Advanced Facebook Ad Targeting 2022 Updates

Check Out These Advanced Facebook Ad Targeting Options!

Did you hear? Facebook just announced the removal of a lot of detailed Facebook ad targeting options starting January 19, 2022.

That means potentially adjusting the targeting in all of your ads.

Let us show you some advanced Facebook ad targeting options that you can use to adapt to this change (and run better ads year-round). 

We’re digital marketing professionals and we’ve spent years building audience lists and targeting ads.

We’ve run wildly successful campaigns due to excellent targeting, and have completely flopped because we struggled to find the right audience. 

Facebook ad targeting isn’t always as easy as it seems.

And it’s gotten more challenging lately with privacy updates and this new removal of certain detailed targeting options. 

Let’s get started! 

What Facebook Ad Targeting Options Is FB Removing? 

Some of the detailed targeting options they’re removing are simply because advertisers didn’t find them useful enough to use.

But they’re also removing a ton of other options that…

facebook ad targeting

“relate to topics people may perceive as sensitive, such as targeting options referencing causes, organizations, or public figures

that relate to health, race or ethnicity, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation.”

Facebook doesn’t have a specific list for us to peruse, but they do say that thousands of options will be eliminated. 

When Is Facebook Making This Change? 

Facebook is removing the options on January 19, 2022, so no new ads after that point will be able to use them.

Existing ads using those detailed Facebook ad targeting options will be treated in one of two ways: 

  • If you used the targeting to exclude people, your ads will be paused and you’ll need to update your audience.

Facebook will suggest alternative targeting when possible. 

  • If you used the targeting to include people, your ads will continue running and FB will automatically remove outdated targeting. 

What Other Facebook Ad Targeting Options Do I Have? 

If you have ads that will be impacted by these changes, you’re probably wondering what you can target instead. Facebook recommends:

facebook ad targeting
  • Broad targeting
  • Custom audiences
  • Lookalike audiences
  • Lookalike expansion
  • Targeting expansion

Before we move on, be sure to check out our new social media ads training course to learn more tips on FB ads straight from the pros.

Now let’s talk about how to update your ads if you’ve used this detailed Facebook ad targeting. 

How To Update Targeting In Existing Ads

You don’t have to scrap your ads and start all over again, especially if you have campaigns that are working well.

Just update the targeting in your existing campaigns and publish changes.

You should monitor them carefully to keep your social media KPIs and budget on track. 

How to Update Your Ad Set

We’re writing this before Facebook has made this change, so we can’t actually follow the exact steps they’re outlining.

We’ll list down the instructions from the website.

Then show you how to update Facebook ad targeting from Campaigns in Ads Manager. 

  1. Open Ads Manager.
  2. Select See Affected Ad Sets at the top right.

If your ad sets need to be updated, you’ll see a notification that we’re removing some detailed targeting options.

  1. Hover over your affected ad sets to make edits.
  2. From within your ad set, go to the Audience section and replace or remove the affected options.
  3. To update your ad set targeting, select the Remove Highlighted Options button at the top to update your targeting.
  4. Publish the changes.

Facebook will try to give alternate suggestions for targeting. 

To use a suggested alternative, hover over the flagged option and select the Replace button.

How to Edit Facebook Ad Targeting on Any Existing Ad

facebook ad targeting
  1. Open an existing campaign or ad set in Ads Manager.
  2. From the Ad Set, go to the Audience section.
  3. Create a new audience or use a saved one, then go to the Detailed Targeting subsection.
  4. To turn targeting expansion on or off, check or uncheck the Detailed Targeting Expansion box. (You may need to select Edit first.)

Advanced Facebook Ad Targeting Suggestions

Advanced targeting doesn’t have to be complicated.

In fact, some of the most “advanced” techniques that daily marketers use are actually pretty simple.

Let me run through some of the best targeting setups that you might not know about. 

1. Lookalike & Interest Targeting Combo Audiences

Depending on the nature of your business or service, some customers may not have a lot in common. That’s where lookalike audiences can fail you.

And, new privacy updates may make tracking lookalike audiences a bit more difficult.

That’s where you can combine a lookalike audience with interest targeting. 

Sometimes Facebook finds you lookalikes that are terrible leads.

And that’s not because the source audience was bad; it just means there aren’t enough similarities for Facebook to go off of.

Add detailed Facebook ad targeting to ensure your lookalikes are qualified before they get in the door. 

How to Add Targeting

facebook ad targeting
  1. From Ads Manager, create your Campaign.
  2. Choose your objective.
  3. In Ad Set, choose your targeting.
  4. You can add a saved audience, bring in a custom or lookalike audience, and ad targeting including detailed targeting.
  5. You can save this audience to use later.

2. Get Detailed With Your Targeting

Detailed Facebook ad targeting is still powerful – much more so than just choosing interests.

Detailed targeting options include:

  • Ads they click
  • Pages they engage with
  • Activities people engage in on Facebook related to things like their device usage, and travel preferences
  • Demographics like age, gender, and location
  • The mobile device they use and the speed of their network connection

You can add detailed targeting on top of custom or lookalike audiences.

Doing so will help you ensure your ads are showing to people most likely to be interested in what your business does. 

3. Opt for Audience Expansion

If you haven’t tried audience expansion, you need to give it a shot.

In fact, that’s a great candidate for an A/B test (you know how much we love those A/B tests). 

Lookalike and targeting expansion gives Facebook permission to look for people you haven’t specified…

…but who Facebook (through machine learning and algorithms galore) has identified as a probable good fit. 

If you have the Facebook Pixel installed and you optimize for value events, Facebook will now offer lookalike expansion to you.

This is active in Facebook accounts now (we got this notification the same day we wrote this post).

We suggest A/B testing expansion so you can make sure it’s actually a good fit for your ads.

Check out this post on Facebook ad testing to learn more about it.

4. Use Engagement As Your Source

Let’s face it, we’ve lost a lot of data on users who have opted out of tracking on iOS devices.

Facebook conversion API

That makes creating lookalikes off of their website or app activity even more challenging.

For starters, your source audiences will be much smaller using off-FB and IG activity than they used to be. 

To combat this issue, try to generate on-Facebook engagement and build custom audiences to use as your source for lookalikes.

If you use a value-based goal, you can rely on FB’s lookalike expansion to find even more people. 

Here are the Engagement Custom Audience types available:

  • Video
  • Lead form
  • Instant Experience
Instagram stories for small businesses


We hope this gave you some ideas for how to improve your Facebook ad targeting…

…so you can see more success for your ads and adapt to the ever-changing landscape of advertising on Facebook.

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