In Q3 of 2019 Facebook is making drastic changes to Facebook Ads Manager’s targeting options for ads serving the housing, employment, and credit industries (HEC ads). These changes are due to several lawsuits Facebook settled in Q1 of 2019 where several organizations brought forward examples of discrimination in Facebook’s targeting options within the HEC ad categories. Here’s what marketing agencies and companies need to know about the upcoming changes.
What’s changing within the targeting options for HEC ads on Facebook?
Here’s what we know directly from Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook:
What this means for advertisers is these basic targeting options within Facebook Ads Manager will not be available for HEC ads. In the image below, everything in red will be unavailable. Also remember that while these basic options are going away, so is “multicultural affinity targeting,” which has yet to be clearly defined by Facebook.
The timeline for implementation for these changes had been fluid and is subject to change, but here’s what we know so far:
August — This is the first benchmark for agencies and companies to comply with the new changes. Agencies will be able to alert Facebook that they are running HEC ads and will be granted access to the new Facebook Ads experience with the limited demographic and interest targeting options. This early period will allow savvy Facebook marketers to understand and adapt to the new limitations and challenges within the new targeting options.
September — Facebook will begin to force advertisers targeting users with HEC ads into the new Facebook Ads experience. This will be when the targeting options are changed for everyone.
Facebook will automatically pause any preexisting HEC ads using targeting that is no longer allowed by the new standards. If you’re thinking of creating an ad now that uses age, gender, zip code, or multicultural affinity targeting and setting that ad to run through the end of the year, by the end of September, Facebook will automatically pause the ad.
December — Facebook describes the final rollout in December as a “rollout and enforcement of restricted targeting options for other ad interfaces”. If you’ve used third-party tools or platforms to manage your Facebook Ads in the past, you will no longer have the basic demographic and interest targeting options within those platforms.
What we know is you’ll lose age, gender, and zip code targeting. We also know you’ll lose some interest and affinity targeting, but Facebook has not clarified the extent of what those interest changes will be.
We do know companies and agencies opting in to the new HEC ads interface in August will have a head start on those holding out until September.
Facebook News Release from Sheryl Sandberg: Doing More to Protect Against Discrimination in Housing, Employment and Credit Advertising