Facebook Removes 5,000 Targeting Options – What Now?
To increase trust and increase user experience, Facebook yesterday announced that it’s removing over 5,000 targeting options from its advertising platform. Following from the Cambridge Analytica scandal this spring, Facebook received further complaints from the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development, stating that it had violated the Fair Housing Act by allowing advertisers to discriminate against users with their targeting.
In the US, Facebook will require advertisers for Housing, Credit and Employment to fill out a compliance certificate outlining their non-discrimination policy before they can continue advertising on the platform. This will be rolled out to other countries in due course.
Facebook hasn’t announced what options have been removed in the hope that this won’t encourage discriminatory advertisers to map out new ways of excluding the same audiences from their campaigns.
Facebook advertising has continued to receive more investment YoY due to its unrivalled volume of user data which allows advertisers to deliver highly-targeted, relevant content to audience.
However, the loss of 5,000 targeting options, combined with the removal of third party data from Partner Categories earlier this year, is causing panic amongst the advertising community. Advertisers who have delivered high-performing campaigns in the past using now unavailable options may struggle to replicate the success for future campaigns.
Considering Facebook generates most of its income from adverting, it’s unlikely that the platform will remove any key targeting options that do allow for ethical advertising and positive user experience.
Reaching Your Target Market
All is definitely not lost, there are still a huge variety of targeting options available on Facebook, and the platform continues to add new and exciting methods to engage users.
- Lookalike Audiences
Lookalike audiences are one of the best performing targeting options in our experience. Comparable to ‘Similar Audiences’ on Google Ads, Facebook allows you to select a specific audience you’re already using, and match other Facebook users to this audience based on their behaviours, interests etc.
Not only do they significantly expand your reach, advertisers have more control on location and relevancy of audiences, matching from 1% of lookalike audiences to 10%.
- Website and Email Based Custom Audiences
Adding the Facebook Pixel to your website allows for advertisers to create unlimited custom audiences based on their interaction with the website, pages viewed, actions taken etc. This creates the perfect opportunity to deliver customised ads to different segments based on their position in your funnel – whether they are still learning about your company; are interested in a specific service or product; or are close to completing your desired action but still need an extra nudge to converting.
- Facebook Engagement Audiences
If you have high levels of engagement on Facebook, you could benefit form building audiences based on user interaction with your page and content. Users who have already engaged with your content on a social platform are more likely to continue engaging, even if they haven’t spent time on your website. By tracking user engagement with your Facebook and Instagram pages, posts and events, you can deliver highly-relevant ads to users already interested in your brand.
- Location Targeting
Location targeting for local businesses is key to reaching the right audience and reducing wasted spend. Location targeting options not only allow advertisers to run ads to users who live in a specific location, but also users who have recently visited a location, or who are currently travelling. This can significantly open up opportunities for local brands, as well as tourism and events industries.
Whilst interest, demographic and behaviour targeting may start to decline slightly, it will be for the best overall – ensuring advertising is ethical and users feel comfortable continuing to use the platform to share their personal experiences with friends and families on Facebook.
By exploring other campaign options, and keeping up to date with ongoing updates from Facebook, advertisers can continue to deliver winning ad campaigns and benefit from including this key channel in their ongoing digital strategy.