Targeting Teens: What You Need to Know About Facebook and Google’s New Ad Rules

Sarah Kincius
August 26, 2021

Ah, adolescence. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times—and it was (and still is) a time of being easily influenced and not realizing it.

That’s why two of the Internet’s biggest advertising head honchos, Google and Facebook, have recently rolled out new ad policies for brands targeting minors.

Getting impressions from the impressionable will never be the same. Keep reading to learn more about the soon-to-be-disabled targeting features on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Google Ads, and more.


What Are Facebook’s New Targeting Policies For Minors?

At the end of July, Facebook announced via Instagram that advertisers will no longer be able to target young people under the age of 18 like they used to.

Although age-, gender-, and location-based targeting are still allowed, others like interest- and activity-based targeting will be completely disabled.

The reason for this update is to protect minors from having unwanted ad experiences. Although all accounts have adjustable ad settings, Facebook now feels that young people may not be “well-equipped to make…decisions” about what ads they do and do not want to see.

When teens turn 18, disabled targeting options will become available again. Facebook and its platforms will also notify these users about the updated targeting options, as well as show them how to access the ad settings on their account(s).

These targeting updates will go into effect on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger starting in mid-August (i.e. right now).


What Are Google’s New Targeting Policies For Minors?

A few weeks after Facebook’s announcement, Google made their own. Concerned with the increased online activity of minors, they plan to roll out more protections across a number of platforms and devices.

Like Facebook, the goal is to limit advertisers’ targeting options when it comes to users under 18. However, Google’s new targeting parameters differ. Although interest-based targeting will also be disabled, age- and gender-based targeting (which is not disabled on Facebook’s platforms) will no longer be available. Other targeting options apart from these 3 are still approved for use.

It’s unclear if Google will lift disabled targeting once underage users turn 18.

Other advertising updates include “expanding safeguards to prevent age-sensitive ad categories from being shown to teens.”

The timeline for the changes above are set to take place worldwide over the coming months.


So What Does This Mean For Advertisers?

If you’re a brand or business targeting minors in your campaigns, you’re going to need to get clever and creative with your ads from here on out.

One idea is simply to work with the limitations that be. Although targeting your ads might be a little more challenging across Facebook and Google’s platforms, it’s not impossible to tactfully utilize the options you have left.

Another idea could be running your ads on other platforms. Although it’s likely others will soon follow in Facebook and Google’s footsteps, Snapchat and TikTok still allow targeting across demographics, interests, languages, and custom audiences.

Still other ideas include working in new ad formats, like sponsoring an influencer, maintaining quality business social profiles, or even circling back to ads on more traditional media.

The important thing to remember is that these initiatives are not about restricting advertisers: they’re about protecting kids and keeping them safe online.

At the end of the day, targeting is just a tool. If you focus on generating quality ads, your content will do all the work for you.



Want more online advertising expertise? We’re not Premier Partners for nothing. Check out our previous posts on Facebook Ads and Google Discovery Ads. To learn how our ad team can knock your next campaign out of the park, request an audit.

Sarah Kincius

Sarah Kincius is a Naperville resident and student at Loyola University Chicago. She loves going to the Green Mill to read whatever’s etched on the bathroom stalls (and to listen to the music, of course). Sarah is currently teaching herself Italian from a book she found in Wisconsin.

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