The strength of Facebook as an advertising platform is personalization—the depth and breadth of data available about the users of the social media giant enables businesses to create marketing campaigns with a laser focus on the audience they’re trying to reach. However, the data privacy landscape is changing. Requirements like the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and software updates like Apple’s iOS 14.5 have flipped the script on data collection practices. Where once an app or site might have quietly collected data on users, now users must be notified and choose to opt in to having that information gathered.
In keeping with this trend, in 2022 Facebook is removing certain ad targeting options. In their November 2021 announcement, the company attributed the changes to a need “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.” As of January 19, the company removed Detailed Targeting options related to potentially sensitive topics, such as causes, organizations, and public figures related to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.
Why There’s No Need to Panic
In their announcement, Facebook stressed that the interest targeting options they’re removing are based on people’s interaction with content on the platform rather than their personal attributes or physical characteristics. In other words, for these specific categories, they’re no longer going to factor in behavior on similar or related content (such as likes, comments, or views) to target ads. Organizations should of course be taking this change into account when they’re considering how to target their Facebook ads going forward. However, it shouldn’t be cause for undue concern.
The first thing to realize is that the core function of detailed targeting will still exist, even if these specific categories are being removed. There are still countless categories businesses can use to drill down to the exact audience they want to reach. The second thing to note is that existing ad campaigns that might be affected will run through March 17, 2022, before possibly being paused or removed, depending on how the targeting options were used. This gives businesses time to adjust their strategy to the new updates.
Alternative Targeting Choices
In their update notice, Facebook notes that aside from the detailed targeting categories that still remain, advertisers have other means to reach their core audience. These include:
Broad targeting: You undoubtedly have quite a bit of information on your existing customer base and those most likely to be interested in your product or service. You can target your ads to demographic categories like age and gender, as well as selecting geographic locations corresponding to your brick-and-mortar sites or service area.
Custom audiences: Connect with people who are already aware of your business with this option. You can use customer lists, website or app traffic, or engagement with your content or page on Facebook to target this group.
Lookalike audiences: Use an existing custom audience as a source of information to look for similar people who might fit your target demographic. You can specify how closely you want your new audience to match its source to control how far your ad reaches.
You can even use lookalike expansion and targeting expansion to allow Facebook’s system to deliver your ads to individuals who may lie outside your selected match ranges if it predicts that will improve your ad’s performance. In short, you won’t lack for the tools to precisely calibrate your Facebook ads to their intended audience.
Your Online Marketing Advantage
Staying ahead of the constant changes to policy at Facebook, Google Ads, and other online platforms can be daunting. Nobody wants to waste time and money with campaigns that are a step behind the curve. At Connection Marketing, we combine deep experience with digital marketing with attention to the shifting capabilities and requirements of key online advertising platforms. We create customized marketing solutions with clear goals and measurable results. To find out more about how Connection Marketing can keep your Facebook advertising and your online marketing on target, contact us at [email protected].
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