Are you a financial institution currently running ads on Facebook? Fair-lending laws may have a significant impact on your social media advertising strategy.

Are you a financial institution currently running ads on Facebook?

Are they related to credit card offers, auto loans, personal and business loans, mortgage loans, home equity loans and credit lines? What about forms of insurance, such as homeowners and mortgage coverage?

The Equal Credit Opportunity Act and other fair-lending laws’ application to social media advertising is consistently being debated, but regulators believe they do and can review social media assets in exams. If your company were to undergo an exam, would your creative and social media advertising targeting, among other marketing practices, pass the test? Be sure your company is not unintentionally being discriminatory with your current advertising strategy.

Implications of fair-lending laws on social media advertising

Recently, more and more ads have been getting disapproved by Facebook due to a change of regulations concerning credit, recruitment and all things housing related. Banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions are starting to lose the very thing that made Facebook the right place to advertise: the ability to home-in a specific audience, with a specific message as of August 2019. Unfortunately, specific targeting in this space, like those around age, gender, multicultural affinity and zip codes, may be unintentionally falling under discriminatory practices. While your strategy in how you are utilizing the platform may need to shift, you will still have the ability to target using Facebook’s new Special Ad Audience, similar to Facebook’s lookalike audience feature which can no longer be used by companies in this space.

Aside from using Facebook’s new Special Ad Audience as a replacement for their lookalike audience, there is also a special category for all ads that are promoting credit, housing and employment. Utilizing this category can help you adhere to the latest rules and regulations in the social media advertising space.  Once you are using the new features, you may realize your targeting needs to change, which will likely impact your creative, and potentially not just for your social media advertising. The adjusted role your social media advertising plays in your overall marketing plan changing may mean a review of your typical approach across media. Consider the impact this latest change on Facebook has on your 2020 planning.

Audit your social media and overall marketing plan

Getting your social media advertising back on track doesn’t have to be overwhelming, here are some suggestions:

Educate: Whether you work with a trusted partner on your advertising or you are running everything in-house, be sure everyone is up to speed on not just the new rules and how to effectively use the new tools within Facebook.

Evaluate: Look at your current marketing plan and creative through the lens your new target audience may be. What messages and imagery will connect given the shift?

Edit: Make changes to your current plan and creative based on the new audience and plan of action.

Expand: Consider using the new rules as a reason to expand your audience on social media. How can reaching a larger, less focused audience on Facebook benefit your plan? And how will you reach more targeted audiences now that you are limited on Facebook?

A change in the advertising rules may be a blessing in disguise, offering your team and/or agency partner the chance to take a step back, think strategically about your ads and their audiences, and reach new potential. In this fast-moving digital era marketers must be vigilant and fine-tune their strategies on the fly. This will ensure your business will remain competitive, resilient and successful in the face of change.

Looking to activate your firm’s marketing potential? Reach out to us today.