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The Removal of Facebook’s “Detailed Targeting” Option

Facebook - Data Privacy

Facebook’s parent company Meta officially announced last year (November 9, 2021) that it would be removing some Detailed Targeting options from its platform at the beginning of 2022. Turns out, it wasn’t just “some,” it was thousands! According to Meta, these targeting topics were either widely unused OR they believed consumers perceived them as sensitive, as they include options around causes that users support, public figures that relate to health, race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious backgrounds, and political beliefs. As a consumer, this sounds great considering the collective push to protect consumers’ privacy. But marketers are losing the capability to use specific targeting methods to reach the most relevant audiences with the right products, services, and message. Relatable and personal ads lead to great consumer experiences online! They also allow non-profits and good social causes to speak to audiences that are most likely to support those organizations, thus doing good in this world. Regardless, there’s a fine line Meta is walking here.


Topics like lung cancer awareness, same-sex marriage, and Jewish holidays (for example) are no longer available in Ads Manager, as of January 19th, 2022, for new campaigns. Existing Facebook ad sets created before this date had until March 17th to run their course. Now that we are past that deadline, you can expect those ad sets to stop running altogether.


As of now, there are ways that advertisers can continue to target audiences on Facebook. Some interesting ones are listed below:

  • Engagement Custom Audiences is a way to target those users who have either liked your page or watched/engaged with any of your content that appears within their news feeds. These consumers have a higher likelihood to support your organization through shopping, donations, sharing, etc.

  • Lookalike Audiences can be created from the above Engagement Custom Audiences. You’ll need a strong enough database to run these types of campaigns successfully, but they do provide you with precise targeting options.

  • Targeting Expansion is where Facebook makes advertisers target more broadly outside of their current group and can only be done with conversion goal campaigns. This allows Facebook to test and monitor other users, while taking your current target audience into consideration. However, if there’s a niche group you’re marketing to, this strategy can increase your audience size way further than you’d like.

As you continue to test ad campaigns on Facebook after this major targeting change, try entering a core audience in the detailed targeting text box of your ad set. Then you can choose the interests and behaviors that Facebook recommends/populates as suggestions. The more you put in the hopper, the closer you can get to the type of audience you wish to target. As you do this, see how each entry impacts the suggestions. Good luck out there!

Get started with Mindful Media Group today!

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