Since January 19, 2022, Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has removed some Facebook targeting options related to politically or culturally polarising topics. These include sexual orientation, health, religion, political affiliation, social issues, race, and ethnicity. Meta also removed specific Facebook targeting options for groups and individuals.
Existing ad sets with affected targeting options ran until March 17, 2022, and it is no longer possible to edit previous campaigns that leverage deprecated targeting settings.
Why Are These Changes Being Made?
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Meta is concerned about the abuse of Facebook targeting options and decided to limit more specific targeting. Various civil rights experts and policymakers informed them about the abuse of available Facebook targeting options.
According to Graham Mudd from Facebook, their decision to remove the Detailed targeting options wasn’t easy. They know it may negatively impact some businesses and organizations. But they feel confident evolving their ads system to meet the needs of everyone they serve while helping people connect with and discover the companies and organizations they care about.
Another reason is that due to the EU’s more stringent data protection laws (GDPR), Facebook is no longer allowed to target users without their explicit consent. This law took effect in 2018, and the company has been fighting it ever since. But with the broader shift towards more privacy, it seems Facebook has decided to bow to the regulations.
This is another step in the company’s effort to reduce its ad targeting options based on discriminatory factors.
Who is Most Affected by Facebook Targeting Options Changes?
These changes will affect various industries such as healthcare and political parties. They will also affect non-profit advertisers who rely on Facebook to connect people to their causes. Removing these Facebook targeting options makes it harder to reach new users, discouraging many advertisers from continuing their campaigns. It could also cause businesses to change how they reach out to their customers.
Alternative Options to Reach Facebook Audiences
For those still adjusting to new Facebook Targeting option changes, a few tools can help reach people who have shown interest in their content. It would still require more creativity to reach these audiences.
Even though they may no longer be able to reach some of their audience with targeted audiences, businesses and non-profit organizations can still use Engagement Custom Audiences to reach them. With the help of the Facebook Ads Manager, you can create a custom audience based on the actions people took on your page.
Recommendations for Alternative Targeting
You can target those who have already visited or followed your page. Facebook Page engagement, Instagram Account engagement, Video, or Event engagement are great ways to target people who interacted with your content.
You can also reach people similar to the audience interested in your content through Lookalike Audiences. These tools help you get to people similar to those already on your audience lists.
Website Custom Audiences can help you reach those who have already engaged with your website or product. If you’re targeting a specific audience, you can also enter specific URLs for those who visited specific pages.
The Facebook Ads Manager’s Detailed Targeting expansion tool can also help improve performance. Once you finish, it will allow Facebook to deliver ads to people who are not part of your targeted audience.
You can still use location targeting to reach those near the store or event you are hosting. The custom audience lists from a custom audience can still work well if you already have a list of people opting for targeting.
Broad targeting refers to the type of audience that Facebook uses to find the best possible candidates for an ad. It allows advertisers to reach people who wouldn’t have been considered otherwise.
The Facebook Targeting options changes in 2022 are a reminder to build up your private data to target specific audiences with more control. If you belong to the most affected categories, follow our suggestions for alternative ways to reach your audience on Facebook.
We’re already seeing how Facebook’s algorithm changes affect our ad sets and campaigns, and we are adapting to what will take us to metaverse in the near future.
About the Author
Aleksandra Ivanić is a Facebook Ads Specialist at Sellers Alley. She has experience building, maintaining, and running successful digital marketing campaigns. Aleksandra is skilled at creating and implementing client-focused, successful campaigns to improve brand awareness and presence. She has a sound knowledge of running various campaigns for different types of businesses, from B2B Lead Gen to B2C campaigns.