With the global distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine, there is growing concern about the anti-vaccine movement and vaccination misinformation spreading online, causing a worrying reduction in vaccination rates. Additionally, we know that the anti-vaccination movement receives millions of funds from a variety of sources, including Google and Facebook.
As a marketing agency that works with Google and Facebook advertising on a daily basis, we do not want our and our clients’ ad money going into anti-vax websites, contributing to their revenue while not receiving any leads from them. That is why today we are talking about anti-vax websites. And most importantly, how to prevent your ads from appearing on these anti-vax websites.
How anti-vax websites build audiences and monetise misinformation
Despite the recent statements from the large platforms, anti-vaccination websites have installed and configured different combinations of analytics trackers to assist the flow of visitors to their websites, the building of audiences and communities, and the targeting and serving of ads.
Google Analytics, Facebook Connect, and DoubleClick (which was acquired by Google in 2007) are some of the most prevalent trackers among the 60+ anti-vax websites we investigated (see network analysis image below). To illustrate, the size of these dots (or nodes) and their placement in the centre indicate their importance in the network. Furthermore, the various lines (or edges) from these famous trackers highlight the different connections between the tracker technologies and other websites.
Preventive measures against your ads showing on anti-vax websites
While we cannot say for certain how much money these anti-vax websites are making through the use of the tracking products shown above, we can prevent our ad spending money from going to waste on these particular websites.
Google Ads placement exclusion list
Thankfully, Google does give advertisers some control over what websites their ads will be displayed on with their placement exclusions tool. Specifically, these exclusions allow you to precisely define which websites you do not your ads to appear on. This is particularly useful when Google gets its targeting wrong and decides to display your ads on unrelated websites, or in this case, on anti-vax websites.
To create a placement exclusion list in Google Ads, follow these steps:
- Go to your manager account.
- Click the tools icon in the upper right corner.
- Under “Shared library”, click Placement exclusion lists.
- Click the plus button.
- Type a name for your new list in the “List name” field.
- Download our file and use it to directly upload placements to the list.
- Click save.
Facebook Ads block list
Same as with Google, Facebook allows you to create block lists that stop your ads from appearing in places you do not consider safe for your brand or campaign. In detail, this can include apps in Audience Network, Facebook in-stream videos, Facebook Instant Articles, Instagram in-stream videos and Facebook overlay ads in Reels.
To create a Facebook Ads block list, follow these steps:
- Go to Business Manager.
- Click the “All tools” icon next to the Meta logo in the upper left corner, then Brand safety.
- Under “Block lists” on the left, click “Create block list”.
- Type a name for your new list in the “Block list name” field.
- Download our file and drag and drop it in the “Upload a text file” field at the end.
- Click upload.
While the list of 60 anti-vax websites is by no means a complete list, it is certainly a list of the most prominent ones and a starting point to help you prevent wasting your ad spending money. Of course, we will keep a close eye on any updates regarding these websites and the emergence of new ones.
Thanks for taking the time to read our post on how to prevent your ads from appearing on anti-vax websites. At faethe.marketing we have been helping our clients successfully manage Google and Facebook ad campaigns with minimal cost and effort. If you are looking to recruit more students for your programmes, feel free to reach out to us.