Logo/White Created with Sketch. Logo/White Created with Sketch.

In light of Meta restrictions – how to drive effective recruitment ads

1. Summary 2. What to do?

By: Johann Ytredal, Helene Kvernaas

Published: Sep 07, 2022

facebook-logo twitter-logo linkedin-logo

Facebook is taking action against discrimination. In late 2021, Meta introduced the Special Ad Category, which affects advertising within four categories: work, credit, housing, elections, and politics. This article will explain what marketers need to know about Meta's new ad category and how to master online recruitment.

Facebook has always been a popular choice when it comes to employer branding. It is a platform that offers excellent reach, served at a cost-efficient price. However, continuous changes within the digital landscape require marketers to look at new, creative ways to get the most out of the most prominent social platform. In addition, we are currently in an employee market, resulting in fierce competition among employers. Those who know how to master Facebook’s new rules for recruitment will have a clear advantage when handling employer branding on Meta. 

So, what is Meta’s Special Ad Category?

The Special Ad Category has emerged to enforce the rules against ads that discriminate based on demographics, age, and/or gender. The following categories are included:


• Credit

• Employment or housing

• Social issues

• Elections

• Politics

How does it affect us?

In the past, users of Meta Business Manager had nearly endless opportunities to target and exclude ads to whomever they desired.

Today, campaigns within the “Special ads” category have limited targeting options, and Meta continuously constricts our possibilities. We can only target based on a selection of predetermined interests that are all very broad. We still have options for lookalike audiences based on previous segments, but these are also somewhat restricted. 

What do we do?

How are we going to manage to hit the right prospects when we no longer have the same opportunities for targeting? Are we forced to aim broadly, resulting in bleeding ad spend? Not if we do it right. Let us look at two factors that will be particularly important going forward:


Captivate your audience through intelligent targeting. Based on previous campaigns, spend time focusing on custom audiences from a similar audience. Gather insights on their engagement, both from Instagram and Facebook. Use custom audiences based on previous campaigns together with look-a-like audience. These data are considered very valuable for your re-targeting.


Custom Audience lists are also an effective way of navigating targeting loss. 


With fewer opportunities in the technical part of social media advertising, the assets become even more critical.


In other words, the content creates relevance and value in your desired target group, and is therefore essential in pursuing potential employees and converting the right prospects. 


Reaching a broader audience, marketers need to be specific in whom they are looking to hire and what they can offer. Aim to be perceived as relevant within seconds among potential employees. The clearer the message, the less attention from irrelevant users. 

What about the marketing mix?

Look for possibilities of expanding your choice of platforms. Facebook remains a popular platform related to employer branding, although we have gained fewer targeting options. From our experience, marketers need to reevaluate their company’s marketing mix from relying on Instagram and Facebook.

Linkedin or programmatic ads can provide high value related to recruitment. They are well suited for job-related ads due to detailed targeting options and contextual placements.

Has employment become hopeless due to the restrictions?

No, it is by no means a hopeless challenge. If anything, it is a great chance to reevaluate your strategy and work smarter with distribution tactics. It is a challenge that requires us to think outside the box – especially regarding placements, targeting and content. Anyone familiarising the new game rules can quickly have a huge advantage in today’s tough battle among the most desirable employees. Good luck!