Advanced Facebook Ad Targeting 2023 Updates - Digital Marketing Blog (2023)

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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!


  • Facebook doesn’t have a specific list for us to peruse, but they do say that thousands of options will be eliminated.
  • You don’t have to scrap your ads and start all over again, just update the targeting in your existing campaigns and publish changes.
  • Facebook will try to give alternate suggestions for targeting and to use it hover over the flagged option and select the Replace button.

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…

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“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.

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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:

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  • 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

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  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

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  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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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  • Shopping
  • Instagram account
  • Events
  • Facebook Business Page


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.

If you’re looking for experts to help you with your FB ad campaigns, work with our Facebook advertising services today.


Advanced Facebook Ad Targeting 2023 Updates - Digital Marketing Blog? ›

In 2023, the platform has introduced AR ads that allow businesses to offer an immersive experience to users. With AR ads, businesses can showcase their products in 3D, allowing users to visualize the product in real-time before making a purchase.

What are the new updates in Facebook ads 2023? ›

In 2023, the platform has introduced AR ads that allow businesses to offer an immersive experience to users. With AR ads, businesses can showcase their products in 3D, allowing users to visualize the product in real-time before making a purchase.

Are Facebook ads still relevant in 2023? ›

Facebook advertising is still essential for businesses. Marketing your ads on Facebook gives your brand the opportunity to put its best ad content in front of 2.95 billion people. Short answer: Yes.

What are the trends for Facebook 2023? ›

In 2023, Facebook plans to further expand its VR and AR offerings, including new features and applications that will change the way people engage with the platform. As virtual and augmented reality become more prevalent, businesses will need to think about how they can use these technologies to engage with followers.

How do I optimize Facebook ads 2023? ›

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What are some of the new updates on Facebook ads Manager? ›

The updated Ads Manager combines the comprehensive charts and activity history of Power Editor with the breakdowns, summary rows, date benchmarks, exported insights reports and the ability to customize columns from Ads Manager. Now advertisers can create, manage and view results in one easy to use interface.

What are the new Facebook ad goals? ›

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What is the Meta trend in 2023? ›

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What are the trends for 2023 media? ›

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What are the best times to run Facebook ads? ›

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  • Best day: Wednesday.
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How to Maximize Your Facebook Ad Reach
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What is better than Facebook ad Manager? ›

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What are the 4 main Facebook ad formats? ›

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What is Facebook going to be called now? ›

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Some estimates suggest it will register a compound annual growth rate of 14.7% through 2027. So, over the next five years, Meta's revenue should bounce back, given the 3.74 billion monthly active users across its websites and apps. This ecosystem is too large to ignore.

Will meta go up in 2023? ›

Long-term projections have Meta at $272 by the end of 2022 and $360 by the end of 2023. Meta stock will hit $470 in 2025, $580 in 2027, and $765 in 2030, with further gains expected thereafter.

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Top New Technology Trends
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What digital marketing trend is predicted for 2023? ›

In 2023, major trends will likely center around influencers, chatbots and creative content that engages your audience. But no matter which strategies and platforms you use, the most important thing to keep in mind is how you will use them to enhance your brand's presence.

What is one major blogging trend predicted for 2023? ›

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What is next in social media 2023? ›

According to Talkwalker, multi-sensory social media will trend in 2023. Multi-sensory media is the integration of different formats such as audio, video, text and even fully-immersive environments. This helps to bring new and more engaging experiences to social media users.

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Overall, the average conversion rate for Facebook ads is between 9-10%. View the list below for an industry-by-industry breakdown of conversion rates for Facebook ads.

How many days should I run a Facebook ad to see good results? ›

Learning phase

It normally takes 48 hours for Facebook to exit this phase. During this learning, performance is less stable so your results aren't always indicative of future performance of your ads. Remember, don't plan to run an ad for less than seven days and test each element for at least seven days.

Should I turn my Facebook ads off at night? ›

Run your ads on schedule. This means showing your ads based on your audience's time zone. You might even need to pause Facebook ads at night especially if your ads require filling out a form or completing a purchase. (These things require effort from your audience.)

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Anticipate spending about 3 to 5 hours a week on your ad campaigns for the first 3 months to get things working. After that, you can do as little as 1 hour a week to keep that momentum going. It will take you creating several different types of ad campaigns over several weeks to start to get the hang of what's working.

Why is my Facebook ad reach so low? ›

The most likely reason your reach is limited is you have an insufficient ad budget. A low budget means you'll miss out on opportunities to show your ads. Raising your budget will let your ads run more frequently and for longer in the day...

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Facebook Has Massive Market Share

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Influencer marketers ditch celebrities for micro-influencers. Short-form video is the highest ROI format and will see the most growth of any trend in 2023. Funny, trendy, and relatable content will stand out all 2023. Instagram is the highest ROI platform and will see the most growth of any social app in 2023.

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In light of Zuckerberg's inaction, more than 40 major brands across a variety of industries, including Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Unilever, Verizon, Ford, Ben & Jerry's, Denny's, and The North Face have halted their paid advertising on Facebook — some of them just for the month of July.

Why are Facebook ads declining? ›

There is a chance that your card has expired, or hit credit limit. All you need to do is update your payment method under the "Billing" section of your Facebook Ads Manager. If you plan to use debit or credit card, do ensure that your IP location / country is same as your card's issuing country.

Which industries use Facebook ads the most? ›

However, industries like retail, e-commerce, real estate, consultancy agencies, investment companies, fitness, and healthcare benefit the most from Facebook ads. In this world of incredibly high competition, businesses need to realize the wisdom behind first-mover advantage and avail these services.

What is the most powerful social media marketing strategy in 2023? ›

If you're a marketing leader wondering where to invest your budget, time, and resources in 2023, it's imperative you consider influencer marketing. Influencer marketing has proven to be one of the most effective strategies for social media marketers.

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The best marketing strategy in 2023 will be one with integrated video and written content: Pringle adds that websites still need text information but adding video to showcase products (and then having the ability to add to social media) will help marketers expand their reach to a wider audience.


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