Developers Concerned that Facebook’s Implementation of Demographic Restrictions is Limiting App Revenues

Since Facebook announced its Demographic Restrictions feature in August, developers have been eager to take advantage of the new functionality (and simultaneous policy change) allowing them to target of-age users with advertising related to alcohol sales. However, since the new policy went into effect three weeks ago, some developers are experiencing challenges with Facebook’s implementation of Demographic Restrictions that are limiting their ability to derive revenues from the new feature.

Here’s how one top developer put it in a recent email to Inside Facebook:

<fb:restricted-to location=”us” type=”alcohol”> excludes users who have chosen to hide their year-of-birth from their friends even though Facebook knows the year-of-birth. According to our estimates, 28% users choose to hide year-of-birth from their friends. We are currently running a campaign for [—] but the number of impressions delivered are 28% less than what we would like.

While using <fb:restricted-to location=”us”> in an email campaign, Facebook does not deduce country from the IP address of the users but from what the user has specified in their profile. This is far worse – according to our estimates this excludes as high as 75% users. So if we wanted to do an advertisement in our reminder email targeting USA, we will leave out most of the users. The correct way would be to deduce the country from IP address when user signs up or uses Facebook and then use that information even while sending an email.

Top developers who are negotiating sales directly with alcohol brands or any other advertisers interested in reaching only a targeted portion of the Facebook audience need more robust tools from Facebook in order to be able to rely on Facebook’s Demographic Restrictions feature. Clearly, missing 30-70% of targeted users in a campaign is going to have a major impact on developers’ abilities to sell and perform successfully.