Brace for Impact | Part 2 of 4: Facebook Advertising Trends – Special Category Advertisers

Digital Marketing|Trends|

Last week we discussed First-Party Data as our first trend in Facebook Advertising. Click here in case you missed it.

This week we dive into another trend that several of our clients (and maybe you) fall into – Special Category Advertisers – and what this means for your social campaigns.

Trend #2: Special Category Advertisers

Special category advertisers… dun dun dun. Earlier this year, Facebook released its special ad category option in Ads Manager and it has severely impacted three industries: Housing, Employment and Credit advertisers. This new feature restricts ad targeting options and prevents advertisers from using lookalike audiences to prevent discriminatory ad practices. So what does that mean?

It means it’s hard to reach the right users if you fall into one of these categories. You can no longer target by age, gender, zip code, multicultural affinity or anything describing your characteristics – in addition to lookalikes. You can only use things like behavior, which is your first-party data noted under Custom Audiences in Part 1 of 4 last week.

But that’s not all – Facebook is really cracking down here. You may be a B2B multifamily lender running a lead generation ad for content downloads. You’re not leasing apartments or mentioning anything about that. To get content downloads, you have a pretty specific list of people you’re trying to serve ads to – somewhat account based marketing but limited within Facebook compared to LinkedIn. If your ad copy or imagery uses the word multifamily, Facebook is likely not going to approve it unless you remove all targeting, which is not the purpose of your ad. It’s incredibly important that everyone on your creative team is well-aware of these three categories to produce creative that will be approved.

So to recap, if you fall into the Special Ads Categories, take the following into consideration:

  1. Set realistic expectations – understand the limitations of special category advertising and accept the risks upfront that results may not be as strong as you are looking for, especially with direct response. Reconsider if Facebook is the right platform for your media campaign.
  2. Adjust your  targeting – utilize your first-party data as much as possible and create Custom Audiences to be as precise as possible.
  3. Understand creative limitations and stick to them – design creative with what you know will get approved first. This will expedite Facebook’s active learning phase and allow for optimizations quicker. If not, campaigns could get delayed in turn delaying your results and conflict with your expectations.

If you fall into a special category advertiser and want to talk about your campaign needs, give us a call at 404-231-3481, x114 and we’ll work through it together! You are not alone and it helps to connect with people who already have some “lessons-learned” to share.

As a reminder, our 4-Part Series on Facebook Advertising Trends continues next week with Facebook Search Ad Placements. You don’t want to miss that one.


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