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Better Targeting with Facebook Ads

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Facebook remains the largest social network in the world, with a total user census that now surpasses a billion. Having access to an audience of that size might seem like the best reason to use Facebook Ads. Actually, the remarkable thing about Facebook Ads is how it allows the advertiser to break that massive audience into smaller segments, and to advertise with real precision and finesse. Through Facebook’s advanced targeting features, the advertiser can display ads only to the consumers he or she wishes to pursue. When done right, this can eliminate much of the risk involved with online ads of any kind.

While an exhaustive discussion of Facebook Ads targeting is beyond the scope of a single blog post, we do want to walk you through some of the advanced targeting options that Facebook allows.

The Benefit of Targeting

Here’s the big-picture view: With Facebook Ads, you can target your advertising so that it’s only displayed to people within a particular age range, people within a particular geographic locale, or people of a certain gender. This can all be invaluable for ensuring that you’re only advertising to the people who fit your buyer personas—i.e. the people who are actually likely to spend money on your product or service. If your products appeal primarily to young moms, for instance, it might make sense to target your ads just to women within a particular age range; you can narrow things down further by advertising just to women who live in close proximity to your business. After all, unless you have a robust ecommerce operation, it probably won’t benefit your Charlotte boutique to advertise to people in Los Angeles.

These are the Facebook Ads targeting options that are discussed most commonly, but it’s important to note that there are some even deeper and more valuable ways to use Facebook’s targeting abilities. There are even ways to target based on interests and behavior, and all of them come backed by data that’s obtained by Facebook.

Here is just one example: Did you know that a Jeep dealership can target consumers who already own a Jeep? In particular, those whose Jeep may be between three and four years old—and thus, ready for a trade-in? It’s true, and it’s possible thanks to data Facebook obtains from actual DMV vehicle registries across the country.

And do you remember our previous example, of targeting ads toward moms? Well, thanks to some of the new Facebook targeting features, it’s now possible to target moms—new moms, wealthy moms, hip moms, moms of grade school students—effectively, to target as granularly as you need to in order to reach just the people you want, without a single wasted ad display. When done right, this kind of targeting can make your advertising efforts tremendously efficient.

Retargeting and Custom Audiences

In addition to the targeting features offered by Facebook Ads, there are also some valuable tools to leverage your contact list, website data, and more.

When you set up a Facebook ad, one of the options you’ll notice is to create a Custom Audience. There are several ways to do this, and one is to upload your current email contact list to ensure that your ads are only shown to Facebook accounts that match your existing customer data. For companies looking to enhance customer loyalty and retention, this is highly beneficial.

In addition, you can do what’s called remarketing—essentially, displaying ads to people who have already visited your website. There is great psychological rationale to doing so; a potential customer might spend a few minutes reading about your products or services, but be hesitant to commit. Through remarketing, though, you can set up ads to “follow” that person across the Facebook network, keeping your brand fresh in his or her mind, greatly increasing the odds of making that conversion.

Doing this will require some setup. Specifically, you will need to use the Facebook Ads Manager to set up a pixel, which is basically a piece of code that you add to your website. (If you’re not sure how to go about this, it’s a good question to bring up with your Web developer.) This code is what enables you to track your website users and to display ads for them even after they leave your website.

Another option that Facebook Ads gives you is to create a “lookalike audience.” Again, you’ll find this in the Custom Audience section. Here’s how it works: Say you had a previous ad that fared well, bringing in a decent number of conversions. You can run the same ad, or a similar one, to an audience that Facebook’s algorithms determine to be demographically similar—e.g., to people who are very much like the ones who converted before, but who maybe haven’t yet been reached by your brand. The lookalike audience functionality is great for expanding the reach of your business.

The options go on and on, and one more we’ll call your attention to is the local awareness ad. As you create an ad campaign, you’ll have the option to choose an objective—and one of the objectives you can choose is to reach people near your business. By selecting this option, you signal to Facebook that you want your ads to be shown to mobile users who are within 10 miles of your business. This may not be a good option for everyone—maybe you have a small business consulting firm that doesn’t really accommodate foot traffic—but for anyone looking to grab some “out and about” shoppers, the merit is clear.

Being Precise with Your Facebook Ads

Displaying a Facebook Ads campaign to anyone and everyone doesn’t really make sense; you’re wasting your ad dollars by displaying ads to people you know won’t have an interest. The right approach almost always involves narrow, precise targeting—and in this post we’ve highlighted just a few of the strategies we believe in the most.

We’d love to talk with you about the targeting approaches that make the most sense for your business. To start that conversation, reach out to enCOMPASS today.

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