Which Facebook Audience Targeting Options Are Changing?

Late last year, Facebook (now known as Meta) announced that Facebook Ads Manager would begin phasing out several audience targeting options. 

Although they haven’t given specific insight, all of the changes are related to detailed targeting options related to users’ personal interests and behaviors. 

Facebook said many of the options that are being removed are outdated selections that are rarely used. In addition, it seems they have removed categories such as: 

  • Religious beliefs
  • Sexual orientations
  • Political affiliations
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Some health topics 

Why the change?

In some cases, the audiences are underused, or too similar to other options. In other cases, it seems the company wants to remove advertisers’ ability to target highly personal interests to balance users’ expectations of what the platform knows about them. 

Meta started rolling out these changes in January of this year. If you were already using one or more of these detailed targeting options in an active ad set, the changes won’t necessarily take effect right away. You have likely seen the prompts from Facebook in Ads Manager to update your targeting – you actually have until March 17th of this year. If you don’t update, then Facebook will modify them automatically for you. 

Alternative Options to Consider

If you believe these changes will compromise your ability to target the right audience, we have some ideas on how you can save your campaigns!

#1. Lookalike Audiences

This is our #1 most used audience type for any Facebook campaign that we run. We have seen success with these audiences for B2B and B2C clients, growing lead gen and product sales for hundreds of different clients over the years. 

If you have a list of customers who have opted into your marketing materials, you can use it to build your Facebook ad audience. Upload the list to Ads Manager and then create a Lookalike Audience from this list. You can tell Facebook to target the 1% of the population that most closely resembles your existing customers in any geographic area. 

#2. Detailed Targeting Expansion

When Facebook introduced this tool, we felt strongly that it should never be used. However, over time and many tests we now believe that after lookalike audiences, this is the best way to reach people without a specific list. 

When you select this option, you are allowing Facebook to deliver your ad to people outside of your set audience. We know it can be hard to give up that control, but Facebook has perfected their ability to expand audiences. 

Test it out – we promise you will not be disappointed!  

#3. Engagement Based Audiences

This is a great way to reach people without using interest-based parameters. There are a few ways you can do this:

  • Create a custom audience of people who have taken actions on your page. You can target anyone who has ever interacted with you for a smaller audience, or all followers for a larger audience. You can also include Instagram engagers into this audience as well. Create a lookalike audience to grow this audience even more. 
  • Similar to the people who have engaged, you can create an audience of people who have watched your video content. You can select based on the number of seconds or the % of your video the user viewed. 
  • Do you regularly post events on Facebook? Create an audience of people who have engaged with your events in the past! For one client, we used an audience of people who engaged with an event in one geographic area, created a lookalike and then targeted the new campaign to another geographic area where the same event was going to occur at a later date. Easy and super successful! 
  • If you have a Facebook Shop you can also target people who have engaged with your products and collections. We love this for targeting users who have abandoned their shopping cart or upselling current customers. 

Adjust Your FB Targeting Strategy

No matter what you are spending and who you are targeting, anytime there is a major update we urge you to log into Ads Manager and look at your targeting strategy. 

If you need help or want a second opinion, give us a call! We are happy to review with you, anytime!