Sr. Brand Manager
Since Facebook went public in May of 2012, there have been many subsequent changes to the platform both on the side of the consumer and the advertiser. Some of the most drastic changes have occurred on the backend of the system in an effort to make advertising on the platform easier. Advertisers now have a variety of options in their toolbox to accomplish their objectives, and most savvy marketers at this point are aware of their respective capabilities.
One of the most difficult jobs we as marketers have is identifying and understanding our target audiences. Millions of dollars are spent yearly to help understand the various demographics, behaviors, interests, etc. of people to inform campaign targeting. Ironically, one of Facebook’s recent updates seems to be widely underutilized in this function, despite it being a completely free feature.
Facebook’s Audience Insights gives brands the chance to examine an audience (either your own audience or general Facebook users) and to slice and dice Facebook and third party data to gain greater insight into the people who like your page, your subscribers, and/or your customers or prospects.
Here is an example of data from Audience Insights:
As Facebook put it, “The more customer insights you have, the better you’re equipped to deliver meaningful messages to people.” The implications behind this development are immediate and significant for brands both large and small. For example, imagine you own a local floral shop. By properly utilizing Facebook’s Audience Insights, you would be able to know how many Facebook users live near your store, along with their age, gender, interests, and other pages liked on Facebook, along with purchase behavior and activity, household income, and more.
Even better, this data can be viewed and segmented across three different groups: users on Facebook (the general overall Facebook audience), users connected to your Page, and custom lists (audiences made up from either e-mail lists and/or website activity). Being able to dissect data in this way and compare different segments of your audiences can provide a huge advantage.
When LMO was tasked with growing the American fan base of Inter Milan soccer, we used the Audience Insight tool to conduct research to understand American soccer fans and how to best reach and engage them. For example, by analyzing Inter Milan fans in the US, we discovered that Inter Milan fans were typically single and college educated, indexing far above all Facebook users in both demographics. This information was then used to shape our content and paid targeting strategy for the campaign, helping us increase the American Inter Milan fan base by 15% over the course of this single campaign.
Facebook is obviously hopeful that by providing access to their treasure trove of data, they will instill a greater level of confidence among advertisers thereby encouraging larger media spends. However, the tool can be used without actually spending any money on a Facebook campaign. You could discover that your e-mail customers have far different characteristics than users who like your Facebook page or users who visit your website, etc. This type of knowledge can inform business decisions of all types. While companies and agencies continue to spend large sums of money to conduct market research, one of the most powerful self-serve research tools is out there, if you’re ready to use it.
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