Facebook Ad Campaign – Is It Targeting the Right Demographic?

You might have heard about the value and success potential of paid Facebook advertising. Given the network’s popularity, you might even be one of the 3 million brands already promoting posts and running ads on the network. But are you really getting the return you need to make the campaign work your investment? Is your Facebook ad campaign actually helping your business attract potential customers and grow?

Too often, marketing leaders don’t know the answer to that question. They know how to track the right KPIs, but are not sure how to improve them. As it turns out, it all starts at the bottom. For your Facebook campaign to be successful, you need to target the right demographic.

The world’s largest social media network now boasts more than 2 billion active users. These users span almost all regions of the world, age ranges, and interests. A poorly targeted marketing campaign will broadcast your message to an audience that will have little interest or intent in actually becoming your customer.

Fortunately, you can change that by improving your targeting. Two steps are essential: understand your ideal customer, and leverage one of Facebook’s many targeting opportunities to reach that exact audience. Once you do, you will begin to see the value of a highly optimized ad campaign in the form of consistent, sustainable ROI.

Finding the Right Audience to Build Your Targeting Strategy

Audience comes first. If you don’t know who to target, even the best targeting mechanisms will not help to improve your campaign. That’s why the first step of any Facebook ad campaign should be to find out as much as possible about your desired audience.

Fortunately, a number of analytics platforms can help you in that endeavor. Google Analytics, for instance, offers a range of data points related to your web visitor’s geographic and demographic profile. Meanwhile, Facebook Audience Insights(the network’s internal analytics platform available to all page admins) can tell you even more about your existing followers, including

  • geographic location
  • age and gender
  • most common page likes
  • affinity
  • behavioral trends
  • and much more.

Using this information, you can build a demographic profile of your audience. Advanced marketers can also take one further step, using comprehensive research to build buyer personas to find the demographic and psychographic profile of ideal customers to target.

Facebook Ad Campaign Targeting Options for Better, More Targeted Outreach

Once you know your audience, it’s time to gain a deeper understanding of the various ways in which your ads can reach them through Facebook. Here, the network also stands apart from other platform because of just how detailed you can get.

Interest-Based Targeting

Probably the most commonly-used targeting method on Facebook, it is also the most vague. The network pools information based on page like, post content, and third-party data to create a list of interests that each of its users might have. Advertisers can then use these interests to narrow their audience.

The problem with this targeting option is that it remains relatively broad. For instance, more than 150 million users in the U.S. alone have an interest in Media. You can mitigate that problem by targeting niche interests that only your target audience would have, or stacking multiple interests together to create a more comprehensive profile of your audience.

Behavior-Based Targeting

Behaviors are more specific than interest, and offer a range of possibilities especially for luxury brands. Again, third-party sources and internal data allows Facebook to give advertisers the opportunity to target their ads based on recent activities and behavior. The possibilities are far-ranging:

  • Recent purchasing behavior, including in categories as specific as health and beauty product or automobile.
  • Purchasing habits, as defined by high spending, online buyers, and offline buyers.
  • Travel habits, from recent trips to frequent international trips for business or pleasure.
  • Charitable donations, or engagement in charitable causes.

Because they rely almost exclusively on geographic data and third-party sources, these metrics tend to be more reliable than interest-based targeting. They are also more specific, helping niche and luxury brands hone in their ads on only their most relevant audience.

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Engagement-Based Targeting

Relatively recently, Facebook added the opportunity for advertisers to target their messages based on recent engagements. In other words, you can target ads specifically to audiences that have recently liked, commented on, or shared your posts on the network.

This ad type is especially relevant if you are looking to engage your existing audience. It can be a powerful option to support your influencer marketing efforts, re-engage current customers, or simply improving your engagement rates within Facebook.

List-Based Targeting

Like most other digital advertising platform, Facebook also offers you the ability to upload a list of existing contacts. The network then matches that list to the profiles of its users, showing your ads exclusively to them. Facebook calls this option its Custom Audiences feature.

Naturally, this option means little if you are looking to expand your brand reach. However, list-based targeting can be extremely powerful as a tool in your lead nurturing and customer re-engagement efforts. Rather than relying solely on emails and direct contacts to reach your audience, you add Facebook to the equation to create a multi-channel approach.

Website Retargeting

Retargeting has significantly increased in popularity over the past few years, and rightfully so. It allows you to show ads to recent web visitors, either to your website as a whole or specific pages. Simply place a pixel on the pages you want to target, and Facebook helps shows ads only to those visitors over a period of time specified by you.

On a general level, retargeting helps you show ads to people you already know to be interested. But you can also get more specific. Top eCommerce brands, for instance, are using it to prompt shoppers to check out of their shopping cart. Within an inbound marketing context, you can target ads to people who have visited but not converted on an individual landing page, reiterating the value of your lead magnet.

Improving Your Facebook Ad Campaign ROI Through Better Targeting

Facebook has become a powerful, perhaps the most powerful player in the digital advertising space. Every day, new brands flock to the network to spend their advertising dollars in order to reach, convince, and convert their audience to become customers. There’s a reason for that trend.

As you can see from the above, Facebook ad campaign targeting options are perhaps the most sophisticated in the entire digital marketing space. From interest-based targeting to recent shopping behaviors, you will be able to make sure that your ad gets in front of the right people. When you do, those people will be more likely to convert, become customers, and help your business grow.

The key to success, of course, is strategy. Without it, you might not see the results you need for success. But if you perform a thorough audience analysis and leverage Facebook’s advanced techniques to reach that audience, you will see consistent ROI throughout your digital campaigns.

By: Frank DePino

Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.

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