With over 1.3 billion monthly active users, Facebook is one of the leading platforms for businesses to reach their target audience. As of today, there are over 9 million advertisers on the social media platform and the number is only increasing by the day owing to the results it delivers on its targeting.

Thanks to this large user base, online brands conduct interest targeting on Facebook to target ads at people who have expressed an interest in topics or products related to their business. For example, if you own an Asian restaurant, you could choose to target people who have previously liked "Asian cuisine" or "Asian recipes”, and the results would be fantastic.

To put things into perspective, brands have used interest targeting to achieve success with Facebook ads. Brands like Far East Flora used consistent interest to achieve success with Facebook ads. Personalized interest targeting led them to increase RoAS by 22% while AOV by 20%.

But these results were achieved before Facebook removed key evergreen interests. The set it and forget it approach to ads for hyper-growth no longer works, and brands now need to look for alternative ways to target their audience.

Facebook Changes with redundant detail targeting

Facebook is making some big changes owing to user privacy compliances and regulations. Starting January 19, 2022, they've removed detailed targeting related to topics people may perceive as sensitive.

That means you won't be able to target your ads with keywords like health causes (e.g., “Lung cancer awareness”), sexual orientation (e.g., “same-sex marriage”), religious practices, and groups (e.g., “Catholic Church”), or political beliefs, social issues, causes, organizations, and figures anymore.

In addition to that, Facebook stated that they're going to remove a bunch of detail targeting due to lack of usage. It’s official statement stated:

“As part of our latest efforts to simplify and streamline our targeting options, we’ve identified cases where advertisers — of all sizes and industries — rarely use various targeting options. Infrequent use may be because some of the targeting options are redundant with others or because they’re too granular to really be useful. So we’re removing some of these options”

How does this impact your Facebook ads?

If your ad sets were created before January 19, 2022 and contain any of the impacted targeting options, chances are they would have continued to run until March 17. After that, you may have noticed your ads being paused or sent warnings on.

Advertisers who don’t take any action on the redundant Facebook interests, may see the affected targeting options being used for inclusion purposes automatically removed. This can impact the reach of your Facebook ads and hence the conversions you get on them.

If your company relies on this type of targeting for some or all of your ads and campaigns, we recommend taking action now to find new ways to reach your audience—especially if you’re a small business owner who can’t afford large advertising budgets.

So, what’s the next step? Update your Facebook ad sets.

What to do next?

When Facebook removes redundant targeting, the easiest solution is to find other interests or use Lookalike Audiences. This way, you'll be able to reach people who have similar interests but are not currently part of your targeted audience.

Facebook is constantly trying to make its platform more targeted and efficient for advertisers, so they don't want you targeting the same people with multiple ads.

That's why when you create an ad set, they'll let you know if some of your criteria overlap—and they'll ask you if you want to remove that overlap.

How to update your Facebook ad sets?

If your ad set is getting flagged, the safest bet is usually just to remove the overlapping targeting or interests. Here’s how to update your Facebook ad sets:

  1. Open Ads Manager.
  2. Select ‘See affected ad sets’ in the top right. If your ad sets need to be updated, you’ll see a notification that we’re removing some detailed targeting options.
  3. Hover over your affected ad sets to make edits.
  4. From within your ad set, go to the Audience section and identify the redundant interests or detailed targeting
  5. Go to Alavi Insights and search for the redundant interest to find 100s of similar interests.
  6. Replace suggested interests identified from Alavi insights and make sure to pick interests with high customer percentages.
  7. To update your ad set targeting, replace the new interests with the redundant interest. Publish the changes.

Examples of how Alavi helps brands successfully replace removed interests

Ever since Facebook removed interests from its platform, Alavi has helped numerous brands successfully replace removed Facebook interests with custom audiences and lookalike audiences that target people based on similar interests, behaviors, and demographics.

Here are some use cases of how we did it:

Target Ramadan with interests

Alavi helps brands to replace removed interests by providing insights on other related interests and helping them personalize their offerings.

For example, Facebook has removed all the targeting related to Ramadan shoppers so that you will end up not knowing how to target Muslim buyers in a multi-religion country.

Brands approached Alavi to gain insights to identify other interests related to Muslim shoppers.

Using Alavi many global brands found that interests such as “Saudi Arabia”, and “Pakistan” are more related to the Muslim community in any country. This allowed them to provide personalized offerings to consumers within these countries only and not target their ads in countries like the UK or India.

Valentine interests

If you're a brand that has been affected by the removal of interests related to Valentine's Day, Alavi Insight can help you find replacement interests that will help you reach your target audience.

One of our recent projects was a gift-giving brand that was looking to reach people who were interested in Valentine's Day. They had noticed that Facebook was removing many of the interests related to Valentine's Day, which is a popular holiday for gifting. We used our data science algorithms to identify similar interests that could replace the removed ones and then created ads targeting those interests and re-engaging them with new content.

The results? The client saw an increase in engagement, clicks, conversions, and sales!


If you’re seeing a dip in ad reach or notification about redundant interests, it’s time for you to update your interests.

That’s where Alavi comes in. We help brands uncover related interests and optimize and expand their online campaigns easily, quickly, and effectively. It’s one less thing for you to worry about—so you can focus on what really matters: creating quality content that people love!

Eager to see how Alavi can bring a difference to your ad campaigns? Get a Demo now

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Developed for small and medium businesses, Alavi is a martech application that performs predicative analytics on your customers’ behavioural data. By combining AI, machine learning and automation, it helps digital marketers better understand their audiences, improve their targeting, and scale confidently profitably.

Alavi has a proven record of helping brands in a variety industries grow their revenue online. It has a very short time-to-value and is easy to setup and use.

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