On March 28, the U.S. government sued Facebook for allowing advertisers to exclude whole categories of people from seeing ads for housing — couples with children, non-Americans, non-Christians, disabled people, Hispanics, and so on. I completely understand why the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says this violated the Fair Housing Act, which bans discrimination against certain “protected” groups.
But here is the thing: As someone who pays for ads on social media, I wonder how my choosing not to include a particular group that falls outside my target market is any different than targeted advertising that companies do every second of every day elsewhere?
By definition, selecting a target audience means you are intentionally excluding those outside the target. The whole purpose of target marketing is to focus on people who are the best prospects for your promotion — and if you can’t do that anymore, you would have to send your promotion to everyone in the world and marketing would therefore die, as would commerce.
Need help targeting the right market for your product or service? T. Nugent & Associates can help with that.