Facebook is removing over 5,000 ad targeting options !

Facebook announced plans to remove over 5,000 ad targeting options in an effort to prevent discriminatory advertising practices. What this ad targeting changes mean for your business ?

This will inevitably have an effect on how marketers use Facebook. The ones who likely be hit the hardest by the change are the advertisers that don’t have their own extensive customer data, like smaller businesses, etc

Facebook announced that it will be phasing out the Partner Categories feature:

“We want to let advertisers know that we will be shutting down Partner Categories. This product enables third party data providers to offer their targeting directly on Facebook. While this is common industry practice, we believe this step, winding down over the next six months, will help improve people’s privacy on Facebook.”

This comes after Facebook’s previous removal of the education, employment, field of study and job title targeting features. Now, access to information about spending habits, home ownership, investments, etc. will be eliminated as well.

So if your strategy relied on information that could only be collected through those third-party suppliers (the aforementioned spending habits, etc.), you have just a few months to rethink your Facebook ad targeting and how it fits into your overall plan.

Now, those companies will have to invest a little more time and effort into their own first-party data stores.

Which means using a little creativity. Set up landing pages on your website to collect contact information. Run surveys through email marketing. Ask questions on your social media channels.

This is also a good time to go back to basics. Facebook targeting hasn’t been around forever, so think about how you reached your audience pre-Facebook.

Take a deep look at your target audience and their interests, and find the categories that align on Facebook.

Like I said earlier, Facebook still has a minefield of data to pull from. Take some time going over user reports to find the kinds of categories they use, and determine which best fits your personas.

And if you haven’t already, this is a great opportunity to take advantage of remarketing. It’s been proven to boost ad response by as much as 400%, and is well worth taking full advantage of.

Facebook ad targeting options are changing. But Don’t Panic.

Facebook is still a powerful tool for connecting advertisers to relevant audiences. It will continue to serve advertisers to its best ability, and most remain cautiously optimistic going forward.

It’s also too soon to know for sure what the lasting effects of the targeting changes will be. A lot of it will rely on Facebook users and their willingness to stick with the platform and consent to be show targeting ads.

So for now, make adjustments as necessary. But don’t abandon ship. Facebook is still a major player in the marketing game, and I expect it still has a few surprises for advertisers up its sleeve.