Facebook Ads UI Buzz Kill! Precise Interest Import Quietly Killed

Posted in Facebook Advertising

[Update: Received report from Jason Jell that his is able to copy/paste directly into UI, even absent + button. His report involve Win XP version 5.1 service pack 3, Chrome – 20.0.1132.47 m, Firefox – 10.0.1, IE – 8. Does not work for us. Tested: Mac OS X Lion 10.7.4 (11E2705), Chrome Version 20.0.1132.47, Safari Version 5.1.7 (7534.57.4) and FF 13.0.1. Please test and let us know which browser/OS combos work and do not. FB should put back the + if they are relying on copy/paste.”]

Facebook Ads has removed a key web UI feature that enabled non-enterprise-volume marketers to import Precise Interest targeting lists by text copy and paste.  The feature was invaluable to many. It’s hard to say what’s more of a bummer: a) That this particular feature, crucial to UI based workflow for smaller shops, was casually removed or b) That FB would remove any key feature without nary a comment, let alone documentation.  *Sigh* Marketing on FB is like having a love/hate relationship with a Miracle.

For quite some time, web UI users have been able to paste comma delimited text strings into the Precise interest attribute box, by way of that amazing little “+.” The capability opened a window to copy and paste cool psychographic targeting lists directly into the UI. That feature meant that any simple text storage DB worked well as an ersatz Precise Interest targeting library.

The little + is gone, poof, away! At first we thought it was a browser issue but, after a quick check of Chrome, fireFox and Safari, the terrible truth set in. Chalk this one up as a another FB UI hack lost. Bummer!

One might assume that FB wants to drive enterprise marketers to toolsets more, well…tooled… for higher volume production shops.   That’s an interesting notion because this change may signal FB helping its API partners make money, by driving high volume marketers to such expensive paid platforms. Another thought is that FB wants us to use their Web UI library tools, which are somewhat weak.  Perhaps there is a capabilities expansion coming that will help us forget.

PowerEditor, FB’s advanced Ads editor Chrome Extension, still allows us to paste Precise Interest text strings directly into the App’ UI window.  If you don’t have PowerEditor you’ll have to contact FB and ask for access, which is granted at the FB root account level.

It is also possible this loss is either an error or a temporary version issue, as the web UI evolves.  Either way, no doubt some shops are scrambling. We hope FB will consider rescinding this decision.

Making such crucial changes so casually makes it harder for marketers to defend the long-term value of FB Ads to clients.  It’s not the sign of a stable platform to play chicken with marketers like this. We’re supposed to be partners.  To be sure the revolutionary psychographic targeting hacks FB quietly adds to the UI  need to be considered. Still…I’m just saying. Your thoughts?

Image © caldix – Fotolia

  • Barry Tubwell

    I think if enough people complain about it, they will bring it back. Mark me down as being against taking the + away.

  • Catherine Kellogg

    I am also able to copy and paste comma delimited precise interest with no problem, whether these have # or not. I am using Chrome’s latest 20.0.1132.47 m version.
    You kind of scared me for a moment!

  • Kiko Correa

    Using Mac OSX 10.7.3 I’m able to copy/paste on both firefox and chrome.

    One thing though, it is EXTREMELY buggy when editing an existing ad vs. creating a new one.

    What I end up having to do is:

    erase all existing interests
    start typing until the autocomplete menu starts appearing
    after the autocomplete starts appearing paste interests

    There seems to be a bit of a lag for the interests to format right but it also seems to be working consistently.