Your social advertising strategy and audiences may need a bit of an overhaul to align with updates to Facebook’s “Safe & Civil” Advertising Policies, especially if they fall within particular categories.
Last year, I wrote an analysis of Facebook’s swift changes to Housing, Employment and Credit Opportunities Policy. The Non-Discrimination Policy, as it became know, was born from a complaint issued by The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Part of the social network’s solution was to remove “over 5,000 targeting options to help prevent misuse,” in an effort to keep Facebook advertising “safe and civil” by promoting a positive social advertising atmosphere.
Fast-forward to 2019, Facebook announced that one of their “top priorities is protecting people from discrimination” on their Platform, and as a part of their settlement with the groups that filed lawsuits against them, they would be enacting changes to protect Facebook users. These amendments include:
- Changes to geolocation targeting by the elimination of zip code targeting;
- Changes to age and gender targeting; and
- Limited detailed targeting parameters for housing, employment, and credit opportunity campaigns.
By August, the above changes became what is now known as the Special Ad Category. Every US-targeted campaign – yes, campaign – that corresponds to a housing, credit, or employment opportunity must have one of the three categories applied – a major change considering the previous iteration certified compliance for the entire ad account.
Campaign audiences also take a hit. On top of previously announced changes to gender, age, and zip code targeting, users could no longer target by multicultural affinity “or any detailed options describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics” In other words, Special Ad Category campaigns are meant to target the broadest audience possible.
You may be wondering “what about my Lookalike and other Custom Audiences?” Those were nixed too. Instead, advertisers can opt for Special Ad Audiences that are built in a similar fashion to previous custom audiences but ignoring age, gender, or zip code.
How do you choose correctly?
Choosing a Special Ad Category is pretty simple. Nine out of ten times if you have an inkling your campaign is going to be flagged, it will be. So, what options can you choose?
In Facebook’s Help Center, you can find a guide to choosing the correct category. The breakdown Facebook provides is as follows:
- Credit Opportunity: Ads that promote or directly link to a credit opportunity, including but not limited to credit card offers, auto loans, personal or business loan services, mortgage loans, and long-term financing. This also includes brand ads for credit cards that include a specific credit offer.
- Employment Opportunity: Ads that promote or directly link to an employment opportunity, including, but not limited to, part- or full-time jobs, internships, or professional certification programs. Related ads that fall within this category include promotions for job boards or fairs, aggregation services, or ads detailing perks a company may provide, regardless of a specific job offer.
- Housing Opportunity or Related Service: Ads that promote or directly link to a housing opportunity or related service, including, but not limited to, listings for the sale or rental of a home or apartment, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, mortgage loans, and home equity or appraisal services.
How can I prepare prior to launch?
Our team at Tiger Pistol can say with certainty that any campaign that falls within this umbrella will require Special Ads certification and likely requires an audience update. To better prepare yourself, make sure:
- Your audience does not include zip code targeting and targets a minimum of 15-miles (if you target an address or city)
- Your audience targets Adults 18+
- Your copy falls within Facebook Policies
If your customer is running a campaign that does fall within one of the three categories, it’s best to launch your campaign with a Special Ads Category applied prior to publishing. This will save you time and a headache resolving errors during the length of your campaign.
If your campaign gets flagged during its flight, first check your ad copy – something in there may have set off the Policy algorithm. An easy example would be “We’re hiring for all positions!” in your body copy, but you haven’t applied Special Ad Category: Employment. If you can say definitively whether or not your customer falls within a housing, employment, or credit opportunity, make sure you’ve applied the appropriate category, then adjust your audience to fall in line with Policy and republish.
When in doubt, apply a category – it will benefit you and your campaigns in the long run.