New Facebook Targeting And What It Means For Brands And Marketers

This article was co-written by Grahame Lesh and Rebecca Moring

Imagine a perfect world, in which people only receive the Facebook posts that they are interested in… Well, we’re not quite there yet, but Facebook is setting about creating a far more custom experience for Fans.

Facebook has started to add similar targeting functionality to Page Posts which we believe will be slowly evolving into the same targeting that is available with a Facebook Ad. Admins in the near future (Facebook is gradually rolling these features out in the next few weeks) will be able to target different posts to different groups. Brands and marketers will be able to target certain groups of consumers with different products, post times or use of language. According to Techcrunch, Facebook is adding the following targeting criteria:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interested In
  • Relationship Status
  • Education
  • College Grad: College Name, Major
  • In College: College Name, Major, Years
  • In High School
  • Workplace
  • Plus the old options — Language, and Location: Country, State, City

*TechCrunch – 31st July 2012

This is huge for brands and marketers, particularly if they have a diverse demographic and product range. Why? Here’s why…

Why This Is Awesome For Marketers

  1. Marketers can now send targeted product posts at times when their target audience is most likely to be online.
  2. Targeting will allow marketers to change their content depending on whom they are talking to; publishing relevant content that will resonate with specific audiences.
  3. Targeted posts will have a better chance of being seen by relevant users. Due to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm, only a small percentage of a Page’s fans will see any specific post. With better targeting, Marketers will be able to expand the percentage of relevant users who see each post.
  4. Users outside of your targeting parameters will not be put off by irrelevant content. Therefore, marketers will be able to avoid the negative sentiment that can come with promoting certain items to the entire fan base of a Facebook Page.
  5. The ability to test out the effectiveness of different targeting strategies will help marketers better understand their audiences.

Why This Is Awesome For Brands

  1. Brands with multiple, segmented brand pages may be able to consolidate to one main page and target relevant content accordingly.
  2. Brands with a diverse offering of products will be able to promote each product to it’s target demographics without showing irrelevant material to a large portion of its fan base.
  3. This targeting will provide more information about the brand’s customer and audience demographics and therefore, could drive product development and enhancement.
  4. Targeting will allow brands to increase post frequency to relevant users without running into social media fatigue.
  5. Brands will be able to increase engagement by developing more detailed and refined content that is tailored to the nuances of their specific audience.

While the demographics of a marketer’s audience have always mattered, they now become even more important. In addition to topics and timing, demographic segments will now need to become part of a content calendar to keep messaging more relevant. Within an audience, topics of interest, the time of optimal activity on Facebook, and overall demographics will vary, and these new Facebook targeting capabilities give the Page manager the ability to target these different demographics with only the content that is relevant to them.

The Cons

The one big caveat, however, is the difference in structure between this new Targeting and Facebook’s old location-based Targeting. Whereas Facebook’s previous targeting options restricted the posts you see in both your personal News Feed and on the Page’s Timeline, these new Targeted posts will only be restricted and targeted in the users News Feed. This means that Page managers must be aware of how their users consume their content (which they can track in Facebook Insights) and must strategize based on that information.

Another pitfall would be to become over-reliant on Post Targeting and miss potential customers. For example, if your brand wants to reach couples who are about to get married and you only target people who have updated their relationship statuses to ‘Engaged’ you may be missing out on a large swathe of Fans who have not updated their information.

The new targeting functionality is a welcome addition to Facebook’s ever-growing repertoire, and we’re thrilled to be incorporating this functionality into Adobe Social. If you know your audience demographics well, know how they are consuming your content and what they want to hear, then targeting will only help you achieve greater success.

Update: Facebook Page Admins will begin to find that they now have the new Facebook Page Post Targeting option. We’ve now got a few more specifics from Facebook about this new tool, which we’d like to share with you.

Page Post Targeting is being been rolled out to all Pages with over 100 fans and will be available both natively on Facebook and through 3rd party publishing tools via Facebook’s API.

To use Page Post Targeting, Page Admins must go to the Page composer as usual and select the cross-hairs icon.

Once you have chosen your target, Facebook will advise how many people fall into this category –- Note that Facebook will only allow targeting of groups of 20 or more. If the catchment should fall below this, you would be required to broaden your target audience. You also still have the option to use Promoted Posts to ensure your Reach is maximised.

Remember that this new targeting function only applies to the news feed, so any targeted posts you publish will be visible to everyone who visits your Page. You do however; have the option via the pencil (edit) icon in the top right-hand of the post, to select ‘Hide from Page’.

Facebook also have advised, that if you wish to turn your post into a sponsored story, targeting will have to be reset manually.

Comments are closed.