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Facebook: Special Ads Categories – Another Problematic Rollout

By: Magnolia Deuell    October 2, 2019

If you are working with a brand that promotes credit, housing or employment offers (HEC), you have likely been affected by Facebook’s new Special Ads Category rollout as of August 26, 2019.

The aim of opting into a Special Ads Category is to eliminate and protect against discrimination in housing, employment and credit advertising. By opting into a special ad category, an advertiser targeting users will have more restrictions, including:

  • Removed ability to target by gender, age and ZIP Code
  • Reduction in interest-based targeting segments available
  • Removed ability to exclude interest-based segments
  • Location targeting requirement of a minimum 15-mile radius for city/town targeting and pin drops
  • Removed ability to access look-alike audiences
    • Instead, a Special Ad Audience, which eliminates gender, age, ZIP and similar identifiers, will be available

While consumers and brands appreciate Facebook taking discriminatory ads more seriously, rollouts like these are never flawless. Across the board, especially for financial service brands, there have been issues with disapproved ads, false disapprovals and a lack of communication from Facebook to troubleshoot these issues. Currently, Facebook’s ad review process is automated, and if an ad is disapproved, an advertiser has one opportunity to appeal and file for another review. If the ad is disapproved after the appeal, there is no other option besides getting in touch with chat support (which, in our experience, has been highly unsuccessful) to troubleshoot, or opting into a Special Ads Category, even if you are receiving a false disapproval (i.e., the disapproved ad does not actually promote a housing, credit or employment offer).

For brands that have a dedicated Facebook rep, it is recommended to work through disapprovals with their team. Though this is typically a large time investment, it is worth it to avoid opting into an unnecessary Special Ad Category where your campaigns would experience limited targeting options.

Read more here.