Facebook (Meta) Special Ad Audiences is being discontinued in 2022

September 7, 2022

What are special ad categories and special ad audiences? 

Facebook (Meta) introduced Special ad categories to avoid discrimination and comply with laws in different countries. 

You'll have to choose a category for your campaign if you’re creating a campaign related to credit (including loans and credit card offers), employment (ads that promote job opportunities, job boards, career fairs), housing and social issues, elections or polictics. 

The audience targeting options for ads related to credit, employment or housing opportunities are limited or unavailable. Some of the limitations are related to age, gender, postcodes and interests. Exclusions, Lookalikes and Saved audiences are also restricted.

Hence, Special Ad Audiences was created which works in a similar way to Lookalike audiences but does not include personal attributes that can lead to discrimination. 


Facebook is deprecating special ad audiences due to their settlement with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The timeline for availability of special ad audiences is:

  • You can’t create special ad audiences after August 25, 2022.
  • Not available for use in new ad creation via the API from September 13, 2022.
  • Not available for use in new ad creations (Ad Manager and the API) from October 12, 2022
  • Affected ad sets may be paused and you may have to remove special ad audiences to resume delivery from October 12, 2022

How to move away from Special Ad Audiences?

Some of our suggestions to successfully navigate this situation are:

  1. Focus audience targeting in Special Ad category campaigns on interest and behaviour targeting.
  2. Use broader audiences.
  3. Run both offer and non-offer creative when possible. The non-offer creative can be set up in a standard campaign and more detailed targeting such as age, gender and lookalike targeting can be used.
Facebook automotive ad example - Offer
Facebook automotive ad example - Non-offer

      4. Run activity on multiple channels to improve audience targeting quality.

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