Do you run help-wanted ads on Facebook? How about ads related to housing or credit? If so, read on. Facebook recently created a “Special Ad Category” that—while well intentioned—is causing some housing, credit, and employment advertisers to grumble. But there’s a silver lining!

To be clear, the Special Ad Category is required only for housing, credit, and employment ads. It eliminates major audience targeting options…like age, gender, and zip code. It also bans access to Facebook’s Lookalike Audience feature, instead allowing advertisers to use a less-potent Special Ad Audience option (which strips out age, gender, and zip code targeting).

Why did Facebook do this? Surely, not for kicks and giggles! It created the Special Ad Category only after facing charges of discriminatory ads on its advertising platform. That’s a legit reason!

So, if you’re forced to use the Special Ad Category, where’s the silver lining?

  • First, you can feel confident your ads don’t engage in discriminatory targeting practices.
  • Second, you can now run ads more easily. In the past, Facebook was notorious for rejecting ads, shaming advertisers for using all the targeting options that Facebook itself offered. At least now you know your limits before publishing an ad, thus greatly increasing the chances of ad approval.
  • Third…well, there’s no third reason. Two reasons will suffice!

Despite the limitations, focus on what you can do. You can still write attention-grabbing copy. You can still use engaging imagery and videos. You can still use A/B split testing to make your ads more powerful over time. Facebook continues to offer ample opportunities to broadcast your message for a modest investment.

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