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Mar 16

Everything You Need to Know About Facebook’s New Special Ad Category


AmpliPhi Social Media Strategies works with clients around the country to help them reach their business objectives through social media and digital advertising. Team member Helen Kosterman at AmpliPhi has become a seasoned professional in running these campaigns through platforms such as Facebook. Near the end of 2019, Facebook implemented a ‘Special Ad’ category to accounts advertising in certain industries. This article will teach you all about the special ad category and why it is necessary in some cases.

What is a special ad category?

An ad will be rejected on Facebook or Instagram if you do not select Special Ad Category for three specific ad types. These include, but are not entirely limited to housing, credit or employment ads wished to be run on these platforms.

What do special ad categories include?

Housing opportunities or any related service, credit opportunities, or employment opportunities are all included under the Special Ad Category. This category is not only limited to the opportunities, but they are the most common. 

What’s the definition of a credit opportunity?

According to Facebook, credit opportunities include credit card offers, auto loans, personal or business loan services, mortgage loans, and long-term financing. They are ads that are directly linked to these opportunities, but these are not the only instances. Regardless of a defined offer, it also includes brand ads for credit cards.

This category hits our banking clients most often because it encompasses all of their financial services products. For example, if you’re trying to promote first-time home buyer mortgages, it becomes difficult because you cannot target these types of ads based on age. 

What’s the definition of employment opportunity?

Facebook defines this as, “ads that promote or directly link to an employment opportunity, including but not limited to part or full-time jobs, internships or professional certification programs. Related ads that fall within this category include promotions for job boards or fairs, aggregation services or ads detailing perks a company may provide, regardless of a specific job offer” (Facebook, 2020).

This category prevents your business from being able to discriminate against people of a certain age, gender, or characteristic of a specific type of audience for any employment related opportunities. 

What’s the definition of a housing or related service?

“Housing or a related service is defined as, but not limited to, the sale or rental of a home or apartment, homeowners insurance, mortgage insurance, mortgage loans, housing repairs and home equity or appraisal services” (Facebook, 2020).

A good example of a proper housing category ad would be a home builder promoting their services to people who live within a 15 mile radius of a specific city. A bad example would be that same home builder promoting their services to affluent zip codes and excluding non-affluent zip codes.

Why is this ad category important?

Unlawful discrimination is to be avoided at all times. These special categories provide those using Facebook or Instagram for business, audience selection tools that avoid discrimination. 

How can you broaden this audience?

These types of audiences can be broadened by selecting one of the approved interest-based targeting options. For example, that same home builder promoting his or her services can target people in a certain city with a 15-mile radius that have an interest in “Zillow” or “Trulia.” I mean, don’t we all, but at least that gives you a little something to go on. 

You also still have the option to set up remarketing audiences. For example, you can create a custom audience of people that visited your site or a certain page on your site and then target your Special Ad Category ad to those people. I love this option! I always recommend that clients create a valuable piece of content that anyone can relate to. This will drive interested traffic to the site and allow you to create a warm audience to target your message to.  

How does this affect advertisers who will have to use a Special Ad Category? 

It’s possible advertisers will have to spend more money to reach their goals on Facebook and Instagram. Without the ability to target an audience as closely as you may want, your dollars are less likely to be spent on exactly the type of person you’re trying to reach. 

Where do you select the option for a special ad category?

Special Ad Category can be selected at the Campaign level inside the Facebook Ads Manager. Once you select Special Ad Category you will have to select one of the special ad categories listed. 

Are there any specific restrictions that come with using Special Ad Category?  

Certain restrictions that are defined under Special Ad Category include location, age, gender, and detailed targeting. Under location you can not select specific zip codes to be targeted. You may, however, target your ads to people by their geographic location. Age restrictions do not allow you to alter this setting at all. You must run your ad to all people between the ages of 18 and 65+. You may not select a gender and all genders must be targeted. As for detailed targeting, certain demographic, behavior, and interest options are not available to be edited. 


Campos, Jessica. “How to Build Facebook Custom Audiences for Special Ad Category Groups.” Social Media Marketing | Social Media Examiner, Social Media Examiner, 11 Feb. 2020,

“Help: Choosing a Special Ad Category.” Facebook Business Help Center, 2020,