Have you ever seen an advertisement on Facebook and then when you leave to go to another site, you see yet another ad from the same advertiser? This is made possible by audience network expansion. This means turning on a feature that allows you to reach people even after they leave the social channel on which they saw your ad. While this increases your ads’ reach and “stickiness,” recently audience network expansion has been causing brand issues for all advertisers, including those in the recruitment space.

Today’s political climate has caused readers and consumers to be more critical of where they get news and information. Let’s just come out and say it – Breitbart News Network and sites like it have come under fire because of the content they publish. In just two months, the site lost 90% of its advertisers. Over two thousand advertisers have excluded Breitbart from running their ads.

Recently, Washington State Patrol pulled their job advertisements from the site, saying that “Not all the content on Breitbart might fit what we’re looking for” when trying to recruit officers who embody principles of “service with humility and serving our community.” Although they did not directly place ads on that particular site, they did place ads on Facebook. Those ads then followed users who viewed them to Breitbart.

How To Protect Your Brand If You're Running #JobAds. #recruitmentmarketing Click To Tweet

So, what does this mean for your job advertisements, and ultimately, your brand? Here’s the latest info for Facebook and LinkedIn ads, as of September 1, 2017.

Facebook Audience Network

  • The sites that Facebook shares your ads with are termed “partner publishers,” who have applied for that status with Facebook.
  • Facebook does not disclose what sites they share your ads to.
  • This audience expansion only takes place on mobile, not desktop.
  • Pro: Your job ads reach more people, and it adds another touchpoint for your targeted audience.
  • Con: You have minimal control over what sites your ad is displayed on.
  • Facebook has published their policy on what sites can and cannot be partner publishers and how they place ads on their sites.
  • Facebook reviews and approves/rejects sites that wish to be partner publishers. They can also revoke partner status if the site violates their audience network policy.
  • Facebook plans to release lists of all the partner publishers they display ads on. When those lists are available, advertisers will be limited in how many publishers they can block from receiving their ads.
  • Currently, some advertisers can create block lists of URLs that they do not want their ads to appear on. This function is not yet available to everyone.

LinkedIn Audience Network

  • Sponsored content will appear in the LinkedIn newsfeeds of users who match your targeting.
  • If you use audience network expansion, your sponsored content could appear on LinkedIn’s any of “brand-safe premium publisher apps and sites.”
  • Audience network expansion is only available in US, UK, Canada, Australia, India, Singapore, and New Zealand.
  • LinkedIn has their own policy on excluding publishers from the network if they do not meet their ad guidelines, or if the publisher is “reasonably considered controversial or offensive.”

Note: Currently, information on these audience networks and the functions within them are rather limited.

Google Display Network

Similarly, advertising within the Google display network may place your ads on sites that you may not expect. If you advertise on Google display network and you want to take it a step further, you can also look into your Google display ads options and settings. You can exclude your ads from appearing on sites that fall within the below categories, but Google does not disclose what specific sites fall under these categories.

What can you do?

If you don’t want your ads appearing on certain sites, for whatever reason, there are some steps you can take.

  • You can forego the audience network expansion feature. This means your ads will only show up on the social channel itself.
  • For Facebook, if you use audience network expansion, you can select to “exclude sensitive categories,” if that option is available to you.
    • You can also select to prevent ads from being placed next to “sensitive content” within the social newsfeeds themselves, if that option is available to you.
    • However, even if you have access to these exclusion options, Facebook disclaims that they cannot 100% prevent your ads from appear next to or on sensitive content.
  • For LinkedIn, you can exclude publishers by categories that they fall under. You can also exclude specific sites and apps with block lists.

Here is a breakdown of the different features for each channel’s audience network function. (Click image for full size.)

audience network

This issue with audience network expansion is ongoing as search engines and social channels are constantly changing and rolling out different features and functions for advertisers. Check this blog regularly for new developments! As always, if you have questions, feel free to reach out to us via email or Twitter.