Some targeting options are going away in Facebook Ads.  Be ready for changes to audience targeting that will impact your campaigns soon.

Removing Certain Ad Targeting Options and Expanding Our Ad Controls

“We strongly believe that the best advertising experiences are personalized. They enable people to discover products and services from small businesses that may not have the ability to market them on broadcast television or other forms of media. They also enable non-profits, social causes and organizations to reach the people most likely to support and benefit from them, such as connecting people to fundraisers for charitable causes they care about.

“At the same time, we want to better match people’s evolving expectations of how advertisers may reach them on our platform and address feedback from civil rights experts, policymakers and other stakeholders on the importance of preventing advertisers from abusing the targeting options we make available. Today, we’re announcing a difficult decision that balances these important considerations.

“Starting January 19, 2022 we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation. Examples include:

  • Health causes (e.g., “Lung cancer awareness”, “World Diabetes Day”, “Chemotherapy”)
  • Sexual orientation (e.g., “same-sex marriage” and “LGBT culture”)
  • Religious practices and groups (e.g., “Catholic Church” and “Jewish holidays”)
  • Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and figures

“It is important to note that the interest targeting options we are removing are not based on people’s physical characteristics or personal attributes, but instead on things like people’s interactions with content on our platform. However, we’ve heard concerns from experts that targeting options like these could be used in ways that lead to negative experiences for people in underrepresented groups. We routinely review, update and remove targeting options to simplify our ads system, provide more value for advertisers and people, and reduce the potential for abuse.

“The decision to remove these Detailed Targeting options was not easy and we know this change may negatively impact some businesses and organizations. Some of our advertising partners have expressed concerns about these targeting options going away because of their ability to help generate positive societal change, while others understand the decision to remove them.

“Like many of our decisions, this was not a simple choice and required a balance of competing interests where there was advocacy in both directions. We feel confident that we can evolve our ads system to meet the needs of everyone we serve, while working diligently to continue supporting one of the best things about our platforms — helping people connect with and discover the businesses and organizations they care about.

Continuing to Reach your Audience

We remain committed to helping small businesses, non-profits, and advocacy groups reach their audiences. In addition to broad targeting such as gender and age, below are some of our top tips and example use cases for our partners:

  • An advocacy group looking to drive donations or a small business trying to connect with its customers can use Engagement Custom Audiences to reach people who have liked their Page or people who have watched their videos that may have appeared in News Feed (Video View Engagement Custom Audiences). These people have already shown direct interest in and engaged with the advertiser’s cause or brand and may be interested in supporting when an advertiser reaches back out.
  • Businesses and groups can also use these Engagement Custom Audiences as a seed audience to build Lookalike Audiences to help them further widen the people they can reach.
  • Website Custom Audiences and lookalikes based on these audiences can help reach people who have already engaged with a business or group’s website or products.
  • Location Targeting can be used to reach people in the vicinity of a business’s brick and mortar store or within the radius of their shipping capabilities if they are online based.
  • Additionally, businesses and groups who have permission from their customers are able to use their customer data for targeting via customer lists from a custom audience.

Additional Ad Controls

Even after we update our targeting options, people may still see ad content they aren’t interested in, which is why we are also working to expand the control that allows people to choose to see fewer ads about certain types of content.

Today, people can opt to see fewer ads related to politics, parenting, alcohol, and pets. Early next year, we will be giving people control of more types of ad content, including gambling and weight loss, among others.

Just as we have for the past several years, we will continue to evaluate and evolve our ad system. At the same time, we will make sure to provide our partners with the tools they need to reach their customers and increase their performance on our platform.

By: Graham Mudd

VP Product Marketing, Ads (Meta)

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