Last March, our friends at Facebook “offered” advertisers a new feature when buying ads relating to housing, employment and credit. Implemented in an effort to curb discrimination, these three areas are now considered “special ad categories” and now have restricted targeting options in Facebook’s Ads Manager. Advertisers running in these categories who’ve used Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences in the past will now have to create “Special Ad Audience” lists.

Moving forward, ads placed in these categories will not allow targeting by:

Age: Don’t even try, you can’t edit it. You’re stuck with 18 to 65+
Gender: You guessed it – no editing
Location: You can target by geographic location but not by zip code. Your chosen area will include a 15-mile radius around the selected city, address or pin drop
Multicultural Affinity: Now, you know better than that. Disabled. Done
Detailed Targeting: Any detailed option describing or appearing to relate to potential characteristics. Stop right there. Banned.

Fear not, friends, all is not lost. Sure, you might have to adjust your trusted breakthrough strategy and stay on top of the results like butter on a biscuit but there are other things you can do to better cope with this new “feature”:

Appearance Counts: Make your ad creative, well make it a bit creative; speak to your audience thru relatable words & pictures
Focus on certain job skill sets: Be relatable and your ad will naturally appeal to those people interesting in job opportunities such as yours
Custom Audiences: You can still use custom lists from clients; warning, some heavy lifting required. You’ll now be tasked with uploading to the Facebook dashboard.
Retargeting: Build out a good retargeting audience; one where you only advertise to your warm audiences

Plus, your spend will be less because you are targeting a smaller audience. Yah, an upside, of sorts. The jury is still out on that one.

There you have it, a mountain top view to give you the big picture. Agreed, these new changes can certainly feel like Facebook is taking your ad strategy out at the knees but if you’re a bit diligent and have the right marketing partner, you can make it work for you. Need someone who has been there and done that? Let’s talk, we can do it for you:



Wunderman Thompson Employ is a full-service recruitment advertising agency and employer branding consulting firm, creating pioneering ideas in strategic recruitment, human resource development and management, and more.