In March 2019, Facebook announced that it would make significant changes to its ad-targeting platform to prohibit advertisers from targeting or excluding groups based on personal characteristics like gender and race. As a result, Facebook made changes to the way it manages housing, employment and credit ads. According to the policy changes, US advertisers and advertisers targeting the US market must select a “special ad category” option for advertising campaigns that market housing, employment and/or credit opportunities. In doing so, the set of targeting options available for ads in these campaigns will be restricted.
To provide a little background, the negative consequences of microtargeting came to light following a ProPublica investigation that revealed Facebook let advertisers choose to hide their ads from certain people based on their ethnic affinities. Multiple lawsuits soon followed alleging Facebook allowed advertisers to unlawfully discriminate against minorities, women and the elderly by using the platform’s microtargeting to exclude them from seeing ads for housing, employment, and credit—three areas with legal protection for groups that have been historically disenfranchised. As part of historic settlement agreements with civil rights groups, Facebook made changes to its housing, employment and credit ads.
HOW THE SPECIAL AD CATEGORY AFFECTS JOB ADVERTISEMENTS, IN PARTICULAR
Advertisers offering employment opportunities, who are based in the United States or running ads targeted to the United States now have a limited set of targeting options to choose from.
Following are the restrictions:
1. Targeting based on age and gender is removed: To avoid discrimination based on gender and age, ads will be shown to all ages and genders.
Age and gender options are fixed and cannot be changed
2. Targeting based on zip code and location exclusion is removed: To avoid advertisers from targeting based on an area’s socioeconomic status, location selection must include all areas within a 15 mile or 25-kilometer radius of any selected location.
Location must include all areas within a 15-mile radius
3. Limited interest targeting options: To avoid discrimination based on behavioral and demographic factors, these targeting options have been removed. In addition, excluding audiences based on their interests is also prohibited.
Targeting based on behavioral and demographic factors are no longer an option
To avoid discrimination based on behavioral and demographic factors, these targeting options have been removed.
4. Excluding audiences based on their interests is also prohibited. For example, audience targeting based on job titles is not available anymore.
5. Targeting based on lookalike audiences is removed: Instead of lookalike audiences, special ad audiences can be used to create audiences based on people’s online behavior, rather than personal attributes.
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HOW DO THE CHANGES IMPACT ADVERTISERS IN THE RECRUITMENT SPACE?
With the removal of microtargeting tools, the performance of job advertisement campaigns may or may not see a drastic difference. But, the quality of conversions is likely to take a hit. Employers might end up spending more dollars to hire a candidate.
With broader target audiences, advertisers may need to rely less on Facebook for targeted job campaigns, and more for brand awareness campaigns.
With broader target audiences, Facebook retargeting assumes more significance. Advertisers can place Facebook pixel at multiple steps in the conversion funnel, so that advertisers can retarget such candidates who dropped off during the application process. For example, an advertiser can retarget all those candidates who have started a job application but didn’t submit it.
With reduced quality of conversions from targeted job campaigns on Facebook and frequent Facebook policy changes, it becomes crucial to have a comprehensive job advertising strategy in place. Having a comprehensive job advertising strategy mitigates risks which arise due to unexpected and/or unilateral changes made by publishers.
Joveo provides a comprehensive job advertising platform supporting 1000s of PPC, duration and slot-based job boards as well as Google and Facebook. To provide better performance of Facebook campaigns, Joveo also supports retargeting on Facebook.
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