An image of a hand holding a mobile phone showing the facebook log in page with a laptop behind it also showing the Facebook log in page. On the left side of the image there is an orange rectangle with a grey rectangle layered over the top with orange text reading ‘Facebook Audience Targeting Changes’ and on the right side of the image there is an orange circle with white text reading ‘Jo Francis’

Facebook Ads and the Facebook Audience Targeting Changes

If you’re currently running Facebook ads, or thinking about getting started with them, then there are audience targeting changes being brought in by Facebook this week (starting 19th of January 2022) that you need to know about! 

What’s the news?

Facebook announced they are removing 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.”

So what’s changing?

The examples Facebook give in terms of audience targeting that will no longer be available are:

  • 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

The interest targeting options that are being removed are not based on people’s physical characteristics or personal attributes but are based on interactions with the content shown on the Meta platform.

To some these are key targeting options, but it’s clear that the “for and against” has been carefully weighed up in the decision to remove these options.

What will happen to Facebook ads that are running and currently include those targeting options?

As of March 17, any active campaigns that are still using these options will either be paused or have affected segments automatically removed.

This shouldn’t be cause for panic though, there are still a multitude of ways to reach your target audience.

How will you reach your target audience without these options?

This falls very much in line with a subject close to my heart; funnels.

At the top of your funnel, you should continually be building your audiences and raising awareness – which can be done through driving traffic and engagement / video views. In turn these ad campaigns will build your custom audiences (warm audiences of people that have shown a direct interest in you / your business) and you can then go on to create lookalike audiences (cold audiences of people similar to those in your warm audience).

You can also use contact lists (downloaded from your email marketing software or ecommerce store) for targeting and creating new lookalike audiences. Overall, you may find that your audiences are a lot broader and potentially less targeted.

How will Facebook ads be successful if the audience is less targeted?

You can definitely still run really successful Facebook ad campaigns, but, it’s going to be REALLY important to focus on your copy and creative going forward. This is going to be your best opportunity to stand out and still get noticed by your potential customers.

Want my advice?

I get it.

It’s starting to feel harder and harder to get in front of the right people – what with the iOS14 changes and lots of people opting out of tracking and now this, the change in audience targeting. But I’m still seeing huge successes with my clients ads, we’re just having to work smarter and be more creative.

So if you’d like to talk in more detail about your own ads, whether you’re just at the beginning of your journey with Facebook ads or if you’re already running ads but have perhaps started to see a drop off in their success, then lets spend an hour together and really dive deep into how you can make your Facebook ads a success.