Toward the end of 2021, some significant Facebook marketing changes became public. They would remove some of their ad targeting options. Weeks before, Facebook changed its name to Meta. This is when they announced their new corporate focus: the Metaverse.
What marketing changes did they make and why? What is the Metaverse? What does all this mean for your marketing?
Which Detailed Targeting Options Are Gone?
Meta gave some examples in their November announcement: Health causes, such as Lung Cancer Awareness, World Diabetes Day, and Chemotherapy. They also removed sexual orientation items, such as same-sex marriage and LGBT culture.
Religious practices and groups, such as Catholic Church and Jewish holidays also would disappear from target marketing. Meta also cited political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and figures – these categories were also on the chopping block.
If your ads used any of these options, you’ll see an error message that includes the text: “Cannot Use Invalid Detailed Targeting Options.”
Why did Meta make these changes?
Meta explained they needed to “address feedback from civil rights experts, policymakers, and other stakeholders on the importance of preventing advertisers from abusing the targeting options we make available.”
Shortly after these changes happened in January 2022, Meta announced they were removing more targeting options “because they are either not widely used, they may be redundant with others or too granular.” Thousands more options disappeared with this change.
What Can You Do About These Facebook Marketing Changes?
Some suggest fixing your ads by using Lookalike Audiences or broad targeting based on gender, age, and location. They say you can also look at custom audiences, by turning on Targeting Expansion or Lookalike Expansion.
However, this may all seem frustrating if what you were doing was working great. What else can you do?
Try looking for another core audience that meets your criteria. They may have removed thousands, but many still exist. Within your ad set, look for this detailed targeting text box:
Type in an interest. Then tap on the “Suggestions” link and you’ll likely see a list of more ideas. Some of these might match what you’re looking for. If so, select these to get even more targeting help from Facebook.
Yet there are more than just targeting options that changed.
Why Did Facebook Become Meta During These Facebook Marketing Changes?
In his October 2021 presentation, Mark Zuckerberg explained that while social media apps will “always be an important focus” for the company, the name Facebook is too “tightly linked to one product.” He added, “from now on, we’re going to be metaverse first, not Facebook first… That means that over time, you won’t need to use Facebook to use our other services.”
What Is The Metaverse?
Twenty-five years ago, people used their only phones to slowly dial up and connect to the internet. Many wondered how this new thing would make money. Now almost everyone palms one of their multiple internet devices.
Zuckerberg believes the metaverse will be the successor to the mobile internet. It will be an immersive 3D experience where you will be able to feel right there with people – something that is difficult to do with your device’s flat screen.
Playing a game with friends will feel like you’re all right there together in a different world, instead of just on your computer by yourself. Business meetings will mean eye contact and feeling like you share the same room – instead of just looking at a grid of faces on a screen.
Zuckerberg says it’s not about spending more time on screens. It’s about making that time better.
“Screens just can’t convey the full range of human expression and connection. They can’t deliver that deep feeling of presence. But the next version of the internet can. Technology that’s built around people and how we actually experience the world and interact with each other. That’s what the metaverse is all about.”
Virtual reality headsets, augmented reality glasses, smartphone apps, and other devices will connect us to this new internet.
What will people do in the metaverse? They can attend concerts, travel to natural wonders and distant cities, while they shop for virtual clothes, and more. The possibilities seem endless.
Did Facebook Invent The Metaverse?
Science fiction authors imagined the metaverse in the 1960s. MIT created the first virtual reality (VR) headset in 1968.
A company called Oculus made big tech advances in 2011. Facebook bought Oculus in 2014 for $2 billion. That is when Zuckerberg envisioned Facebook as a metaverse company.
Now all the big players are involved: Apple, Google, Microsoft, and the major gaming platforms. Wall Street predicts metaverse hardware and software will be a $1 trillion market.
What Does This Mean For Marketers?
Zuckerberg is making a big bet that people will willingly share far more of their personal data with Meta than they do now. Analyst Dan Ives says, “The metaverse is real and Wall Street is looking for winners.”
Industries like recorded music and journalism have had trouble monetizing the internet. Yet companies like Google and Meta have become tremendously wealthy trading the free services people want for their personal data.
Zuckerberg recently confirmed that “ads are going to continue being an important part of the strategy across the social media parts of what we do, and it will probably be a meaningful part of the metaverse, too.”Facebook marketing changes are only the beginning. As marketing continually evolves, winning means keeping up with these transitions.