But we believe in giving legitimate campaigns a voice — while also helping to make sure that people can find out who is trying to influence their vote and why.”

But how far these new labels and requirements go to define the “why” is still up for debate. Again, the issue of a lack of information about the sponsor of an ad comes into play — especially given that Facebook rolled out a feature earlier this year to add this sort of transparency and information about news publishers.

Still, the timing makes sense. The U.S. midterm elections will take place this November, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has faced questions about election integrity from the country’s lawmakers, as well as officials in the European Union.

Henry Franco, HubSpot’s social media editor, says “this is coming at a good time, with several global elections this year that could have huge implications for the political environment” — even if the efforts do fall short in some areas. “This is a good step towards increasing transparency into the world of political advertising on Facebook.”

How I Use To-Do Lists To Be Lazy But a Super Productive Affiliate Marketer

GDPR and the Right Side of History

Brian Halligan sent this note to all HubSpot employees this morning:

Yesterday, I got three emails from vendors asking me if it is okay that they keep sending me emails. I imagine you got a few as well. The irony is hard to miss.

Rather than making a sarcastic joke, though, I actually welcome these notifications. These companies are trying to get on the right side of history, complying with GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation enacted by the European Union, which goes into effect today.

History has a way of catching up on you. Auto manufacturers fought government mandates in the 1960s to add seat belts as standard features, arguing that it would raise costs, give consumers the impression that cars are dangerous, and that safety was not a selling point with customers.

Before seat belts were a requirement, some forward thinking car companies had already made them standard features. By getting ahead of that trend, they were years ahead in making safety part of their differentiation.

One of the things I love about working at HubSpot is that our customers are all on the sharp part of that curve, on the right side of history. HubSpot customers have made how they sell just as important as what they sell. They don’t just look to grow — they look to grow better, attracting their own customers by being responsive and helpful, not by engaging in disruptive and unwelcome intrusions. They embody what it means to be Inbound.

The GDPR is a positive step for the marketing discipline at large. The GDPR is wholly consistent with the Inbound approach to business.

Some companies already distinguish themselves by being relevant, helpful and transparent: GDPR will help them refine what they have in place and grow better.

Some companies are at the other end of spectrum. They have little interest in adapting their marketing to an evolving marketplace. GDPR compliance may feel like a burdensome regulation.

And then there are all those companies in the vast middle, that were perhaps willing to become more Inbound in their marketing, but were not quite as ready or able due to competing short-term priorities. For them, GDPR-compliance may be a useful forcing function, a chance to get on the right side of marketing history. A chance to grow better.

Compliance with the GDPR, regardless of a company’s state of readiness, can be a daunting task. We can empathize. For the last few months, HubSpot has readied our company to adopt the spirit of the regulation globally.

For our customers, we’ve enhanced the HubSpot platform to enable easier compliance with the GDPR. You and your customers can read more about the product changes and deeper details on HubSpot and the GDPR here.

I’m excited for our future in a post-GDPR world. Buckle up!

 

The post GDPR and the Right Side of History appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.

Brian Halligan sent this note to all HubSpot employees this morning:

Yesterday, I got three emails from vendors asking me if it is okay that they keep sending me emails. I imagine you got a few as well. The irony is hard to miss.

Rather than making a sarcastic joke, though, I actually welcome these notifications. These companies are trying to get on the right side of history, complying with GDPR, the General Data Protection Regulation enacted by the European Union, which goes into effect today.

History has a way of catching up on you. Auto manufacturers fought government mandates in the 1960s to add seat belts as standard features, arguing that it would raise costs, give consumers the impression that cars are dangerous, and that safety was not a selling point with customers.

Before seat belts were a requirement, some forward thinking car companies had already made them standard features. By getting ahead of that trend, they were years ahead in making safety part of their differentiation.

One of the things I love about working at HubSpot is that our customers are all on the sharp part of that curve, on the right side of history. HubSpot customers have made how they sell just as important as what they sell. They don’t just look to grow — they look to grow better, attracting their own customers by being responsive and helpful, not by engaging in disruptive and unwelcome intrusions. They embody what it means to be Inbound.

The GDPR is a positive step for the marketing discipline at large. The GDPR is wholly consistent with the Inbound approach to business.

Some companies already distinguish themselves by being relevant, helpful and transparent: GDPR will help them refine what they have in place and grow better.

Some companies are at the other end of spectrum. They have little interest in adapting their marketing to an evolving marketplace. GDPR compliance may feel like a burdensome regulation.

And then there are all those companies in the vast middle, that were perhaps willing to become more Inbound in their marketing, but were not quite as ready or able due to competing short-term priorities. For them, GDPR-compliance may be a useful forcing function, a chance to get on the right side of marketing history. A chance to grow better.

Compliance with the GDPR, regardless of a company’s state of readiness, can be a daunting task. We can empathize. For the last few months, HubSpot has readied our company to adopt the spirit of the regulation globally.

For our customers, we’ve enhanced the HubSpot platform to enable easier compliance with the GDPR. You and your customers can read more about the product changes and deeper details on HubSpot and the GDPR here.

I’m excited for our future in a post-GDPR world. Buckle up!

 

The post GDPR and the Right Side of History appeared first on Wicked Baron's Emporium.