March 16, 2020

Facebook’s Special Ad Category: Everything You Need to Know

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Facebook recently changed their approach to ads promoting housing, credit or employment industries. To see what's new with Facebook's Special Ad Categories, keep reading:

What is Facebook's Special Ad Category?

Advertisers in certain categories must identify as a "Special Ad Category" when creating a campaign. These categories and corresponding ads are outlined below:


  • Credit card offers
  • Auto loans
  • Personal and business loan services
  • Mortgage loans
  • Long-term financing
  • Credit cards (regardless of offer)


  • Full- and part-time jobs
  • Internships
  • Certificate programs
  • Job boards and fairs
  • Company perks and benefits


  • Home/condo/apartment sales and rentals
  • Homeowners insurance
  • Mortgage insurance and loans
  • Home repairs
  • Home equity
  • Appraisal services
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Why is Facebook's Special Ad Category important?

These special categories provide limited audience selection to prevent discrimination. Thus, certain businesses may need to rethink their advertising strategies.

What are some ways to broaden the limited audience?

    Interest-based targeting is somewhat limited. Instead, focus on new or similar interests for your target audience. For instance, home builders may target those who have an interest in “Zillow” or “Trulia.”
    Zip code targeting is off limits, but you can use specific locations with a 15-mile radius. For example, target residents Madison DMA or Madison + 15-miles. 
    Create custom audiences of website visitors, customer lists or social engagers. These lists are especially great for remarketing opportunities.
    Create an audience from people whose online behavior is like current customers. Use a custom audience list to create this new audience.

How does this affect advertisers using a Special Ad Category? 

To reach their desired target audience, advertisers may need to spend more budget.

Where is the option to select a special ad category?

Select the Special Ad Category at the Campaign level inside Facebook Ads Manager. 

Are there any specific restrictions when selecting Facebook's Special Ad Category?  

Ads that fall under this classification are limited in targeting options. Restrictions include targeting based on age, gender, zip code or behaviors. 

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