Ah, Facebook! What started off as our go-to platform a few years ago is now existing almost sluggishly. We cannot deny that despite being a great platform for advertising, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google are leaps & bounds ahead today. Be it in terms of engagement or marketing, people and businesses are shifting to other sources because they are fresher and more engaging.
Did Cambridge Analytica bring about this fall or was usage on the road of decline already? That’s irrelevant right now. What matters is that Facebook decided to fight back. It started taking multiple new steps to tighten screws and try to get advertisers to stay. In 2018, the social media platform faced numerous legal suits on the grounds of discrimination because Facebook marketing allowed advertisers to filter audiences based on gender, age, race, etc.
How did Facebook react?
It removed targeting options and not just 5 or 10. It removed thousands of them. This decision impacted almost all advertisers regardless of the vertical they came from.
That’s not it. It launched a permission tool called the Custom Audiences Permission Tool that verifies the authenticity of businesses and their targeting requirements. It also made the non-discriminatory certification mandatory for its US audience. The certification clarifies that you are only targeting audiences and not discriminating against any gender, race, or age group.
Now, here’s the icing on the cake (or not). We know that Facebook is doing all it can to remove discrimination when it takes the extra step and goes the extra mile. That’s what it did in this case. It refused to release the list of options that it eliminated. It is quite easy for users to start excluding similar audiences, isn’t it? If advertisers don’t know which options have been removed, they can’t do this! Not bad, Facebook!
What’s happening in 2019?
Whatever we mentioned so far happened in and around August 2018. Ethical advertisers barely felt the pinch of these changes while the others found it impossible to discriminate.
What’s happening with Facebook marketing now, though? Has the platform taken any more steps since then? Oh yes, it has! Now, it has shifted its focus to specific industries namely credit, housing, and employment, coming up with new policies just for them. Snippets of the policies are as follows:
- You can’t target users by zip code, age, or gender
- You can’t target users by religion, race, sexual orientation, or class
Soon, in the US, users will be able to see all ads of the housing industry with absolutely no bars. You can find more information about this here:
Did you notice any difference in your targeting options? Did this step affect your business? Let us know through comments!