Laser-Targeting Your Ideal Audience with Facebook Ads
February 28, 2017
February 28, 2017
Audience targeting with Facebook ads can get so specific you could literally target your ad to your mom.
That may sound ludicrous (and of course it would be ludicrous to target only your mom), but with over 1 billion users on Facebook, you might be surprised at how incredibly specific you can make your Facebook target audience.
Of course, even though your mom is probably your company’s biggest fan, I know you can’t rely on her alone to buy all your fabulous widgets or take all your courses. But that’s just a simple illustration of just how super-specific you can get with Facebook ad targeting.
Obviously, you don’t want to zero in on just one user, or even 50, because that would be a waste of your time and ad spending. The trick with Facebook ads is finding the sweet spot between having too broad of an audience versus too narrow. You want the audience to be specific enough so you’re not targeting people who aren’t interested in buying your products or services, thus lowering your ROI.
The virtually endless options for targeting your audience on Facebook are enough to make any marketer’s heart sing. But any good marketer doesn’t mindlessly plow head-first into creating a target audience for your Facebook ads without first putting a solid strategy in place. So how do you know who to target?
Before you can know how you want to customize your Facebook audience, you need to have a strategy in place. Guesswork won’t cut it and will waste your time and money.
You need to know who your ideal audience is first, so you can know how to connect with them on Facebook. That’s not to be said that data can’t be gleaned from the Facebook ads themselves – it definitely can be. Running experiments and split testing ads to see which strategy works is another element that helps you discover how to approach your audience targeting and messaging.
But first you need to get clear about who your potential buyers are, gathered from data such as customer surveys, analyzing your sales pipeline and referencing your buyer personas. You need to get inside the mind of your ideal customer and find out who they are, what makes them tick, and where they’re hanging out on Facebook.
There are three big umbrella categories you can choose to target your ideal customers: demographics, behaviors and interests. Facebook targeting generally works best by layering location, interest, behavioral and demographics-based targeting. By mixing all of these together you can create a very specific and layered Facebook audience.
Although Facebook has an almost endless array of targeting options, some categories within demographics (such as location) are going to be stronger for targeting than others.
Some basic demographics available to target are ethnic group, age and gender. This is an area where split-testing or a test campaign can pay off, because sometimes who you think your ideal customer is might not actually be the case.
Digital Marketer gave an example of how they thought their site Survival Life’s ideal buyer was older white men. A Facebook ad campaign proved them wrong when they didn’t limit it by gender and women ended up converting more than men.
Education covers users’ educational level such as whether they’re in high school, have a bachelors degree, a doctorate, and so on. You can target their field of study, the school they attended, the years they were an undergrad and their educational level of attainment, such as currently in high school through to advanced degrees.
Location is one of the big factors, especially if you’re a local business. For example, a chain of local pizzerias would most likely want to keep their focus local.
Conversely, if you sell products in multiple countries (or want to broaden your reach to include other countries), you can extend your target audience to include those countries while excluding anywhere you don’t sell.
You can target users by their income range and net worth.
Are they of the Silent generation, Baby Boomers, Generation X, or the 0ft-coveted Millennial crowd?
You can target by any combination of housing information, such as whether they rent, own, or are first-time home buyers, the type of home such as apartment, condo, multi-family, or single; the value of the home; number of acres of property; when the house was built; number of square feet; household composition (such as housemates, new parents, family-based households), and so on.
Customers can be targeted by whether they’re single, married, divorced, have children, and are a mom or a dad.
This can be effective if you’re in an industry that might appeal more to a certain political affiliation than another, such as marketing a shooting range discount to Republicans.
It can be tempting for a novice to Facebook marketing to simply target general demographics, but honing in on interests and behaviors makes your targeting especially strong.
Behaviors are often derived from third-party data, but can also be derived from the things people tend to celebrate or brag about on Facebook, like a new baby or engagement.
There are multiple layers of behavioral traits to choose from so you can get quite specific.
Even people who have friends who are experiencing certain life events can be targeted. For example, a home goods store can market wedding gift ideas to the friends of people who are getting married.
Some behaviors that can be targeted are:
Purchase behavior is a key area to target. 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making a purchase, so Facebook understands what people are likely to buy.
What kind of vehicle do users drive? Is it new or used? Are they shopping for a new car?
Are they console gamers? What internet browser do they use? Are they early or late technology adopters?
A target audience can be anyone living outside of their country of origin. For example, an American travel and health insurance company could target American expats living in Spain.
Do they listen to internet or satellite radio, watch a particular genre of TV show (action, comedy, etc.), and so on.
Mobile Device User
What brand of mobile device do they use? Are they new smartphone or tablet owners?
How many years users have lived in their home, if they’re likely to move or need to take out a new mortgage.
Seasonal and Events
People who are engaged in seasonal content, such as baseball or rugby.
Are they frequent travelers, do they travel for business, take family vacations, or have they recently returned from a trip?
Facebook users’ interests can be gathered from third-party data tracked online from other sites, offline loyalty cards and people’s activity online.
With Facebook users continually viewing, clicking, and liking pages, products, and things of interest, Facebook has a good understanding of individuals’ hobbies, pastimes, and interests.
Through posts they share on their timelines, apps they use, and pages they like, advertisers can reach specific audiences by their interests.
Interests cover virtually anything you can think of, from what people do for entertainment, whether they’re into bodybuilding, what they like to eat and drink, what technology they like, whether they have pets, and so on.
With a multifaceted approach to your Facebook targeting that mixes key demographics, interests and behaviors, you can get incredibly specific with a killer ad campaign that will target your ideal customers.
What’s worked for you with Facebook targeting? What hasn’t? Share your story in the comments below.
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