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Preparing for Facebook Audience Targeting Changes

The social media platform announced in late 2021 that it will be taking additional steps to align with evolving privacy regulations. Starting in January, Facebook will remove thousands of targeting options.  This includes ad targeting options that reference causes and organizations that relate to health, race, ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation. 

​​While many nonprofits use these targeting criteria for good, unfortunately, some organizations and for-profits have used these targeting capabilities to target marginalized groups and exploit specific audiences.  

These changes will clearly impact non-profit organizations, but there are a few things we can do to prepare. 

1. Get In Market Now

Any campaigns already live when the changes roll out won’t be impacted until March 17, 2022.  So, get your campaigns up and running now in order to ensure a bit of a longer window before the targeting changes take place.

2. Focus on Owned Audiences

There has been a lot of recent focus on first-party audiences as we prepare for the end of cookies.  The good news is that targeting owned audiences won’t be impacted.  So keep running those lead gen campaigns and building up your email list!

3. Utilize Lookalike + Retargeting

Targeting lookalikes of your owned audiences isn’t going anywhere either.  And the same is true for Engagement campaigns.  You will still be able to target people who have engaged with your brand – liked your page or watched your videos, for example.  And lookalike targeting of these engaged audiences will also remain an option.

Retargeting users to reach the low-hanging fruit won’t be impacted by the latest changes either, so continue to retarget those users who have previously engaged with your organization.

4. Rely on Broader Targeting

Advertisers will still be able to utilize thousands of other targeting categories that are not considered sensitive.  Broader interest targeting will be available as well as more general categories like age, gender, and location.

5. Test New Media Partners

The days of Facebook’s dominance in the paid media landscape may slowly be coming to an end.  Testing other social platforms, or new channels, such as search and/or online display, may result in success.  You will likely need to alter your strategic approach when testing new media partners, but with the right targeting, creative, and messaging strategy you may find very effective places to advertise.  

Ultimately, Facebook adapting its practices to better follow updated privacy guidelines is a positive thing, as it gives users more control over the individual and allows users to select the types of ads they want to see.  In the meantime, Media Cause is prepared to help guide our clients through the upcoming changes.  

Want to keep up with the latest changes to social media platforms? Check out our latest blog posts.


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