Facebook has officially rolled out its revised advertising platform for the housing industry. This is in response to the Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) complaint against Facebook alleging that Facebook’s targeted advertising platform violates the Fair Housing Act, “encouraging, enabling, and causing” unlawful discrimination by restricting who can view housing ads.
Special Ad Category
Facebook has added a new “Special Ad Category” that each housing industry advertiser must adhere to by August 26, 2019.
Facebook has stated that “if you’re based in or intend to target audiences in the US and want to create an ad campaign that relates to credit, employment or housing, you must choose the category that best describes your ads. These are special categories for which audience selection tools are limited to help protect people on Facebook from unlawful discrimination.”
Facebook Audience Targeting Options
Facebook does provide guidance for Housing advertisers on what has changed with its platform. Facebook has stated previously that it was removing ad target options to “help prevent misuse.” Changes to targeting options include the ability for advertisers to exclude audiences that relate to ethnicity, religion, employment, age, gender or zip code.
For housing ads, the following audience options changed or are unavailable:
- Locations: You can target your ads to people by geographic location (such as country, region, state, province, city or congressional district), but not by ZIP code. Specific locations you select will include a 15-mile radius around that targeted city, address or pin-drop.
- Age: You can’t edit this option. Audiences must include ages 18 through 65+.
- Gender: You can’t edit this option. Audiences must include all genders.
- Detailed Targeting: Some demographic, behavior and interest options are unavailable. Excluding any detailed targeting selections is also unavailable.
Source: Facebook Housing Guidelines
The net result: advertisers in the housing sector will have a much smaller set of targeting options to use in their campaigns than they did previously. Advertisers will have to work harder and get more creative with their advertising in order to reach their intended audience.