Thou Shalt Not Target - Facebook's New Audience Policies

If you’ve been watching the news the past few months, you’ll know that Facebook’s big data scandal has already caused plenty of backlash for marketers.

First, they cracked down on custom audiences, now they’re going for the big fish—core audience ad targeting.

What Happened?

On June 13th, Facebook released a nondescript article in their business center called “Introducing New Requirements for Custom Audience Targeting.” We already knew custom audiences were taking a hit, so it wasn’t a huge shock that they added more hoops to jump through. One new requirement for agencies is showing the exact source of the audience they’re uploading. What’s worse is that they followed up the same week with some tough targeting changes.

No More Partner Categories









Partner Categories come from Facebook Marketing Partners all across the world, providing specific online and offline information about the audiences your business needs. Even Facebook admits it’s the best tool for businesses that don’t have direct customer data. After August, BAM! we won’t have access to those audiences anymore. Get ready to see those little orange warnings everywhere in the coming weeks.

Being Specific is a Crime Now








Though Facebook hasn’t brought it up, we saw cost-per-click and cost-per-result on certain, well-targeted ads shoot up overnight. Coincidence? We doubt it. Facebook says we still have access to these targeting options for the next few months, but it seems they’re already trying to weed them out by hiking up the cost.

As they cut out the best audience-targeting options, Facebook is offering approved replacements for a few. For example, targeting homeowners as a demographic brings up a suggestion to use people interested in Trulia and Zillow instead, which I’ve objectively rated as extremely unhelpful. Many categories (such as income level) have no available suggestions, and it’s anyone’s guess whether Facebook will eventually try to fill in these gaps.     

What You Can Do (For Now)

There is no one-size-fits-all solution to this problem because we can’t even predict the scope of the issue yet. But if you’re not a fan of screaming mindlessly at your monitors, here’s what you can do to keep everything afloat and relatively under control during the changes.

  • Watch your campaigns like the government watches you through your webcam. Just kidding, (who has that kind of tax-subsidized time?), but seriously. Check up on your campaigns at least once a week for sudden price changes or drops in reach.
  • Dust off your persona marketing chart. There was a time when Facebook didn’t have fantastic targeting options, and people got leads and customers despite the odds. Get to know your customer base in new, Facebook-approved ways.
  • Don’t slash your other three tires because one is flat. Even when it’s frustrating, 96% of marketers are still using Facebook, and 2.2 billion people are on it every month. Dropping out of Facebook is just giving your tougher competitors a boost while you fall out of step with the latest changes.
  • Roll with the punches and stay up-to-date. Watch the news and keep track of what you can and can’t target. Facebook is famous for blindsiding businesses with changes; whether you get a lucky break or something new goes down the tubes, you don’t want to miss it.

Whenever a big change comes up, all businesses dig in their heels and find a way to weather through it—it’s one of our best qualities! However, that’s not to say you can’t ask for help or advice. Get in touch with Art Unlimited today about your digital marketing; we’ll be ready to help you!

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