There are tons of “legit” targeting categories on Facebook: number of people interested in fitness, shopping, sports. etc. Have you ever taken a minute to look at all of Facebook’s ad categories, though? I mean, really look?
Well, we did, and we weren’t disappointed. We actually found some pretty interesting categories!
Some of them are hyper-specific, such as people interested in scooters. Some of them are a little unexpected, like the 17 million people categorized as being in long distance relationships. As quirky as these examples are, the awesome thing about Facebook’s ad categories are their potential to target very unique groups of people.
So without further ado, here’s some of what we found.
A New Take on Demographics
1. Friends of Newly Engaged
Looking at all of the people using Facebook in the States, would you believe that there are 21 million people who are newly engaged in the last six months? Super targeted, right? But companies like Groupon are all over demographics like this.
Even though their business is built on offering discounted products and services, with a market as big as this one, they’re headed for major profits. This particular ad offers 40% off diamond rings but what guarantees sales is the limited time offer. With millions of people getting engaged every month, this ad puts pressure to buy now versus waiting.
2. Relationship Status → Unspecified
One of the first things new users are asked to do when the create their Facebook profile is to input their relationship status. This is a gold mine for businesses targeting specific audiences based on their relationship status. For instance, online dating has grown to include services for widowers.
Of all the relationship categories Facebook offers, “unspecified” is the largest. The total number of users flagged as unspecified is astounding: 1 billion!
3. Likelihood to Engage in Politics
With politics being such a hot button issue today, Facebook hasn’t wasted any time in identifying people who are likely to be more engaged than others. Eight million people have been identified, making this a lucrative category for political ad campaigns. Popular news outlets like CNN can tailor their ads to audiences primed to engage.
4. Housemate-based Households
This is another very specialized target group. It takes into consideration the extent to which households have changed over the last 50 years. Millennials likely make up most of this category. And with 300 million people in it, it’s quickly gaining on traditional family-based households.
5. Friends of Recently Moved
This is a very interesting category. Who knew this was something Facebook tracked? Surprisingly, it’s the second largest group in the “Friends of” category. It trails only after friends with birthdays in 7-30 days.
Finding Common Interests
6. People Interested in Puzzle Video Games
You can find this one in Interests > Entertainment > Games. Who knew puzzle video games were even a thing? Apparently, over 220 million users did. They are puzzle video game aficionados and have liked pages related to this niche.
Check out this ad from the Fairy Mix Community that targets players interested in games based on matching objects.
7. People Interested in Network Storage
This is a sub-section of the computers category. At first glance, we might be quick to write this one off, but 29 million people have shown an interest in it. This bodes well for targeting those with interest in tech products.
8. People Interested in Ecotourism
You can find this category in Hobbies and Activities > Travel. You might not think it’s worth targeting such a specialized group, but advertisers would otherwise miss out on 187 million interested users.
9. People Interested in Reading
With an increasing amount of reading being done online, it’s astonishing and reassuring that this is such a massive category. There are millions of users within each group.
Companies like Lost My Name are tapping into this market. They offer unique books where each story centers around a child’s name. Every page offers up a letter that eventually spells the full name.
10. People Interested in Fatherhood
Whether it’s a blog or new fad, there’s an overwhelming amount of information about motherhood out there. You don’t tend to hear as much about fatherhood, however. You might be surprised to know that there are over 220 million users interested in this topic.
Here’s an interesting ad from Upworthy about fathers and their contemporary roles. It taps into the large interest in the subject of fatherhood while grabbing attention with a cliffhanger – why are millennials struggling to be the dads “they thought they’d be?”
Understanding User Behaviors
11. Family Members of Expats
Over 100 thousand people make up this group. Not a very big group compared to others we found, but companies like InterNations have found the perfect niche to tap into. They help people create a network where they can connect with other expats. Their ad taps into familiar tactics from ad psychology, by showing four smiling faces that will be sure to grab attention.
12. People Who Follow Fall Football
While a category for football or sports isn’t strange, one that caters specifically to people based on the number of football teams they follow is pretty new.
13. Internet Browser Preferences
This is another surprising category, but one that provides lots of value. Potential ads could look at expanding browser support by targeting people who use certain browsers extensions. As Chrome grows, it could target Internet Explorer users by touting its enhanced features and benefits.
14. Primary Email Domain Used
Advertisers can filter their targets by their primary email domain name. This is super helpful if you’ve already identified that people using different email domains act differently, or if you want to tap into features associated with a specific company.
15. Photo Uploading
With over 91 million users in this category, it’s interesting to see how advertisers are taking advantage of social media.
Slurpee Australia launched a campaign that encouraged customers to upload pictures of themselves with the drink. It was a fun, targeted campaign that helped them boost their brand awareness.
What Do These Categories Tell Us?
When it comes to using Facebook ads, you need to take advantage of Facebook’s powerful targeting ability to find and capitalize on your audience.
Brian Balfour, Founder and CEO of Reforge, puts it this way, “this new way of advertising, directly integrated into the core visual of the user experience, has allowed to make a fantastic increase in terms of click-throughs.”
He continues, “giving a sure visibility to the message; native ads can make you get an excellent performance if your targeting plan is well done.”
In order to increase conversions and build meaningful growth, you have to take the audience you’ve targeted and create buyer personas to develop messages that speak to them. This helps with understanding them and developing messages that speak to them.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who you target, as long as you give them what they want.
What This Means For Your Next Ad Campaign
As Facebook has shown us, lots of data mean there’s potential for lots of “weird data”. But even though we found examples of some pretty strange targeting options, there’s a place for each and every one of them when you understand the social data of your audience.
Be as specific in your targeting as you want, as long as you’re really digging into an audience that will respond to your product. Also, feel free to experiment with audiences — chances are there’s a campaign with your name on it waiting to be explored.
When you think outside the targeting box, you can add value to your business by tapping into niches that might otherwise get overlooked.