If you’ve been in Ads Manager recently or if you are a business owner thinking of doing your own social media ads, you may have noticed or heard about a slight but frightening change to your targeting options when using conversions as your campaign goal.
Facebook will now require Detailed Targeting Expansion for all conversion campaigns that may impact performance for any Interest-based or Behavior-based targeting. Specific demographic targeting and custom audiences should be unaffected.
Up until recently, when selecting your audience in your Ad Set, you had the option to opt-in or opt-out to what was called, “Detailed Targeting Expansion”.
Detailed Targeting Expansion was kind of a mystical feature that some advertisers swore by and others avoided at all costs.
According to Facebook, “Targeting expansion can help improve your campaign performance by allowing our system to reach a broader group of people than you defined in your detailed targeting selections.”
Internally, we’ve tested Detailed Targeting Expansion extensively and have found times when it was best to use and other times it was best to leave it unselected. AdExpresso has also done experiments as well and found very similar results that we did.
But now this feature is MANDATORY on all Ad Accounts for conversion campaigns.
See the difference?
Facebook is no longer suggesting that you select Detailed Targeting Expansion, they have it turned on by default and you can no longer opt-out.
So if your account hasn’t had this feature updated, it will soon.
We are ready to help you:
What is Detailed Targeting Expansion?
Detailed Targeting Expansion is Facebook’s way of saying, “Ya your audience targeting is ok, but I think I can do better.”
This is how Facebook describes this feature:
Our ad delivery system uses the demographics, interests, and behaviors you select through detailed targeting as a guide for ad delivery, while also dynamically assessing performance.
If our system finds better performance opportunities outside your defined audience, targeting expansion allows us to dynamically make updates that reflect where we’re seeing better performance and we may expand your audience further to include similar opportunities.
When creating a new Ad Set within a campaign, advertisers have the option to identify very specific demographics, interest categories, and behavior types that they would like to target with their ads and offers.
You can think of Facebook as a giant ball pit with all these different colors and categories of balls. With audience targeting you are telling Facebook I only want to show my ads to all the green balls.
You do this because you think that type of person is the BEST FIT for your offer, product, or service.
So your targeting may look like…
- Moms with children under 3 in Utah who enjoy True Crime TV shows AND In’n’Out Burger but DO NOT show interest Oprah = Potential Reach: 250,000
- Men in the US who use an Android phone and watch ESPN but DO NOT show interest in yoga. = Potential Reach: Size 850,000
- Women business owners in Canada who have recently shown interest in Hubspot, Intuit, and ActiveCampaign AND show interest in Amy Porterfield = Potential Reach: 450,000
By selecting Detailed Targeting Expansion for any of these ad sets, Facebook will EXPAND the audience size if the system thinks that someone else (outside your specific targeting) may be likely to convert on your ad.
So with Detailed Targeting Expansion turned on your targeting may now look like this:
- Moms with children under 3 in Utah who enjoy True Crime TV shows AND In’n’Out Burger but DO NOT show interest Oprah + Detailed Targeting Expansion Audience = Potential Reach: 260,000,000
- Men in the US who use an Android phone and watch ESPN but DO NOT show interest in yoga. + Detailed Targeting Expansion Audience = Potential Reach: 70,00,000
- Women business owners in Canada who have recently shown interest in Hubspot, Intuit, and ActiveCampaign AND show interest in Amy Porterfield + Detailed Targeting Expansion Audience = Potential Reach: 56,00,000
The main issue advertisers have with this feature was the lack of clarity around what it actually does and how.
By selecting Detailed Targeting Expansion, your selected audience could go from a few hundred thousand to millions. But the who, what, or how of that expanded audience is unclear.
On some ad sets having the Detailed Expansion Audience selected helped the total CPA but on others, it seemed to increase it. We select this in certain situations but leave it off on others.
Now every ad set for a CONVERSION campaign has it selected by default.
Other campaign types (Messages, Traffic, Brand Awareness, Engagement, etc.) are currently not affected by this update. But Detailed Targeting Expansion is available for these campaign types and may be mandatory at some point too.
Ok, so why is this feature suddenly mandatory?
Facebook announced during the Marketing API v12.0 update that;
“Starting September 21, we will begin rolling out updates to Detailed Targeting Expansion and Lookalike Expansion for advertisers who optimize for conversions, value or app events using the conversions objective.
For advertisers who leverage Detailed Targeting and optimize for conversions, value or app events using the conversions objective, Targeting Expansion will now be automatically applied.”
Many industry leaders speculate this is part of the ongoing effort to fight the effects of iOS14.
Facebook is looking to counter some of the data loss that occurred when Apple gave users the option to opt-out of pixel tracking from Facebook and other advertising platforms.
Now, the system has less data to work with to decide which users to show which ads.
So in an effort to help Facebook’s system detect better targeting options, Facebook has made audience expansion mandatory in conversion campaigns.
Still not sure what any of this means,
but want to run ads for your business and offers, let’s chat together and get Facebook ads off your plate.
How will this affect my ad set performance?
The good news is that while Detailed Targeting Expansion is opted in by default on all ad sets in conversion campaigns, that doesn’t mean it will actually activate in all situations.
Detailed Targeting Expansion will still follow the age, gender and location that the advertiser sets and will also take into account any exclusions.
Cold audiences where advertisers are relying on Facebook to find new people to interact with will be most affected.
When you select your cold audience from interests and behaviors, Facebook will take that into account but will also show your ads to people outside of your selections if it thinks this will increase ad performance.
If you are using lookalike audiences, Lookalike Expansion will now be automatically applied.
Lookalike Expansion uses your seed (website, mobile or customer list custom audience) to guide delivery, meaning you maintain control of your seed used for Lookalike creation but we may deliver ads beyond the current 1-10% lookalike range, if our system predicts it’s likely to improve performance.
If you are using warm Custom Audiences for retargeting, expansion will not go beyond the Custom Audience.
A custom audience means a pixeled list (like your website traffic or engagement lists) or an uploaded email list of customers or leads.
If you combine both your custom audiences with additional interest groups, only the audience from your interest groups will be expanded and not the Custom Audience.
Still not making sense...
..or sick of FB’s random changes? Turn it over to the marketing experts at Badass Marketing Moms by booking a complimentary strategy call
Facebook will ALWAYS be making changes to their platform (and their name lol) but one thing that won’t change is the importance of OWNING your list and dialing in your messaging.
By owning your list (through email, SMS, or DMs), you won’t be as impacted by changes to specific platforms because you’ll be able to stay in touch with your audience outside of any platform changes.
By dialing in your messaging to speak directly to your audience, you will still attract your ideal customer through ads even if Facebook is expanding your reach.
It just means you might bump into more of them in pockets of Facebook you might not have thought to target.
If all the Facebook changes have your head spinning and you just wish someone would handle this scandal for you, seriously let’s chat.
Our team is ready to help you scale your business on Facebook regardless of what changes or updates might be around the corner.
And the best part? You won’t have to worry about them anymore.
Your team of Badass Marketing Moms will handle it for you.