As you might have seen, Meta announced earlier this month that, as they did in 2020, they will be restricting political advertising in the days ahead of the 2022 midterm elections. At Do Big Things, we make sure that our community is able to keep up with the ever-shifting political ad changes at Meta and other social platforms so that you can win. The stakes for candidates and organizations remain high. Here’s the skinny on what’s next and what’s new for Election 2022.
Starting on Tuesday, November 1, 2022 at 12:01 a.m. PT, no new ads about social issues, elections, or politics will be allowed to start running on the platform. Ads in these categories currently delivering before this time will be allowed to continue running. The restriction period ends on Tuesday, November 8 at 11:59 p.m. PT. However, it is worth noting that In 2020, the ban was extended till March 4, 2021 – impacting end-of-the-year fundraising efforts for many organizations. This may happen again this year so it’s prudent to begin planning now.
During the restriction period, not only will new ads in the special issues categories be barred from running, but significant edits to campaigns already actively delivering are also prohibited. This means that you won’t be able to edit targeting, ad creative, URLs, or ad placements, nor will you be able to optimize campaigns or duplicate ads that are already approved.
You can, however, adjust campaign budgets or end dates as well as pause or unpause campaigns for special issues ads during the restriction period, and you can also continue posting organic content—but boosting organic content is prohibited.
The intention of this restriction period, according to Meta, is to combat misinformation, as well as allow candidates, political campaigns, and even the press time to respond to ads and messaging ahead of the election. Yet those of us in the progressive digital community understand that some of these restrictions have limited our reach in the past without nimble planning and real-time adjustments to new Meta policies.
In 2020, many campaigns were caught off guard by the restriction period not once, but twice. The first time it was because campaigns had not been anticipating a blackout period and the second time it was because the uncertainty of the election outcome caused Meta to extend the blackout period, impacting some political non-profits who were gearing up for Giving Tuesday.
Missed but predictable rapid response moments
Every year we see “stay in line” content in key races. Every year there are key events that field teams want to get people to attend. The ad restrictions period meant that only the field teams who communicated with digital in advance of the meta deadline had the chance to have approved content in the can for Election Day. A takeaway from this moment? Have your field team submit their calendars for GOTV digital requests now, so you can identify any ads you’ll want to have prepped in advance.
One of the big tripping points with the first round of the restriction period was confusion about the deadline. The deadline for having an ad approved is not the same thing as a deadline for having an ad submitted. With the high volume of ads that Meta was vetting during this time frame, approvals were slower than usual. Campaigns who were planning on the same approval times they saw earlier in the year left themselves with little margin for error if Meta had an ad concern or was moving slowly on approvals.
Unintended impact on end-of-year fundraising, including #GivingTuesday, for non-profits
Non-profits with work related to political issues and had calendared early roll-outs for Giving Thursday ad campaigns were caught in the cross-hairs when Meta extended the blackout period because of the uncertain election results. With election forecasters warning that we will not know the outcome of the Senate majority on Election Day, we could see a repeat of that dynamic this year. If your organization touches on political issues, we recommend getting a few of your planned November ads approved ahead of the election deadline to avoid any unpleasant flags or surprises.
We’re sharing this information as a service to help our partner organizations and candidates reach as many voters in this critical election with important information as humanly possible. Our team are seasoned electoral experts and keep updated constantly on the ever-changing landscape in order to ensure you win. Because we you win, we know that we all win!
Please feel free to reach out to us at <EMAIL> or DM us on Twitter if you have questions or your team needs extra support in this challenging time. You can also find more details including tutorials on Meta’s Ads Authorization Resource site. Good luck out there!