illustration showing limitations of facebook ad targeting

Over the years, we've learned a thing or two about Facebook ad targeting. However, as with all specialties, there's so much to know, and so much changes over time.  Our working knowledge comes from working with Ted Bigham from KowAbundant. They specialize in deep dive SEO, keyword research, digital advertising and data tracking.

What we've learned about Facebook ad targeting.

Turns out there are two worlds within Facebook when it comes to ad targeting. For most posts and ads you can target by age, gender and other personal attributes. But in certain sectors considered "Special Ad Categories," (like credit/lending, housing, employment, crypto currency and gambling/gaming) there are some limitations. For those industries, Facebook does restrict ad targeting by age, gender and location.

Other industries, like plastic surgeons, have restrictions on what's considered "adult content" which means they can't show breasts for their breast reduction ads. We ran ads for ourselves targeted towards plastic surgeons that were rejected. See examples of that here.

Restrictions that relate to Facebook's Special Ad Categories.

Ad restrictions  for "Special Ad Categories" were the result of a landmark lawsuit between Meta and NFHA where Facebook settled over discriminatory practices that lead to sweeping changes in Facebook's advertising platform. This post dives into what Facebook will and won’t allow if you fall into these Special Ad Categories, for example:

See Facebook ad targeting policy details here.

Learn about Facebook's ad restrictions here.

How to work around Facebook's limits on Special Ad categories.

Facebook has ad targeting limitations for the real estate sectors, property renters, property sellers, lending, and loans. So  if you're in real estate selling or renting properties, you may have run into the housing category issue preventing you from running certain ads.

The best way to find your customers is to use you own customer lists and import them into Facebook. This allows you to target customers based on a list you provide. From there you can create lookalike and similar audience lists where Facebook will actually find other customers who are similar to your customer list.

What happens if you're marketing active adult 55+ communities?

Well, as you would imagine, that's a real issue. One of our clients, Treplus Communities, have several beautiful communities serving the 55+ audience. Not being able to target people 55 and older puts significant limits on their Facebook marketing.

Watch the video clip (below) with Ted Bigham from KowAbundant talking about Facebook ad targeting.

Video of Kowabundant talking about facebook ad targeting

Designing the ads for maximum impact

The offer on your Facebook ads are critical. That's where we come in. While Ted with KowAbundant researches, places and tracks Facebook ads, we design the ads to be noticed and clicked. People in ads attract attention, as does your product, depending how complex it is.

We've been creating a lot of digital ads for Treplus Communities and a few are below, using people and showing their communities. These ads are tracked so we know which ones work better than others. So when you're ready to have an experienced team working with you on your digital ads, look to us.

Contact us today to start the conversation.

Examples of digital ads we've designed.

Plastic surgeon ad for ourselves that was rejected as having "adult content."

plastic surgeon ad that was rejected as having adult content

Plastic surgeon ad for ourselves that was accepted.

ad for plastic surgeon that was accepted

Awareness ads for Treplus Communities. While we couldn't target by age, the images and copy spoke to that audience.

Treplus lifestyle ad 1

Treplus lifestyle ad 2

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Example of targeting by age which CAN be done for most industries, just not the ones Facebook considers "Special Ad  Categories."

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screenshot showing how to target by age