What can Senior Living Providers do After Facebook’s Advertising Policy Update?

On March 19th, Facebook announced comprehensive changes to its advertising platform. Specifically, Facebook reduced ad targeting capabilities for the following industries:

  • Housing
  • Credit
  • Employment

These changes came as a result of continued backlash from civil rights groups like the National Fair Housing Alliance (NFHA), the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Communication Workers of America (CWA).

What do these recent advertising policy changes mean for senior housing and senior living marketing teams? And, are there any opportunities for senior living marketing teams to still engage with prospective seniors given these targeting restrictions?

We address these pertinent questions for providers below. Continue reading to learn:

  • A brief background into why Facebook placed restrictions on housing, employment, and credit advertising
  • How the reduction in targeting capabilities impacts senior living marketing team’s social media advertising efforts
  • Two tactics senior living marketing teams can take after the ad targeting capabilities are implemented

Why did Facebook Update its Ad Targeting Capabilities?

One of the benefits of advertising on Facebook is the granular ad targeting capabilities. Within housing, credit and employment business sectors however; ad targeting categories enabled some advertisers the ability to discriminate against marginalized and protected classes of consumers.

After receiving ongoing scrutiny which led to lawsuits from fair housing organizations like the NFHA, ACLU and CWA, Facebook announced sweeping changes to its advertising platform.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer, had the following to say in its Newsroom press release: “We’ve removed thousands of categories from targeting related to protected classes such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and religion. But we can do better.”

In its effort to cooperate with respected civil rights leaders, Facebook will implement the following changes:

  • Any business that wants to run housing, employment or credit ads will no longer be allowed to target users by age, gender, or zip code.
  • Advertisers offering housing, employment and credit opportunities will have a much smaller set of targeting categories to use in their campaigns. Multicultural affinity targeting will continue to be unavailable for these ads. Additionally, any detailed targeting option describing or appearing to relate to protected classes will also be unavailable.
  • Facebook is building a tool so anyone can search for and view all current housing ads in the U.S. targeted to different places across the country, regardless of whether the ads are shown to you.

Because senior living falls under the housing category, these changes irrevocably impact the way senior living marketing teams engage with prospective residents and ACIs.

How Will Ad Targeting Restrictions Impact Senior Living Social Media Marketing?

If your senior living organization provides levels of care such as assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, independent living and more in a community setting, it will fall under the housing business sector. Facebook removed roughly 5,000 targeting categories to better protect users regardless of age, gender, and zip code.

The individual in your senior living marketing team tasked with paid social media efforts may wince at these limitations. But from a marketing and engagement perspective, these changes present lucrative opportunities.

Tactic #1: Target Facebook Paid Ads to Interests and a Broader Geography

While your marketing team won’t be able to geo-target specific zip codes, it will still be able to target prospective residents and ACIs within a 15-mile radius. It’s unlikely that destination senior living community’s will be impacted by the revisions to Facebook’s advertising policy for the housing sector.

The 15-mile radius still provides ample opportunity for senior living marketing teams to engage with prospects. Ad copy and CTAs may need to be amended to encourage visits from prospective residents and ACIs. The summer months provide a compelling reason to invite prospective residents and ACIs to visit your community and experience your offerings firsthand.

Additionally, your senior living marketing team can still target users based on user behavior. So, if a user has liked pages related to senior living, your team will know it’s in the right wheelhouse based on online behavioral signals.

Tactic #2: Consider Extending Paid Ad Efforts to Facebook Messenger

During F8, Mark Zuckerberg shed light on the future of Facebook’s platform. The theme of “the future is private” was constantly reiterated during Zuckerberg’s Keynote. Responsible data collection is a mounting concern; whether on the international front with GDPR regulations or stateside. Data protection and privatization efforts will continue to be a priority in the coming years.

Those who have been following Facebook’s core algorithm updates shouldn’t be shocked by this stance within the Keynote presentation. For businesses, organic reach on Facebook’s Newsfeed has continually decreased. This almost forces marketers to place paid campaigns to reach desired audiences with a message aimed to convert traffic. Between reduced organic traffic and ad restrictions in the housing category, senior living marketers could look to leverage Facebook messenger marketing to connect with prospective residents and ACIs. With Newsfeed taking a backseat, marketers can have ads served in a more intimate setting, within the Messenger app itself.

Ostensibly, your community’s ad would be featured between chat conversations that are happening between friends on Messenger. This would give your community additional exposure that it otherwise wouldn’t have had. Consider targeting ACIs first, then scaling efforts and budgets based on initial success.

What Algorithm and Facebook Advertising Policy Changes Are Next?

Paid advertising accounts for 98% of Facebook’s annual revenue. Meaning, this decision wasn’t made lightly. While social media advertising is subject to change at will, one thing is for certain: a reputable and experienced partner can help advise and consult through industry upheaval. Linkmedia 360 takes a consultative role for senior living provider client partners when changes such as this occur.

Contact our team and we can help your community navigate through Facebook advertising policy changes and any shift in social media marketing.

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