In an effort to prevent discrimination, Facebook has introduced what it calls 'Special Ad Categories' for credit, employment and housing. Any ads promoting a product or service in those areas will need to be specifically marked with the relevant Special Ad Category. This policy applies in both the US (as of August 26th, 2019) and Canada (as of March 31st, 2020).
Once a Special Ad Category has been selected, certain ad targeting options become unavailable or restricted. This is to ensure compliance with Facebook's Discriminatory Practices Policy. Specific details can be found below.
What do I need to do to comply with Facebook's Special Ad Category Policy for Housing?
The short answer is: nothing! As an Avenue client, you can leave things in our hands. We have already taken steps to ensure the ads we run on your behalf are compliant with the new policy.
What if I am running my own Facebook ads?
If you are running ads yourself in addition to those Avenue runs on your behalf, you will need to familiarize yourself with the changes and make sure your ads are compliant.
Luckily, that's easy. Just ensure you select the Special Ad Category when creating your ad, and Facebook will only provide you with permitted targeting options.
To do this, create a new campaign in Facebook Ads Manager. When you do, you'll see a check box for the Special Ads Category (see image below). Simply check the box, and then select 'Housing' from the drop-down menu. The good news is, you only have to do this once per campaign for all ads in that campaign to be compliant.
If you have ads already running, the simplest thing to do is to stop them and create new ads following the steps above.
Targeting Options for the Housing Special Ad Category
Locations: While you can still target housing ads to a city (or cities), address or dropped pin, Facebook will automatically apply a 15-mile radius to your targeted location. It is no longer possible to target specific ZIP codes.
Age: It is no longer possible to choose age targeting for housing ads on Facebook. All ads will target ages 18 to 65+ by default.
Gender: Gender targeting will not be an option for housing ads. All genders will be targeted by default.
Detailed Targeting: While some detailed targeting options will still be available for ads in the Housing Special Ad Category, over 5,000 options have been removed by Facebook. The removed options include education, employment, field of study, spending habits, home ownership, investments, and more.
Additionally, it will not be possible to exclude any detailed targeting options from the audience for housing ads.
Lookalike Audiences: These will not be available in the Housing Special Ad Category.