Meta has announced in the last week that, from 15th January 2024, they have started to remove certain detailed targeting options for Facebook ads. Sound familiar? Well, the same thing happened back in 2022. Targeting options that were too granular, underused, or related to sensitive topics (including health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion or sexual orientation) were being made unavailable for advertisers.
Options related to sensitive topics appear to be the focus again in this latest round of removals and consolidations, though it’s not clear exactly which ones will be going. This all follows a pattern we’ve seen for several years now of Facebook course-correcting from past scandals involving hyper-targeted and discriminatory advertising practices. If there’s a way a targeting option can be used to target or exclude someone based on protected characteristics, it could be set to go within the next couple of months.
If you get a notification that targeting for your ad sets is affected, don’t panic – you’ll have until 18th March 2024 to change your options before ads are unable to run. Meta have also said they’ll give you alternative suggestions where possible.
As of now, the only notification we’ve found in our client accounts about discontinued detailed targeting options has been for ‘Nightgown’, which appeared in an inactive ad set. With the suggestion of ‘Nightwear’ being given instead, it seems that this is an example of one of the terms being consolidated into a broader category.
But what does this all mean in the long run?
With each new tool and removal of targeting options, it’s undeniable that Meta is shifting away from the kind of granular targeting we’ve been used to for Facebook targeted display ads. They’ve been rigorously pushing their suite of AI-powered tools for a couple of years now, including Advantage+ Shopping Campaigns and Advantage+ audience, which take most of the decisions about audience targeting out of your hands. Rather than manually selecting who you want to target, letting the algorithm do its thing and find the right people is the route Meta is encouraging marketers towards.
What should I be doing instead?
While detailed targeting isn’t going anywhere in the short term, if you’re not switching up your strategies now, incorporating the likes of ASCs and Advantage+ audiences into your campaigns, you might find yourself struggling if (or when) Meta ever decides to ditch the feature altogether. We’ve already seen great results when incorporating ASCs into our Facebook marketing strategies, especially when testing creatives. While ASCs are currently only available for Sales campaigns, we’ll likely see similar options become available for other campaign objectives in the future.
We’ve also talked about some of our quick wins that you can implement to boost the performance of your ads on Meta platforms, as well as the common mistakes we find when we take over client accounts on Meta Ads Manager.
Regardless of how Facebook targeting works in the future, an understanding of who you want to reach with your ads should serve be a guiding light for everything else. Meta can display ads to your ideal customer, but that means nothing if your creative and copy don’t convince them to click. Consider social media marketing trends when creating your paid social ad content, and always ask why someone wants the thing you’re showing them.
Want to know more about how you can use paid social advertising for your business? Get in touch with us today, we’d love to chat!