Facebook Removes Some Detailed Targeting Options: How Will It Affect Your Business

Written by Syed Qassim
Syed Qassim is the founder and the Content Chief Editor of Acabo CC. He mastered the art of branding, copywriting, web development and digital marketing for more than eight years. Follow him as he shares his expertise in marketing, business and design.
Published on February 2, 2022
You are reading: Facebook Removes Some Detailed Targeting Options: How Will It Affect Your Business

Facebook just recently announced the removal of some Detailed Targeting Options in the ad set level menu of the Facebook Ads Manager. If you are one of those who is worried about this huge update from Facebook, you are not alone.

Many business owners, especially the small-time startups that rely on Facebook advertising are so affected by this new update. They are worried that maybe, like the iOS 14 Update, it will greatly affect the performance of the campaigns that yielded a negative impact on their business.

But before we will dive deeper into the effect of the new Facebook update, we will first understand what detailed targeting is and how important it is for your business – if you are using Facebook advertising.

Whats is Facebook Detailed Targeting

Facebook Detailed Targeting is Facebook’s targeting option to maximize the number of audiences and to help you refine the exact group of audience you want your ads to be shown. Facebook determines this option through keywords that are dependent on your type of business.

For example, if you are selling scented candles, you want your ads to be shown to people who are interested in scents, perfumes, candles, or home fragrances. With the right settings of your targeting, your ads will be shown to the exact people that you want to reach.

Why Detailed Targeting is Important

If you tried running Facebook Ads, or any type of ads, you know exactly how targeting works and why it is important to tick the correct dot. With proper targeting, you lessen the risk of spending much of your ad budget. And, with proper targeting, you’ll likely generate positive results – greater conversion value.

Meaning, with your targeting properly set up in place, you could spend less and generate more sales.

How the Removal of Some Detailed Targeting Options in Facebook Will Affect Your Business


Now that you already have a rough idea of how targeting works and its importance, you wonder how your business will be affected by the new Facebook update.

Facebook did not remove the entire targeting options. They only remove some keywords that they believe are “sensitive.” This is in line with Facebook’s focus on achieving a “safer” social media platform for everyone.

An update published by Facebook, says, “we will remove Detailed Targeting options that relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.”

This means that detailed targeting keywords that relate to specific sensitive issues, groups, religion, or sexual orientation will no longer be available in the ad setting options – starting January 19, 2022.

What are the keywords not accepted in Facebook detailed targeting

In the recent Facebook update announcing the removal of some detailed targeting options, they did not include a list of unacceptable keywords. However, when some of those keywords are used in your existing ads, they will be highlighted in orange and you will receive a warning saying you need to edit or rectify these affected campaigns.

As you can see in the screenshot above, those keywords with warnings are examples of the detailed targeting that Facebook removed from their system.

Facebook has not released any specific keywords, they only specify to remove targeting that relates to sensitive issues as I have mentioned above.

How to properly target an audience without Facebook detailed targeting?

Now that Facebook removed some detailed keywords that are used to target narrowed audience, I have listed here the things you can do to reach a maximum audience without hurting Facebook algorithms:

  • Use broad targeting. The default Facebook targeting option. A lot of advertisers are using this since the inception of Facebook ads. Now, if you’re worried if your ads will be shown to people who are not your potential buyers or people who are out of your league, Facebook’s algorithms is highly sophisticated that it can identify if a person is interested in your product or not.
  • Target with Custom Audience. The custom audiences are the people who have already interacted with your business in the past. They can be from any of your social media posts, blogs, or YouTube videos. It’s easy to target these people without needing to use any keyword.
  • Maximize the Look Alike Audience. Facebook Lookalike audience are people who are similar to those that have interacted or have done a major event on your website or social media. Facebook really does a great job of collecting customers’ data and segregating it according to category. For example, you can create a Lookalike audience using the “Purchase” event. This means that Facebook will target those people who are similar to those who have already purchased from you in the past. Take note that the people that Facebook will be targeting are new people. Meaning fresh leads.
  • Location Targeting. If you want to target people in a specific location. Just set the audience to a specific country, city, or territory.
  • Use Non-sensitive Keywords. Facebook did not say you can’t use any words or the detailed targeting is no longer available. No. The option is still there, only the sensitive keywords are not reusable. How can I use keywords then? Just find keywords that you think are relevant to your business and you’re good to go.

Bonus tip: Just use the most relevant keyword

If you are using specific keywords that Facebook has already removed, you can try the most maximizing the keywords Facebook suggests during your ad set setup. You can also use other keyword research tools like SEMrush or Google Trends.

If you have more questions or want to share something about this new Facebook detailed targeting update, please leave a comment below.

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