I've spent more than $1 million on Facebook ads over the years. 

Granted, the vast majority of the money wasn't mine; it was part of campaigns that I ran for my clients and my employer. But for a long time I was a big believer. 

Facebook was the best platform I knew to target a very specific audience with ads, and to do it economically. Even if people complained about it, for a while it was a no-brainer. Everyone was on it. And the return on investment could be pretty amazing if you knew how to do it well.

It's been a couple of months now since I ran an ad, mostly because I changed jobs. But, I also hear anecdotally--and I've read--that ad rates and ROI aren't what they used to be on the platform. Partly that's because of the platform's change in direction. 

But as scandals abounded last year, Facebook also shifted to accommodate users fears and try to rehabilitate its image.

Here's the latest example: The news yesterday that Facebook has agreed to overhaul how users can advertise to target job ads, housing, and and financial services on the platform. 

In short, there will be no more limiting ads for these kinds of things so that you can target particular ages, genders, and zip codes. Of course, the point is to remove illegal discrimination from these kinds of ads on the platform. 

The changes will come into effect by the end of the year, apparently. 

Facebook is fortunate here, in that it gets the benefit of ridding itself of these kinds of complaints, while barely touching its own bottom line. Some observers say they think the burden will fall on small businesses that wanted to target like this for purely legitimate reasons. 

But, as a former Facebook ad buyer, I think it's a small price to pay. It's tough to remember sometimes that we're still in the toddler days of digital publishing and social media. 

These are the kinds of issues that businesses large and small will have to figure out together.

Here's what else I'm reading today:

Published on: Mar 20, 2019
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