December 10, 2021

4 tips to make sure your ads get through the tightened Facebook targeting

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Did your ads suddenly get rejected by Facebook this week? Then your campaigns may have been undermined by Facebook's stricter targeting rules that took effect on 7 December 2021. With the new restrictions, Facebook wants to prevent discrimination based on age, gender and location, among other things, for campaigns related to employment, housing or loans.

In this blog, we give you 4 important tips to get your campaigns back up and running!


Today, advertising via social media is one of the most effective ways to reach your desired target group and thus generate more website traffic, new customers, or higher online sales.

Until recently, it was possible to target this target group on Facebook and Instagram very specifically without too many restrictions. However, as of 7 December, this has changed drastically for specific campaigns and sectors.

Continue reading to discover if something has changed for you by the new Facebook policy and how you can deal with this.

Audiences: Who sees your ads?

The significant advantage of social media is that you can decide for yourself who will or will not see your ads with the help of an arsenal of targeting options. For example, you can compose your target group based on characteristics such as age, location or education, and you can also use the personal interests that characterize your target group.

By cleverly using these possibilities, you can show your ads to the target group you want to attract and not show your ads to a target group you prefer to exclude.

New Facebook Policy 

As Facebook continues to protect its users, it regularly updates its policies. The most recent change to this policy is the expansion of the 'special ad categories'.

Special ad categories have been around for ads that fall under the category 'social issues, elections or politics'. In order to publish advertisements within these topics, you must, among other things, meet some additional conditions and go through a verification process.

3 categories have been added to the special ad categories, namely:

  1. Loans (ads for credit card offers, car loans, long term financing, ...)
  2. Employment (ads for vacancies, internships, professional certification programs, ...)
  3. Housing (ads for real estate, homeowners insurance, mortgage loans, ...)

Do you use ads that belong to one of these categories? Then pay attention now. Since December 7, 2021, the following restrictions have been in place with which Facebook wants to combat discrimination:

  • Targeting based on age and gender is no longer possible. In addition, for location targeting, you must now use a minimum radius of 15 km.
  • Lookalike audiences with which Facebook searches for similar profiles have been replaced by special ad audiences based on online behaviour and activity
  • The number of interests you can target is now limited, and work-related characteristics such as functions and industries disappear
  • Excluding locations and detailed targeting options are no longer possible

Are Facebook Ads a lost cause? Of course not!

The new Facebook policy has a massive impact on current and future advertising for many businesses. However, this does not necessarily mean that campaigns will perform worse. We want to give you some tips to reduce the impact of the restrictions:

  1. Get started right away
    If your campaigns do not comply with the new policy after December 7, 2021, they will automatically stop running. That is why we recommend that you adjust your campaigns as soon as possible based on the new policy if they fall under one of the three new special ad categories. This way, you avoid that Facebook will no longer show your ads.
  2. Watch your campaigns extra carefully
    Since the target audience of your campaigns will look different, it is crucial to pay extra attention to the campaigns in the coming days/weeks. Ask questions such as: What happens to the reach? How is the frequency affected? And how does the cost per click evolve? This way, you can quickly learn from the changes in the target group and make adjustments if necessary.
  3. Play with copy and visuals
    You can no longer target based on characteristics such as age or gender. However, you can still get creative with the copy and visuals of your ads. For example, if you want to promote vacancies at a senior level, you can make it clear in your copy that you are looking for someone with x number of years of experience. Another example, within advertisements for houses suitable for young families, you can focus on the child-friendly and safe environment in your visual images.
  4. Be smart about interests
    There are fewer opportunities to target based on interests. However, this remains an important asset for narrowing down your audience. Try to select interests that closely match your desired target group and consider, for example, what interests people of your desired age category. This way, you can still reach your intended target group by using interests cleverly.

SOS! Need help?

Would you like to know more about the changes to the Facebook policy? Could you use help with the above adjustments? Or do you need general advice about online advertising?

We have a team of performance marketers ready to dive into your ad campaigns and get them back up and running. Mail us at , and we will get back to you within the working day!

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Sander Vluymans

Performance Marketeer

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