Facebook Housing Ads1

Facebook Housing Ads: What’s Changed and What You Need to Know

Social media has left a great impact on the way we as a community engage with one another and live our lives. Perhaps, one of the greatest contributors to this new age of social media influence would be Facebook. For years, Facebook has kept friends and family connected, helped businesses grow, and entertained the population. All of which, is thanks to the consistent updates to the platforms on their webpage. As a result, Facebook housing ads have also changed their policies. These new rules affect marketers and advertisers, while impacting their clients such as home builders as well.

How it Happened

Unlike with most updates on Facebook, this one came as the direct result of a lawsuit. In March of 2019, The Department of Housing and Urban development sued Facebook for engaging in housing discrimination. On the grounds that Facebook was allowing advertisers to restrict who is able to see ads on the platform. Primarily based on characteristics such as race, religion, and national origin. Additionally, the housing department, known as HUD, claims that the company uses its data-mining practices to determine which of its users are able to view housing-related ads. This would put Facebook in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.

As a result of the lawsuit, Facebook has partnered with several national organizations, to help counter these allegations against them. The National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Communication Workers of America (CWA) have all helped establish changes that would better prevent housing discrimination from taking place on their website.

Special Ad Category

One of the first noticeable changes is the Special Ad Category. If you are in or want to reach people in the United States with ads that offer housing, employment, or credit opportunities, you must select the corresponding Special Ad Category. These ads will not go by by age, gender, ZIP code, multicultural affinity. It excludes any detailed options describing or appearing to relate to protected characteristics.

Advertisers using Special Ad Categories will no longer be able to access Lookalike Audiences; which help advertisers reach new users who closely resemble their existing set of users. Instead, advertisers will have to be able to create a Special Ad audience. Special Ad audiences are based on similarities in online behavior, without considering things like age, gender, and ZIP Code.

Similar Article: Real Estate Marketing Resources For Home Builders

Requirements & Restrictions

If any advertiser wishes to use Facebook housing ads, then there are rules that must be followed . As stated above, advertisements will not target by age. Instead, they have to operate in the standard 18-65+age range.

Zip Codes, are no longer in use in this form of advertisement. However, this is only a sample of the geographic target changes that await home builders. Before, home builders could target regions up to the nearest one-mile radius. Now they have to work with a maximum radius of 15 miles.

Similarly, The Special Ad Category comes with detailed limitations users must follow. These limitations include:

  • Developers and advertisers located in the U.S. or targeting users in the U.S and running ads with housing, employment and credit opportunities must specify their respective category.
  • Developers and advertisers located in the U.S. or targeting users in the U.S and whose ads do not fall under one of the categories must specify NONE. Otherwise the campaign creation requests will fail.
  • Developers and advertisers that are located outside the U.S. whose ads target users outside of the U.S. regardless of the category, should specify NONE as well.

Also, starting in 2020, advertisers and developers must modify any ongoing campaigns that began prior to December 4th 2019; in order to comply with these new requirements.

How to Navigate It

Going forward, it’s important to remember that there are still ways to be successful with Facebook ad campaigns. The use of visuals, words and messaging can be a great asset. You’ll want to be as clear and precise as you can. Make sure your readers understand that the home you are selling is something they would be interested in. That way you can get closer to the goal you are trying to reach. Make sure ad messages add up with the type of audience you are trying to attract.Facebook Housing Ads 2

Leveraging your re-marketing audience is another way to navigate the shift in Facebook housing ads. Your re-marketing audience will consist of a group of users you want to re-engage because of their likelihood to convert. We know that the process of buying a new home will be a lengthy one, so add in as many funnels as you can to the buyer’s journey. It’s a cost-effective way to mitigate the loss of relevance caused by these targeting changes.

Facebook employs the uses of many different campaigns in order to make the advertising successful. One such campaign that can be a great benefit is the use of conversion campaigns. This campaign type utilizes specific website events as the key performance indicator. They often rely on user signals to help Facebook prioritize who is going to see what ads. This tactic can be effective, if open communication is maintained. Always ensure that you are still engaging these leads and moving them along the funnel and buyer’s journey.

The changes made to Facebook housing ads have left an impact on the way advertisers are able to market. With that said, the most important thing for advertisers to remember is to be mindful of their client, and their boundaries.

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Nicole Wagner
Internet Marketing Director at Stevens & Tate Marketing
The landscape of the Internet is ever changing and Nicole has the energy and aptitude to keep Stevens & Tate Marketing out in front of the pack. She leads an enthusiastic team in strategic planning, development, search engine marketing, online promotions and advertising for the web.