What you need to know about Facebook’s changed targeting options


Facebook’s targeting options for advertising have changed last month, specifically on the 19th of January. The social media platform that not only connects people with one another, has also fast become a go-to virtual marketplace that allows its users to promote their products and services.

This was done mainly through its personalized advertising feature that enabled people to discover products and services from small businesses that may not have the ability to market them on broadcast television or other forms of media.

By looking at users’ interests and which fundraisers/charitable causes they support; non-profits, social causes and organizations for example were able to link up with people most likely to benefit and help sustain them.

Recently, in an attempt to better match user’s evolving expectations of how advertisers may reach them on the Facebook platform while addressing feedback and concern from stakeholders such as civil rights experts and policymakers on preventing advertisers from abusing the targeting options they make available; Facebook announced that they would remove some of their Detailed Targeting options to streamline and update their advertising options.

From January 19, Facebook no longer allowed new ads to use targeting options that referenced causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation. This was because these options were either rarely used,  redundant, too granular, or perceived as sensitive topics.

Few examples are listed below:

  • Health causes – Lung cancer awareness, World Diabetes Day, Chemotherapy
  • Sexual orientation – same-sex marriage, LGBT culture
  • Religious practices and groups – Catholic Church, Jewish holidays
  • Political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and figures


Existing ads that have already been configured with above targeting options can continue to run until March 17, 2022. Further to ease this transition, Facebook also provides notifications within Ads Manager about which of your ad sets will be impacted, with prompts to review and update your targeting options. Ad sets that use the impacted options for exclusion purposes will be paused on that date and will need to be updated prior to resuming.

When available, Facebook will provide alternative targeting recommendations as well such as Broad Targeting, Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences, Lookalike expansion, Targeting expansion, etc.

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