Facebook Targeting: Oh, The Possibilities

When it comes to online advertising, Facebook appears most prominently and for good reason.  It is a cardinal rule of advertising to target your market in order to increase your return on investment and this social media is known for its effectiveness in doing just that.  It is extremely effective in target marketing because it offers several methods for doing so.

The Methods

Facebook offers various filtering options which allow for companies to define their audiences as broad or as narrow as they wish.  Those options include the following:

  • Location – Facebook allows advertisers to target by location which can be further drilled down to region or distance meaning you can attract business from local customers or set a specific radius for people living within a certain distance
  • Demographics – if your brand appeals to a specific demographic Facebook allows for that type of targeting with options including age, gender, relationship status and occupation as well interests
  • Behavior – audience segmenting by behavior includes the activities that people engage in outside of Facebook, identifying certain habits can gear marketing efforts to a specific niche

Advanced Targeting

The previously highlighted options can be furthered with advanced targeting options which include creating a custom audience, and a lookalike audience.

A custom audience is one that has been defined by you, it is an existing list of people that is uploaded to Facebook.  This list can come from a set of contacts or email distribution list.  A custom audience can also be generated from your website.  This can be achieved through the installation of a Facebook pixel on your website that tracks Facebook users who land on your page.

A lookalike audience on the other hand is an audience that looks like a pre-existing audience. This audience can be created from a custom audience (where Facebook looks for users resembling your custom audience); from website visitors (Facebook will build a lookalike audience from tracking the visitors to your site); and from page fans (Facebook looks for users resembling those who’ve “liked” your page).

Ad Goals

Determining the goals for your Facebook ads will help to target those ads.  Those goals include driving in-store sales (Store Visits ads); building brand awareness; generating leads; and boosting sales.

Store Visits ads are only available to businesses with multiple brick-and-mortar locations and ideal for communicating to audiences what is being offered at your place of business and directing them to the nearest location.

Using videos, slideshows, images and website links, Facebook allows brands to tell their stories thus enabling audiences to build a greater awareness of a company or brand.

Through lead generation Facebook provides the opportunity for new people to take interest in your business.  The leads generated by this type of ad can in turn help to create a custom audience.

Facebook ads can be utilized to boost sales in a few different ways.  Users can be directed to your product by clicking on a call-to-action (CTA) button that guides them through checkout; or they can be directed to your app (if they are existing users) where they can complete a purchase.  Companies can also promote a deal or discount as well as promoting a product catalogue through a targeted ad. 

Ad Placement

As is the case in real estate, location is everything; the same holds true when it comes to ad placement on Facebook.  Where your ad will run is important and those options too are varied.  An ad can run directly in the newsfeed or on the right-hand sidebar.   Those running in the feed come at a higher cost as they are more visible.

Another possibility is the type of device you wish for your ad to appear on, such as mobile devices only (this is particularly useful in the case of Store Visits ads which can include location maps that users can see on their mobile devices).

Lastly, because Facebook owns Instagram, the ad, if desired, can appear on both social media platforms or it can be set to run on Instagram only.

To get the best return on investment, advertising dollars should be strategically spent.  Facebook allows for those ads to be specifically targeted to maximize that return and get the best bang for your buck.  For help in determining how best to approach Facebook ads and targeting them to your business audience as part of a social media marketing strategy give us a call. 

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