Facebook has removed the ability to create Special Ad Audiences from the Ads Manager. The new policy went into effect on August 25th, 2022. As of October 12th, Facebook has paused any remaining ad sets that contain Special Ad Audiences. 

Changes in the Facebook Ads Housing Policy


Facebook has removed the ability to create Special Ad Audiences from the Ads Manager. The new policy went into effect on August 25th, 2022. As of October 12th, Facebook has paused any remaining ad sets that contain Special Ad Audiences. 

Real estate investors can restart ad sets once they have removed Special Ad Audiences from the sets. In addition, Facebook is creating a two-month window between preventing new Special Ad Audiences and pausing existing Special Ad Audiences so that investors have time to adjust budgets and develop new Facebook Strategies. 

What Is a Special Ad Audience?

To understand a Special Ad Audiences, you need to know what a Lookalike audience is within the Facebook advertising platform. 

Lookalike Audience

In the context of real estate investing, a lookalike audience would be people who are likely to be interested in selling their house fast because they share similar characteristics to your target audience or previous people who have triggered a conversion event on your website or landing page. When you use a Lookalike audience, you deliver the ad to the audience that 'looks like' your target audience. 

Special Ad Audiences

A special Ad Audience is similar to a Lookalike audience. However, the biggest difference is that it complies with the audience selection restrictions associated with your campaign's chosen Special Ad Category. 

As a result, Special Ad Audiences will not use targeting information such as 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Certain demographics
  • Behaviors
  • Interests

Why Is Facebook Discontinuing Facebook Ad Audiences

On June 21st, 2022, Facebook announced a settlement with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

The settlement ensures that Facebook ads target an eligible audience for the offer more accurately. The changes focus on key demographics such as race, ethnicity, gender, and age. The goal is to promote fairness and protect against discrimination. 

Facebook uses machine learning technology to ensure the age, gender, and estimated race or ethnicity of a housing ad's overall audience matches the age, gender, and estimated race or ethnicity mix of the population eligible to see that ad. 

The details of the settlement include

  • Requiring advertisers to certify their compliance with the non-discrimination policy.
  • Restricting how housing, employment and credit advertisers create their target audiences. 
  • Disabling the use of gender or age targeting
  • Requiring that location targeting has a minimum 15-mile radius. 
  • Maintaining all active ads related to housing, employment, or credit opportunities allows everyone to see the ads.
  • Removing ad targeting options people may find sensitive.

How to Continue with Your Facebook Ads

If you are a Freedom Leads client unaware of these changes, the good news is that Freedom Leads has already implemented changes across client accounts. Making the changes in the ad sets allows us to adopt best optimization practices and can use customer traffic to our landing pages to optimize ad targeting.

If you’re not a Freedom Leads client, you need to take three main steps to keep your Facebook Ads account active and generate high-quality motivated seller leads. 

  1. Remove special ad audiences.
  2. Test your budget to determine how much you need to allocate to your ad campaigns.
  3. Analyze the results and make adjustments to your campaigns as you go. 
  4. Test your audiences to ensure you are targeting the right type of home seller. 

You need to declare that if you run ads for housing, credit, employment, social issues, elections, or politics. Once you do, your options will change to prevent you from violating certain rules. If you fail to declare a Special Ad Category to get around these restrictions, expect to get ads rejected, and potentially your ad account shut down.

So, once you declare a Special Ad Category, your targeting for Housing, Credit, and Employment will be significantly restricted. It prevents ads that discriminate based on age, gender, and even location.

If you have any further questions about Special Ad Audiences or need help reworking your Facebook Ads after the changes, contact Freedom Leads. We help you get the most out of your Facebook Ads.

Start Generating 15-30+ Inbound Motivated Seller Leads Every Month

Freedom Leads can help you develop your online credibility profile and leverage that to generate consistent, qualified motivated seller leads who are pre-sold on working with you. Learn more about how we can help you implement our Motivated Sellers Marketing Program in your area.

To check the availability of your market, fill out our application form or contact us at 877-399-2259, and we will walk you through the process. We only work with a limited number of investors per area, so claim your market today!

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