Facebook Ad Targeting Changes Are Coming

By: Michelle Law  | 06/06/2018

Big changes are brewing – both for Facebook and for advertisers. As you may have guessed, a lot of changes in Facebook advertising are a direct result of the Cambridge Analytica data breach. While we all can agree (both as consumers and advertisers) additional safeguards are better, it is likely to cause some disruptions for advertisers. The main changes affecting most U.S. Facebook advertising efforts are the removal of Partner Categories and more restrictions on custom audience uploads.

Beginning July 1, Partner Categories will be no longer be available for creating or editing and, on October 1, ad delivery will stop for audiences containing Partner Categories. Partner Categories are subsets of Facebook’s detailed targeting that come from third-party data. They give advertisers tons of great, game-changing targeting options, but it’s being removed in the name of protecting users. The image below highlights how you can identify which targeting options are Partner Categories:



This has the potential to disrupt current target audiences. But, there a few things you can do to help skirt the overhaul:

  • Run a brief Video View campaign to gather as many people as possible into a Video View engagement audience that will remain as a target audience. Use your best performing audience with Partner Categories.
  • Use the Facebook pixel to create new audiences and similar audiences. Make niche audiences for those who visit specific product or service pages, customers who login, or those who complete a form.
  • Use the Audiences Insights tool to gather data related to targeting options. The tool provides demographic, activity and interest data on your page audiences, custom audiences upload, or pixel audiences. This can help you determine new future audience targeting.


Lastly, make sure you have the proper permissions for your Custom Audience uploads. This is nothing new and should already be in place, but now Facebook will hold you accountable to this. Facebook members can see which lists they are part of through Facebook’s Ad Preference > Advertisers you’ve interacted with > Who have added their contact list to Facebook.

Here is a PDF that outlines Facebook's plan as it exists now. 




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