What Are the Housing Restrictions for Facebook and PPC?

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Jan 30, 2023 | Social Media & Online

As we know, technology is always changing and adapting. It’s something many of those in the senior housing and marketing fields are used to. One of the most recent changes is making a larger impact on how we target ad audiences on Facebook and through pay-per-click (PPC) advertisements.

Changes to Facebook Targeting and Advertising

According to Maggie Dinneen, Paid Social Media Manager, we were previously able to target by age, gender, ZIP code, multicultural affinity, or any detailed options describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics, like someone who is interested in retirement planning or 401(k) retirement accounts. 

“From there, we were able to create a look-alike audience based on those similar to our uploaded audience to match our campaign objectives,” she shares. “For example, if I wanted to generate a look-alike audience of people who were within a given radius from ages 45 to 65+ who meet similar characteristics, I could. However, Facebook completely removed this, as well as special ad audiences, when they rolled out these new housing ad category restrictions.”

This change, announced by Facebook/Meta, impacts special ad categories, including all ads related to housing, employment, and credit opportunities. Any Facebook ads that fall under these categories are going to see restricted targeting options in the Ads Manager.

Why did these Facebook advertising restrictions begin?

Maggie shares that a settlement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is behind the change in how we deliver housing ads. According to an article from Meta, this was done to protect against discrimination from advertisers setting up ad campaigns while making sure the ads more closely reflect the eligible targeted audience.

What are the restrictions?

According to the article, some of Facebook’s restrictions and changes include:

  1. Requiring advertisers to certify their compliance with their nondiscrimination policy.
  2. Restricting how housing, employment, and credit advertisers can create their target audiences by disallowing gender or age targeting.
  3. Location targeting must have a minimum of a 15-mile radius.
  4. Maintaining all active ads related to housing, employment, or credit opportunities in the Ad Library, allowing anyone to see ads, regardless of whether or not they were in the advertiser’s intended audience.
  5. Removing ad targeting options people may find sensitive to protect against the potential abuse of tools across all ads.

What is the solution?

There are still targeting options we can use to attract new prospects, and we will continue to target them at every phase of their journey.

Housing Restrictions for PPC

According to Zach Dolenar, Digital Media Manager, social media in general took the biggest hit from these changes; however, PPC wasn’t free from the impacts, either.

“We used to be able to get more granular with our targeting. We could build ads around males 65+ who were married, but now we have to be more generic,” said Zach. “Now, there is no customization or tailoring to our audiences outside of keywords they are searching for.”

Why did this change begin?

In short, channels put restrictions into place on specific ad categories to reduce bias and societal targeting, according to Zach. In an article by Google, it was shared that this was also to “improve inclusivity for users.”

What are the restrictions?

Google ads can no longer focus on gender, age, marital status, parental status, or ZIP code targeting,” Zach explains, adding that the biggest aspects that affect us are ZIP code and age, though marital status has sometimes been a challenge. As stated by the Google article, impacted products and services include, but aren’t limited to, housing, real estate services, employment, and credit.

What is the solution?

To combat these changes, Zach shares that they rely heavily on accurate keyword targeting, effective landing page design, and copy that speaks to the audience. When it comes to the display side, he shares we are moving to a programmatic approach.

Facing the changes ahead with SageAge

At SageAge, we understand why these changes have taken place, and we remain committed to preventing unlawful discrimination. We also remain committed to those we serve and are already adjusting to these changes while keeping informed about any future adjustments.

To see how we make navigating these changes simple – and seamless – contact us today.

SageAge: Here for You, Always

SageAge is a multiple-award-winning strategic growth, marketing and consulting organization that operates exclusively in the unique senior living marketplace. For more information, please call or email Melinda Schmitz at 816.349.0464/melinda@sageage.com.

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