What the Upcoming Facebook Targeting Changes Mean

Everything You Need To know About Special Ad Categories on Facebook (and how it affects recruiters!)

Have your recruiting ads ever been rejected due to a violation of Meta’s targeting policies? Then your ads are probably affected by the restricted Special Ad Categories. No clue what we are talking about? Don’t panic just yet. By the end of this blog you will understand what it means exactly… And how adhering to the rules can even benefit the performance of your campaign. We’ll give you a brief run-down so you can use this knowledge to improve your campaigns.

Special Ad Categories, what’s it all about?

As one of the biggest advertising platforms, Meta has to continuously improve its policy to keep up with modern society. In 2021, all Facebook ads related to credit, housing and employment opportunities became part of the so-called ‘Special Ads Categories’. For employment, this includes topics such as vacancies, internships or professional certification programs.

So, what’s the catch? Ads belonging to these Special Ads Categories have restricted targeting options: you can’t target anymore based on age, gender or postal codes, as well as other targeting attributes such as specific job-related interests, lookalike audiences and exclusions. But don’t worry, we will guide you through all the targeting options available to you as a recruiter.

If you think you can ignore these restrictions, think again! If your ads don’t comply with the Special Ad policy, you are at risk of losing access to your account or it will even be suspended. That will, without a doubt, negatively impact your future recruitment efforts. So it’s best to comply with the rules at hand, because you can be just as successful with them.

Why did Facebook extend Special Ads Categories?​

You might be puzzled –what exactly is the reason behind these restrictions?

The truth is that there is a legitimate, valid reason behind it; and that is that certain ads, recruitment ads for example, are prone to unintentional discrimination by for example age, nationality, religion or gender. These findings called for a change, and we at sympl, embrace them! Equitable recruitment is always the way to go.

So… What does this Facebook targeting limitations mean for recruiters?

There are quite a few implications for online recruiting. However, there are still many targeting options available. These are the main changes and targeting options:

  • You can still target based on location, you just have to keep in mind that it can’t be too narrow. The targeting location needs to be set to a minimum radius of 15 km. 

  • You can’t exclude a specific part of your audience from your original target audience,

  • You can still target based on several interests or behavioural features. Some interests, however,  are not available, such as specific work-related characteristics.

  • Lookalike audiences are not available anymore for your recruitment ads, but retargeting audiences are. In this way, you can retarget users who visited your landing pages or who already interacted with your content. Did a candidate peek at a job but not apply? Add follow-up ads to sway them

Are these Facebook targeting changes a curse or a blessing?

Is this the end of the world for recruiting on Facebook? Most definitely not! We’ve seen recruiters getting blindsided by all the targeting options before the introduction of these special ad categories, by narrowing their targeting down to very specific details. But this is not how Facebook works best. These targeting limitations are an opportunity to break the habit of (too) narrowcasting into broadening your target audience. We have plenty of examples that giving “space”  to the Facebook algorithm to play around will improve your performance significantly.

How can you win these Special Ads over to your side?

The key to getting the algorithm on your side is all about creating appealing ads to compel your target audience. We’ve done plenty of testing on this matter here at sympl, and these are our 3 key takeaways: 

  1. Craft thumb-stopping copy: Words matter! Play around with your message. For instance, if you're after a junior position, toss in something like 'Ready to kickstart your career?' 

  2. Picture perfect: Your visuals matter too! Use images that your target audience can vibe with or straight-up show what you're hunting for. 

  3. Dig into targeting: Check out the targeting tools that still work. Hunt down the ones that fit your ideal candidate. Then, let Facebook's clever algorithm do the testing – who knows? You just might find surprising new ways to reach your target group.

Navigating first-party data to enhance targeting

The best course of action? Collecting and relying on your own first-party data. Start with setting up your Facebook Pixel properly. With this Pixel, Facebook is able to optimize advertising based on your data such as website visitors or conversions. The more info you provide, the more accurately your ads will be shown to the suitable audience.

Don’t know where to start, or don’t have access to first-party data? sympl has over 11 million data points to offer, compiled from over 8,000 successful recruitment campaigns and our own machine-learning algorithm. If you want to ensure that your job ad performs at its very best, sympl has got you covered with our easy-to-use software. Find out for yourself by requesting a free 14-day trial!
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