Using Automation to Comply with Facebook’s HEC Ad Guidelines

When a social advertising giant changes its rules, an automated ad platform helps real estate and mortgage brokers keep up—and the results turn out to be a benefit for both brokers and home buyers.

Ensuring fair housing opportunities in the internet age can be difficult. In early 2019, this reality was—pardon the pun—brought home. 

A series of lawsuits filed by the ACLU and other civil rights groups alleged that Facebook’s ad targeting options for housing, employment, and credit (HEC) opportunities amounted to discrimination. These lawsuits forced the social networking behemoth to implement drastic changes to the targeting options available on Facebook Ads Manager.

Shortly after reaching a settlement on the ACLU lawsuit, Facebook significantly reduced interest segments for HEC ads from thousands to hundreds, and started building a new transparency tool to provide information on all current housing ads being run in the U.S.

For real estate and mortgage brokers, revising their ad settings manually would be a near-impossible task. So Adwerx, an Inc. 5000 provider of automated digital advertising services, worked with Facebook to automatically update hundreds of thousands of advertising campaigns—to ensure that more than 100,000 agents are all following the new Facebook HEC ad guidelines.

Automation for Seamless HEC Ads Compliance

Complying with the new guidelines can be time-consuming and complicated for advertisers who are used to targeting their audience by particular demographics. For example, guidelines prohibit Facebook’s HEC advertisers from targeting their ads based on people’s zip code. HEC advertisers also have to opt in to a special ad category for additional review.

Not to mention, the deadlines for compliance are looming. For ad campaigns that were created before December 4, 2019, all businesses located in the U.S. or targeting audiences in the U.S. have to comply with the new HEC ad guidelines by February 11. And the same types of businesses creating new HEC ads must comply with Facebook’s new HEC ad guidelines by March 31.

To help its customers quickly get into compliance, “We automatically tagged all of our customers’ running ad campaigns with the proper HEC categorization, and when necessary we also adjusted the ad targeting to meet the new HEC guidelines,” said Nick Sehn, Adwerx’s Chief Technology Officer.

Adwerx’s initiative demonstrates one of the key benefits of marketing automation: It saves your brokers’ precious time and effort, letting them focus on serving their customers and on creative, strategic marketing tasks. “We did all this for our customers without them having to make any decisions or changes to their running ad campaigns,” said Sehn.

A Big Win for Advertisers…and Home Buyers

Beyond the value generated for Adwerx’s customers, the most important achievement of automated ad technology may be that it improved inclusivity for home buyers—a clear win for everyone involved.

To learn more about how Adwerx’s Automated Advertising Platform can work for you and your firm, please visit

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