What is Facebook Detailed Targeting?

Detailed targeting is a targeting option that is available in the “audience” section of ad set creation. It allows you to refine your audience and target only those who you believe are potential customers. You can do this by using information such as additional demographics, interests and behaviours. It is Facebook’s targeting option to maximise the number of audiences and to help you refine the exact audience you want your ads to be shown to.

What is changing?

Facebook announced earlier this year that they will be removing some Detailed Targeting Options in the ad set level menu of the Facebook Ads Manager.

“Starting January 19, 2022 we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.”  – Facebook

On January 19th 2022, Facebook removed some detailed targeting options in four main categories. These targeting options for active Facebook ads were no longer allowed.

The four categories are:

  • Health causes (e.g., “Lung cancer awareness”, “World Diabetes Day”, “Chemotherapy”)
  • Sexual orientation (e.g., “same-sex marriage” and “LGBT culture”)
  • Religious practices and groups (e.g., “Catholic Church” and “Jewish holidays”)
  • Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organisations, and figures.

Why the change?

Due to the EU’s stricter consumer data protection laws (GDPR), Facebook aren’t legally allowed to target users based on these details without explicit consent from each individual. Facebook have been battling with this law since it came into effect in 2018. But with the global shift towards more privacy, Facebook have now opted to accept the point and align with the more specific regulations. Although there are still ways that Facebook’s ads can be used in what would be considered discriminatory ways, the removal of these specific targeting groups will ensure that the company meets its legal requirements and avoids penalties.

Continuing to reach your audience

Facebook state that they are committed to helping small businesses and non-profit organisations reach their audiences. In addition to broad targeting, such as age and gender, here are some tips for continuing to reach your audience:

  • Use broad targeting. This is the default Facebook targeting option. You may be worried that your ads will be shown to people who are not your potential buyers, however, Facebooks algorithms are highly sophisticated, meaning that it can identify if a person is interested in your product/service or not.
  • Target with custom audience. This will be people who have already interacted with your business. They can be from any of your social media posts, YouTube videos, blogs etc.
  • Location Targeting. This is as simple as setting the audience to the specific country or city that you want to target.
  • Use Non-sensitive Keywords. You are still able to use detailed targeting; you are just unable to use sensitive keywords.