August 9, 2012
“For anyone who has worked in email marketing, Post Targeting is the equivalent of having all the core demographic data you need, without ever having to manage a database or clunky email marketing software.”
In case you missed it, Facebook recently announced game-changing news for marketers working with Facebook Pages. Rolling out over the next few weeks, Pages will soon be able to target posts with five additional parameters, making some of the same precision targeting that has previously been reserved for Facebook Ads available to Facebook Pages. Previously, Pages had only been able to target posts by language and location. Unfortunately, only a few Pages took advantage of this functionality, most notably NPR, who used location targeting to more than quadruple engagement with their content.
Starting soon, Pages will be able to target posts by five additional parameters, making a total of seven altogether:
For any Page that sells more than one product, has a diverse audience, or wants to deliver multiple marketing messages (i.e. nearly every Facebook Page), this is a BIG deal. For anyone who has worked in email marketing, Post Targeting is the equivalent of having all the core demographic data you need, without ever having to manage a database or clunky email marketing software.
When used wisely, Facebook Post Targeting can significantly increase the reach of a Page’s content.
By increasing the percentage of users who engage with a post (via a click, like, share or comment) Pages can cause a higher percentage of the target audience to see the post. You might have heard this referred to as EdgeRank or the News Feed algorithm – think of it like Facebook rewarding Pages for posting quality engaging content.
All of us at PageLever are really excited to see what our customers do with Post Targeting, and we think there’s a big first-mover advantage – If you’re reading this blog, then you’ve already got a leg up on the competition, who probably won’t realize they can do this for another few months.
Let’s break down some scenarios in which each parameter could be useful to a particular Facebook Page. If you have other ideas, feel free to suggest them in the comments section below.
Suppose you manage a Facebook Page for LEGO – while kids are typically the ones who play with LEGOs, the purchasing power is in their parents’ control, and many adults like the LEGO Facebook Page. For adults, LEGO might want to be more aggressive and drive these fans to make purchases from their online store, offering coupons and sales. But for kids, linking to an online store is much less likely to drive sales – instead, great images of the latest toys drive kids to ask their parents for more LEGOs.
Age targeting has applications far beyond segmenting kids and adults – the AARP might deliver different messaging to seniors than to younger fans, and focus particularly hard on fans in their 50s who they want to become members. Car insurance companies could market their good driver discounts to teens and college students, but focus more on upsells of homeowners insurance to older fans.
Swell.com sells both men’s and women’s boutique surf apparel, and with over 100,000 fans, Facebook is a major marketing channel. In the absence of Page Post Targeting, they’ve decided to make most of their Facebook Posts about women’s clothes. For the men who like their page, these posts aren’t as relevant, and some of these male fans might choose to unlike the Page or hide it from their News Feed because of this, even though they’re still interested in the men’s clothing that Swell sells.
With gender targeting, Swell could reach their male fans with completely different content than female fans – the latest deal on surf shorts for men, but save the post about overalls being “back in style” for their female audience. There are many other where you’d want to reach men and women with different messages, even when the segmentation is less clear cut – from their market research, a TV show might find that male viewers cared most about the female characters, and visa-versa for women.
Let’s say you manage the Facebook Page for Tiffany & Co. While the company sells a wide variety of products, but it’s particularly critical that they reach single men in their late 20s and early 30s, since engagement rings are a huge part of their business.
With Page Post targeting, Tiffany & Co. can consistently reach this specific demographic consistently with messages about engagement rings – maybe with a much stronger and direct call to action than they’d want to reach their other customers with. Then, they can reach married men and women with a completely different messages about anniversary gifts or other items.
At PageLever we see many brands with an international presence struggle to decide whether to use a single Facebook Page or create separate Pages for each country. While there are some advantages to creating multiple Pages, language targeting, which targets fans who use Facebook in a particular language, makes it possible for a single Page to reach a diverse audience in their native language.
For example, take Jarritos. Popular amongst both English and Spanish speakers in the United States and Mexico, language targeting would allow them to take each of their posts and create one version in Spanish and one in English, and ensure that their fans see content that’s in their native language. Jarritos could then measure whether their Spanish-speaking or English-speaking audience is most engaged with their Page, and determine whether English-speakers and Spanish-speakers engage with different types of content.
Earlier this week, I was talking to the marketing team at Top Hat Monocle, who makes software that helps college students interact with professors in real-time. Their challenge? While it’s the students who use the products, the professors and administrators are the ones who purchase licenses on behalf of the university. Both students and professors like their Facebook Page though, so in the past it hasn’t been possible for them to reach students and professors with separate marketing messages.
With Post Targeting by education, Top Hat Monocle can opt to target only college graduates with posts about webinars, product demos, and case studies, and target students who have not yet graduated with more informational content designed for end-users of their software.
While we don’t anticipate workplace targeting being as important for consumer brands and Pages, for B2B marketers, workplace targeting is a great way to segment marketing differently to employees of large companies versus smaller ones.
For example, maybe you’re the Director of Marketing for a startup that sells subscription software to businesses. Some of your audience on Facebook work at major Fortune 500 companies – ideal targets for your high-end Enterprise plan. They probably respond best to more high-level content – case studies, whitepapers, webinars, etc. The rest of your audience has a more limited budget, and responds better to hands-on content – tutorials, demo videos, news on feature releases, etc.
Before I worked at PageLever, I was in the music industry, and managed Facebook Pages on behalf of artists. When artists go on tour, the logical action on Facebook is to create a Facebook Event for each tour date and post to Facebook. But when Pages don’t target these posts, fans in New York end up seeing stories about new tour dates in San Francisco – no matter how big of a fan they are, this isn’t relevant content, and posts like this perform poorly can reduce the affinity between the user and the Page, so the next time the Page posts, fewer fans see the post.
The clear solution to this problem, that unfortunately not all Pages take advantage of when posting events, is to target the post by location, so that it only reaches fans who are within a reasonable distance of where the event will be held. When coupled with a small budget for targeted Facebook Ads, Facebook Events can have a huge impact on event attendance.
Obviously, not every marketing message fits easily within a single parameter, which is why it’s possible to combine targeting parameters. If you’re familiar with Facebook’s self-serve ad tool, then you’ll feel right at home here – each parameter is joined by an AND operator, meaning that the targeting gets narrower with each parameter you add, not larger. For example, if I select male as the targeting parameter for gender, and 25-34 as the age range, this means I’m telling Facebook to only show the post to users who are both male AND between 25-34.
This type of hyper-segmentation lends itself perfectly to any business where a certain demographic drives substantially more revenue than others. For example, social gaming companies like Zynga rely heavily on what they call “whales” – customers who spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on virtual goods. While every game is different, a typical profile for Farmville “whale” might fit into the following set of targeting parameters:
Social gaming companies have historically relied heavily on Facebook Ads to drive growth, but now with Post Targeting, they can also achieve a portion of this growth by reaching the most valuable fans of their Page organically.
Of course, with new opportunity comes additional complexity – for the past three years, most Pages posts have been targeted to all fans, so it’s been fairly easy to make apples to apples comparisons after factoring in content type. With the introduction of Post Targeting, there are literally tens of thousands of additional permutations of targeting parameters, and standard Facebook Insights. That’s why we built Post Tagging, so that you can compare posts based on your own custom tags. Want to compare posts targeted to men vs. women? Single vs. married? We’ve got you covered, and we’re hard at work to make this process even faster and more automated in the future.