IRS Contributes 3rd Party Income Data to Facebook (Example)

IRS Contributes 3rd Party Income Data to Facebook (Example)

As we know, Facebook has been under scrutiny when it comes to their targeting capabilities and what they can/cannot do.

Earlier this year, we learned that Facebook was removing many 3rd party categories from their targeting offerings and that they would take effect October 1st, 2018 (link here: This impacted many categories, including automotive, charitable donations, financial, job role, and residential profiles. At that time, we knew that Facebook would try and replace some of these categories to the best of their ability. We just didn’t know when.

Well, that time has come! Facebook is now introducing a way to target based household incomes (just in time for the October 1st deletion of many of their targeting categories).

Here’s how it will work:
By the end of this week, Facebook will release the ability reach US audiences based on their ZIP codes’ average household income. This information isn’t coming from just any source. It’s actually coming from the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

The information gathered is based on average household income per US ZIP code and they are broken down into only 4 audience segments:

· Household income: top 5% of ZIP codes (US)
· Household income: top 10% of ZIP codes (US)
· Household income: top 10%-25% of ZIP codes (US)
· Household income: top 25%-50% of ZIP codes (US)

How can you use this info? The segments were developed by ordering all US ZIP Codes by their average household income and then grouping them into different ranges. For example, the “top 5%” audience represents US ZIP codes that have been ranked in the top 5% of the country, based on average household income. It does NOT represent the specific households that comprise the top 5% of household income in the U.S.

It’s not as precise as the data once was, but so far, it’s the only 3rd party data that Facebook is allowing. Given this first step towards creating new targeting for their advertisers, I believe it’s only a matter of time before they release many more updates to their targeting capability that fall within their newly adopted guidelines.

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