Facebook Political Targeting is Gone – What It Means

May 12, 2022

4 minute read
  • Digital Marketing
  • Social Media

Facebook targeting is an ever-changing subject. There are thousands of ways you can target a potential prospect, through demographics such as age, gender, and location, but you also can target based on a person’s interests. Political interest targeting is among the most powerful and useful, but recently Meta made a major shift and have since banned targeting based on political interests. When this was first announced in November of 2021, we thought the changes would be minor. We were wrong. It was a sucker punch none of us saw coming. 

If you’re wondering how these major changes will affect your marketing strategy, this blog post will help point you in the right direction.

Let’s jump in!

What is Facebook Political Targeting?

Before diving deeper, let’s talk about the basics of Facebook Political targeting.

The Detailed Targeting option has thousands of interest-based assets including political targeting. This allowed politicians to reach users based on their political interests. It can identify users who are following or engaging on political pages, as well as users that share social awareness causes suitable for political targeting. It also includes users that reacted to or clicked on political ads in the past. 

Advertisers are using this granular feature to target their demographic on Facebook. By doing so, their ads can get right in front of the people they want to buy their products or services.

Even if your product or service has nothing to do with the current political climate, political targeting can impact everyone.

Let’s say you sell a product online that helps teach people self-defense training. Historically, people interested in self-defense have been conservative-leaning. Meaning that the company can use political targeting to go after a conservative base of users, hoping that they will sell more products at a higher rate.

On the other hand, let’s say you are trying to sell a book online about climate change. Typically, the people who are interested in climate change and taking action on the subject are left-leaning or more democratic. In the past, you’d have been able to advertise that book to users using political targeting, and you’d be able to serve your ads to people who are thinking along the same lines as your target demographic. Now that’s no longer an option, and you have to find alternative ways to segment your audience and reach them online. 

Why Is Facebook Political Targeting Gone?

Political targeting is only one of the thousands of interest-based features that Facebook is phasing out. The decision came on the heels of the April 2021 data privacy issue in which Facebook got publicly shamed for. This incident has highlighted once again the problematic way Facebook handles user privacy.

Users may find it trivial that they are being targeted through their data. But it’s also why ads may or may not appear in their feeds. This has led to the exposure of hundreds of millions of users to ads that target their political beliefs and interests.

To appease the public and show sincerity through action, Meta has taken a pivot to its practices. It decided to do away with many of its interest categories to protect users from insensitive adverts.

In a press release sent on March 30, 2022, Meta claimed that product and service discovery should happen without the interference of a user’s personal attributes. Those factors such as race, ethnicity, political beliefs, and so on should never be used against a user. It’s what makes for a better and personalized advertising experience.

In addition, this move is to keep in line with the guarantees Meta has made. They hope to ease the minds of policymakers, civil rights experts, and stakeholders. These groups were very concerned about the potential abuse of such detailed targeting.

What’s the Alternative to Facebook Political Targeting?

Is it time to jump ship and say goodbye to Facebook Advertising? Despite the recent change, Facebook is still determined to offer the best advertising service.

Even without Facebook’s political targeting, there are still powerful options you can utilize. Advertisers can still use the following targeting features to reach the right audience:

Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audience is a targeting option that allows you to reach individuals that share similar interests with your existing audience. You can use Lookalike Audience if you already have a Custom Audience or an existing source that you’d like to replicate.

When put into use, your ads will be delivered to users who liked or engaged with similar pages as your existing customers. 

Lookalike Expansion

The Lookalike Expansion broadens the type of audience you specified in your Lookalike Audience option. It will identify whether there are massive opportunities beyond the reach of your Lookalike option and promptly serve ads to those people.

Targeting Expansion

Targeting Expansion works like Lookalike Expansion, but for the Detailed Targeting option.  Targeting Expansion will broaden and reach people outside of your defined audience.

What it means

Phasing out political targeting along with thousands of other assets related to politics, religion, medical condition, and sexual orientation won’t be the last major change for Meta. 

As a business owner, you have to always be on the lookout for any major trends that might affect your strategy. Not only on Facebook, but also on other major social media platforms.  

If these major changes on Facebook are throwing you in for the loop, you can always contact us! Strikepoint Media has a team of advertising experts who can help you manage your Facebook Ad account.