Facebook Ad Targeting OptimizationOnce you have designed the perfect Facebook Ad, it’s time to show it to the perfect audience, and finding the perfect audience is one of the most challenging tasks for every marketer.
In this Chapter, we’ll analyze the most effective targeting options and how to repeatedly find, test and optimize new targets for your campaigns.
An Introduction to Facebook Ad Targeting OptimizationTargeting your Facebook Ad Campaigns to the right audience can be tough. If you’re coming from the Google AdWords world, drop the idea that you can just pick some search keywords to target people looking for your product.
On Facebook, you identify your perfect audience not by what they’re looking for right now, but by who they are. Welcome to the realm of demographic targeting.
The good news is that while it can be tough, it’s also a great opportunity. You can reach millions of users all over the world even if they’re not actively looking for your product. In over words: Demand Generation!
Over the last few years, Facebook’s demographic profiling has boomed and today you can access a great deal of information to target your ideal customer. It can be empowering but also overwhelming.
Let’s take a look at AdEspresso’s database to see which audience targeting options, on average, can impact performance the most:
- Custom Audiences
- Relationship Status
- Purchase Behaviors
- Education Level
(Update 5/11/2015) To make your job easier, Facebook also released a new metric: the relevance score. It’s a number from 1 to 10 to help you easily understand how relevant your ads are for the selected demographic audience.
Finding the right interests to targetAs we just saw, precise interest targeting is one of the most effective ways to reach the right audience, but often it’s hard to figure out what your potential customers’ interests are.
The first campaign is easy. You can quickly come up with an effective set of interests: your direct competitors, top blogs & publications in your industry, and so on. But at some point you’ll need to scale your campaign and reach more users, who don’t share these interests. So how do you find them?
1) Using Facebook Graph Search to find Interests
I’m always shocked by how many advertisers don’t realize the power of one of Facebook’s most visible tools: Facebook Search. We use it every day to lookup our friends’ name but often we overlook how powerful it is. Take a look:
You can ask Facebook what other pages are liked by Marketers who likes a specific page. In this example I’ve used AdEspresso but you can perform this kind of search for any Facebook page, you don’t need to be the page’s administrator.
Since Facebook released the new graph search, it’s been an endless source of inspiration for my Facebook ad targeting.
You can be as crazy and detailed as you want:
Pages liked by male Marketers who live in United States and are younger than 30 and like Moz … You can really filter by anything you can think off, gender, location, job, age and so on! Just use your creativity and start searching, you’ll find endless inspiration for your next Facebook Ad campaigns’ targeting!
2) Using Audience Insights to find Interests (and more!)
An even more powerful way to find new interests to target and also learn more about your audience’s demographic composition is the powerful Audience Insights tool recently released by Facebook.
Not only will it provide you with useful suggestions on similar pages and interests, it’ll also tell you age, gender, geographic distribution of a specific audience to better fine-tune your targeting. You can analyze data for any arbitrary advertising target. This means that, as an example, you’ll be able to analyze favorite pages of users within a Custom Audience… imagine how useful it can be to better understand your existing customers.
Let’s get started:
In the left column you can define the audience you want to analyze. You can chose countries, age ranges, interests and even select your custom audience. If the resulting audience is big enough to be analyzed the Audience Insights tool will return detailed informations about it.
The most interesting things for our goal are under the “Page Likes” Tab on the top menu. Click there and you’ll be able to see the most common interests and page likes of the specified audience.
Remember: Not all Facebook Pages are available for targeting as an interests in Facebook Ads. Some of your picks won’t be available in the Ads Manager, only the most popular one are available and usually anything below 50,000 likes is not available. There’s no work-around.
Pro Tip: Interest Intersection
By default when you target multiple interests on Facebook, you’re applying an OR logic. This means that your ads will reach anyone who likes either Interest 1 OR Interest 2 OR Both. This is fine when you’re targeting small, niche interests and need to expand your reach.
However what if you wanted to reach users who likes Sailing Deals to offer them a special deal? Targeting interests like Sailing and Groupon would create a huge reach which is not specific. Likely 95% of the users that like Groupon are not interested in sailinig.
Using AdEspresso you can target intersections. In other words you can apply an AND logic to interests targeting. With just one click you’ll be able to target only those users that like both Groupon AND Sailing.
Use Custom AudiencesCustom Audience has taken the Facebook Advertising world by storm since their introduction. If you’ve never heard of them, download our “Ultimate Guide to Custom Audiences” free eBook, it’ll explain you the basics on how to set them up and get started.
Just to give you an idea of how powerful Custom Audiences are, in a recent Facebook’s event for partners they said that Custom Audiences are like butter, they make every dish better. Now, as an Italian, I don’t really agree from a culinary standpoint, but you get the idea of how effective they are and how committed Facebook is to constantly improve them.
First of all, a quick overview of the kind of audiences you can create:
- Custom Audience: Simply upload a list of emails, phone numbers, Facebook or Mobile User IDs. Facebook will match them with actual Facebook users and will allow you to target them. Overall you can expect around 70% of your contacts to be matched with their Facebook identity
- Lookalike Audiences: Once you’ve created your first Custom Audience, you can ask Facebook to analyze it and create for you a much broader audience of hundreds of thousands of people who are very similar to those in your Custom Audience. You can also create Lookalike audiences from your Facebook Page’s fans and from a Facebook Ads conversion pixel.
- Custom Audience from your Website: This is pure retargeting. You don’t need to have the users’ email or any other information. Just add a tracking pixel to your website and you’ll be able to target with advertising anyone who visits it while logged in on Facebook (likely >90% of your website traffic).
Still confused on how to use Custom Audiences? Here are some suggestions:
- Increase re-purchases: People that already bought something from you are the most likely to buy again. Create a Custom Audience with all your customers and target them with new products, upgrades, special offers.
- Stop wasting money: A Custom Audience can also be used to exclude users from a Facebook Ads campaign’s targeting. Let’s take for example AdEspresso. Once a user has subscribed, there’s nothing more we can sell him… and pretty soon he’ll also be annoyed by our ads. If you cannot sell anything else to existing customers, exclude them from your targeting.
- Convert more of your web traffic: Using Custom Audiences from your website, create an audience with people who visited key pages of your website but never bought anything or became a lead. Target them with special offers or incentives like Free eBooks to get their email or have them buy from you
- Target users similar to your customers: Custom Audiences are not just for getting the most out of your existing users or website’s visitors. You can, as an example, create a lookalike audience of 200,000 users who are very similar to your customers and target them with advertising
- Drive more installs for your mobile app: Your website’s visitors are perfect target to drive install for your new mobile app. They already know you and they probably like your site and would like to access it on the go. Target them on their mobile phones with a Custom Audience from your website and ask them to install your mobile App.
The thing that I love more about Custom Audiences is that they made Facebook Advertising effective for many b2b companies that previously had trouble finding a good targeting with the standard demographic options. There’s no excuse not to try Facebook Advertising.
Before closing on Custom Audiences, let me give you one final advice on Lookalike Audiences. We’re basically talking about an algorithm that analyze your users and find similar ones. As with every algorithm, to work effectively it needs a good amount of data to analyze and learn from.
While there are no best practice released from Facebook, personally I’d suggest you to create your lookalike audiences only from Custom Audiences (or Facebook Pages/Conversion pixels) with more than 5,000 users to analyze.
Test Everything, Don't ignore advanced optionsWe already spoke about how important it is to Split Test everything. This is not limited only to the design of your Facebook Ad, you should also constantly test and fine-tune your audience.
Will men buy your product more than women? Which interest is going to perform better? All this information can be easily discovered split testing your Facebook Ad campaigns with AdEspresso.
Finding the right demographic target is priceless and it’s a constantly evolving process. Even when you have found a great audience that responds well to your ads, if you have a budget big enough you’ll eventually saturate it and your performances will start to decline.
When this happens you’ll have to start testing again to find another profitable audience to target. To understand when it’s the right time to find a new audience, you should monitor one important metric: the frequency.
The frequency represents the number of times, on average, a unique user has seen your ads. The more this number goes up the more your performances will decrease. In a recent study on Facebook Ad Frequency we proved than an high Frequency can increase your Cost per Click by more than 160%.
While we recommend starting your experiments with the most common Facebook Ad Targeting options like gender, interests, age ranges, as you become more skilled, don’t forget to check out the plethora of advanced targeting options that Facebook offers.
Unluckily most of these options, right now, are available only in the US market but Facebook has already started releasing them in Canada, UK and Australia.
Thanks to third party data providers, Facebook is able to match a huge amount of purchase data with Facebook users. These targeting options are extremely useful for eCommerce stores as they allow to target users who have recently bought specific product categories like men clothes for example.
This is a great targeting used together with Facebook Multi-Product Ads!
Job Title & Employer
A great way to target B2B Ads. With these options you can target people working in specific companies or users with a certain Job Title. For example, to promote AdEspresso we could target all the CMOs in United States.
To be fair, this targeting is still not 100% efficient as Facebook does not have all the work related information that Linkedin have. Still, if you’re selling a b2b product it’s worth checking it out!
Life Events & Advanced demographics
Life events can be another great way to market specific products. If you sell products that are great gifts you can for example target people that have an anniversary soon or their friends. You can also target newly wed or engaged and people living away from home.
Finally I want to remember you about travel targeting. Travel is a huge business but it’s also a very tough one to advertise on Facebook as there’s no clear demographic target: everyone loves to travel, but how can you target them exactly when they’re planning a trip and how can you know their destination?
Thanks to Facebook advanced targeting option you can easily target frequent travelers, both for business and tourism as well as people who are planning trips to top destinations like Italy, New York, France and so on. This is of course not 100% accurate but it’s still a great way to target your travel related product or mobile app.
Facebook Demographic targeting is one of the most powerful systems available on the market to identify and target your advertising. Don’t limit yourself to the most used Facebook Ad targeting options and start testing all the advanced targeting available to further optimize your campaign.