Facebook Audience Insights Is Going Away… But Is It Really?

This article was first published on June 28th 2021, you’ll find updates near the end.

When you’ve used Facebook Audience Insights the past weeks, you may have noticed a dramatic red announcement that says:

Facebook Audience Insights Is Going Away Soon.

So after random advertising account bans and the dreadful iOS14 adpocalypse, advertisers have something new to freak out about…

But is Facebook Audience Insights really going away?

The short answer is NO.

As always with Facebook changes, the communication and the impact is unclear. So I have received a lot of questions about it recently.

Which is why I’ve decided to summarise my findings in this blog post.

To help you better understand:

  • What is going to happen to Facebook Audience Insights ?
  • What is the impact of this change?
  • How does this change affect InterestExplorer?
  • What are we going to do about that?

What is going to happen to Facebook Audience Insights?

Well, first of all, Facebook Audience Insights is NOT going away.

Facebook is transitioning the Audience Insights interface we all know to a new interface called Facebook Business Suite Insights.

This transition has been going on for a while, which you may have noticed when you were redirected to this new tool (where you could still opt-out and use the “old” one).

Starting July 1st 2021, the familiar Audience Insights interface will no longer be available.

As this article by Facebook clearly states, the new interface will have the same functionality and data as the former one, like:

  • Page Likes (Facebook only)
  • Followers (Instagram only)
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Top Cities and Countries
  • Location
  • Interests

​​Interests? Well that interesting…

I’ve never seen interests in Facebook Audience Insights apart from the Page Likes that are specified separately (I’ll get back to this…)

What is the impact of this change?

Firstly, Facebook Audience Insights is not going away but it’s moved to a new interface inside the Business Manager. That means that you can only use it with a Business Manager account.

Secondly, while Facebook announced to make the current interface unavailable on July 1st, the new interface isn’t fully operational yet.

While testing it myself I noticed it’s really buggy. It does show a list of Top Pages already, that’s a good start.

But it shows the same 10 pages for (almost) every interest…

Or it just keeps loading…

So it seems they still need to work on that a bit.

But, it still offers the same filters in a fresh design. You can still specificy your audience demographics and interests and then analyse the potential audience. Just like in the “old” version of Facebook Audience Insights.

As July 1st is just a few days from now, I’m not sure if Facebook will postpone the transition (like they did with CBO’s, lookalike country selection and many more announced changes).

Or if they will push through with bugs that still need to be addressed, like the Top Pages overview.

We’ll have to see…

How does this change affect InterestExplorer?

It affects a part of InterestExplorer.

Our software consists of the interest search tool and the Chrome extension that provides targeting info in Facebook Audience Insights.

The search tool uses Facebook’s API as a data source to reveal hidden interests. This main tool is unaffected by Facebook’s upcoming change.

The Chrome extension runs on top of the current Audience Insights page to scan the “Page Likes / Top pages” and then shows a target Emoji to indicate if these Pages match an interest that can be targeted 🎯

Obviously the extension will be affected, because Audience Insights is moved to another page and the extension needs to be adjusted to that.

The good news:

  • Facebook Business Suite Insights will still show Top Pages liked by your potential audience. So you can still use that in your research to find interests that define your ideal customer persona.
  • We think we can adjust our Chrome extension to run on top of that new insights page and highlight targetable interests there 🎯

The bad news:

  • The new Top Pages overview is still buggy now, because it shows the same 10 Top Pages for almost every interest.

What are we going to do about it?

We have decided to wait for more clarity on July 1st 2021.

It’s still unclear if they will enforce the switch or postpone it to fix the bugs in the new interface. And right now users are redirected to different interfaces (some to the “old” and some to the “new”).

We are monitoring the situation closely to be ready to act on it and make the required changes to our Chrome extension.

One thing to be sure of when working with Facebook is that they’re always making changes and communication about is always unclear.

But it also comes with new opportunities.

I’ve never seen “interests” in Audience Insights, so I’m looking forward to see how Facebook will add these into the new Business Suite Insights.

I hope this blog answered some questions you might be having and provides some clarity on what’s about to be changed.

My apologies for any weird behavior when using our Chrome extension, I’m afraid that can be expected during this transition from old to new.

** Update July 5th 2021 **

Facebook has migrated to the new Business Suite Insights interface. Everyone who is still trying to visit https://facebook.com/ads/audience-insights is being redirected to the newly launched interface.

It seems Facebook’s development team has also noticed that their Top Pages tab was still very buggy. So it seems they’ve decided to hide the page to analyse a potential audience until that’s finished and actually works. Right now users of Business Suite Insights can only analyse fans and followers of their Facebook pages. The filters and Top Pages tab I’ve showed earlier in this article are temporarily not available.

We were ready to adjust our Chrome extension, but we’ll have to wait a bit longer for Facebook to finish the project.

** Update August 1st 2021 **

Facebook is now showing the Top Pages section in Business Suite Insights again. It works a lot better than before. Especially when your input interests are very specific it shows relevant Top Pages the audience likes.

We have updated our Chrome extension to work on the new Business Suite Insights interface. It has been tested and is now pending approval in the Chrome webstore. As soon as it’s approved, it will become available.

** Update August 9th 2021 **

The new extension has been approved in the Chrome webstore. So you can now remove your current extension and install the new version.

You’re no longer required to connect your InterestExplorer account to use the Chrome extension. Just login with your Facebook account.

Other than that it still works exactly the same as it did before.

When you’re inside Facebook Business Suite Insights, it will highlight Top Pages that have a matching interest you can target with ads 🎯

** Update August 10th 2021 **

We found out that there are 2 versions of Facebook Business Suite Insights, that look slightly different and are located on different URL’s… with Facebook it’s always something.

There’s a “gray sidebar version” in which our Chrome extension works without any issues. You’ll find this version on a URL that starts with business.facebook.com/latest/insights/people

And a “white sidebar version” in which our extension doesn’t work (yet). You’ll find this version on a URL that starts with business.facebook.com/insights/people/, so slightly different.

We have made an update to the extension so it can also run on the “white sidebar version” of Business Suite Insights. That update is now pending approval in Chrome’s webstore for extensions.

** Update August 26th 2021 **

Still waiting for approval… in some cases it seems it can take weeks!

** Update September 2nd 2021 **

Our interest highlighter Chrome extension for Facebook Audience Insights is no longer available, effective immediately.

Although this decision was difficult, it’s also a relief because:

1) In the new version of Audience Insights the extension is a lot less valuable, because Facebook shows a lot less “Top Pages” in there.

2) There are 2 versions of Facebook Audience Insights at the moment, which technically requires 2 versions of our extension as well.

3) The extension has always been the #1 topic in our support inbox, but since the update to the new Audience Insights it has gone crazy.

We’ve been trying to find a working solution as documented in this blog post, but made the decision to end it yesterday.

If you have the extension installed, you might receive browser warnings because it’s no longer an active extension hosted in the Chrome webstore. It’s recommended to remove it from your Chrome browser.