Targeting your audience properly through Facebook.

When it comes to digital advertising and marketing, Facebook is an obvious place to start for your brand. With around 16 million users, it remains the largest social media platform in the country. Facebook offers your brand a cost-effective alternative to traditional media campaigns, and often produces better results than traditional advertising mediums.

However, this was not always the case. When Facebook first introduced advertising to the platform, many advertisers and agencies believed that it lacked intent and was mass broadcasting advertising messages to the wrong people. Being as forward-thinking and as innovative as Facebook is they heard these criticisms and took them in their stride. The focused a lot of their energy on their mobile capabilities.

This was an incredibly smart move as we now know, through the millions of websites utilising Google Analytics, that that more than half of all web traffic comes from smartphones and tablets. Facebook did away with the sidebar ads in favour of in-stream, native ads that users had to see and engage with. More than this, Facebook introduced some awesome ad-targeting parameters that are very useful for your advertising strategy.

Hyper Targeting

The key benefit that you will gain from advertising on Facebook is the ability to hyper target your audience (i.e. your exact target market). You also have the ability to retarget your audience based on the data you gain from your first ad campaign, but more on that later.

This targeting ability is an incredibly powerful tool as you can hone in on your desired target market. When it comes to advertising on Facebook, you need to be aware that not all of Facebook’s 16 million South Africa users are your target market, but it gives you some incredible capabilities to target 100% of your target via Facebook.

You can more effectively target your audience based on demographics, interests and even digital behaviours. Imagine you are a brand that sells paintball adventures – you can start your advertising campaign by targeting people of a certain age (18-30), in a specific city (Johannesburg) – this is already an increased specificity. With Facebook advertising you can also go on to layer a myriad of targeting parameters on top of one another to create new, refined core audiences. For example, with an interest such as paintball or more broadly adventure activities like rock climbing, mountain biking etc. So now you are targeting this niche demographic that also has a specific interest based on your industry. So effectively, you can utilise what you know about your core customer base and then connect with audiences that are similar to them.

Creating Your Audience

To get started, you can create your audience as you create your campaign in Facebook Ads Manager that has the targeting features built in.

If you are using Business Manager for your Facebook page, you audience settings are built in there too.

It is important to note that certain audiences will take longer to generate and process. For example, audiences created from your website visitors and customer email list. So it might be a good idea to create them before you begin your advertising campaign to make the process less overwhelming for you. Facebook allows you to create audiences and save them for later use, which is a very useful tool for your campaign.

There are three options for choosing your audience on Facebook: Core Audience, Custom Audience and Lookalike Audience.

Core audiences

Here you select your audience manually based on characteristics such as age and location. Whether your business wants your ad to be shown to people based on age, location, interest or something else, Facebook will have a demographic targeting option for you.

This is a good option if you are starting out and have a good understanding of your customer base. After generating your core audience, you can then make use of the Audience Insights tool provided by Facebook. The reporting generated here will give you greater insight into who your core audience is and how they are interacting with your ads. From this you can utilise further demographics to layer on to your campaign to optimise your audience further and incite more conversions via your layered targeting.

Custom Audiences

You can create a custom audience based on:

  • Customer file (email addresses you upload)
  • Website traffic (provided the Facebook Pixel is on your website)
  • App activity (provided the Facebook SDK 0 code is installed within your app)
  • Engagement (explicit action taken on either Facebook or Instagram)

The most valuable are, without a doubt, customer file and website traffic. By utlising your customers’ email addresses or phone numbers, you are granted the ability to specifically target your current customers or you can even exclude current customers and focus your targeting on people who have yet to purchase from you.

Through Facebook’s best practices you can learn how to correctly format your customer data for your ad campaign. Facebook then uses this information to match customer data points with its Facebook users.

Depending on what customer data you have, you may want to consider creating even narrower audiences. For example, first-time customers, customers that have bought specific products, customers that only purchase within a specific budget. It is important to note that your custom audiences must match at least 1,000 Facebook users to be eligible to use in ads.

Lookalike Audiences

Once you’ve created some custom audiences, you can set up lookalike audiences. These audiences will help you to find and reach people that are similar to your customers and who are most likely to complete your ad campaign objective.

Your current customers are the best source for your ad campaign. You can create Facebook lookalike audiences from your customer and prospect lists, as well as people who have visited your website or app. You can also use a Custom Audience to build a lookalike audience. Through your lookalike audience you can target potential new customers, website visitors and people who are engaging with your Facebook page.

Your lookalike audience can be fine-tuned and adjusted to give you better results. By adding new sources for your audience or doing away with old, dated audience sources you can truly refine and perfect your audience to give you the best possible targeting.

Remarketing & Facebook Pixel

You can track visitors on your website by installing the Facebook pixel, which is a piece of code, on the backend of your website. With Facebook’s pixel tool, you will be able to remarket your ad campaign to visitors on your website that performed certain actions. It is important to run the pixel before running your Facebook ads, so you can get the most out of the highly targeted capabilities.

The code is made of two main parts, the base code that tracks all traffic on the website and the additional event code that can be used to track certain actions on certain pages.

Once you have generated and installed your Facebook pixel you will be able to create a custom audience based on specific criteria. You can include or exclude any or all website visitors having visited specific pages, spent a certain amount of time on your website or completed events you are tracking.

So you could hypothetically remarket your ad campaign at website visitors that spent a certain amount of time on your product page but did not purchase, or you could remarket to people who are adding items to their shopping cart, but not going through with purchasing as you will know that they aren’t generating the thank you page.

The Bottom Line

Facebook is a highly effective advertising tool that should be integrated into your advertising and marketing strategy. It provides you with highly specific targeting options that ensure you find and connect with 100% of your target market available on Facebook. It is also an advertising stream that is cost-effective compared to traditional advertising pathways. It also drives immediate results – once your campaign is up and running you are instantly reaching people. If you want to find out more about advertising on Facebook and how to get started then get in touch today. Your competitors are using Facebook ads and so should you.