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Facebook Advertising: What Is It Good For?

Liri Katz
Facebook Advertising: What Is It Good For?

Facebook, as most of us probably know, is a popular free social networking website that allows registered users to create profiles, upload posts, photos and video, and interact with other users in many ways.

As of June 2014, there are more than 1.3 billion active Facebook users.

This large number of users has significant implications in general, but even more significant when it comes to one of its powerful features: Advertising.

The large amount of users that only keeps on growing, combined with the advanced targeting/segmentation options, make advertising on Facebook extremely effective. Unlike other online advertising platforms, which allow you to reach about 38% of your intended audience, with Facebook you reach some 89%.
Ads on Facebook are unique by their nature, and are shown to very specific groups of highly interested/engaged people, on desktop and/or mobile, allowing better market segmentation.

The rapid flow of information on Facebook means that if your ad content is creative and properly targeted, it will receive more likes, comments, and shares. This makes your ad even more popular, and causes friends of friends to see them as well – potentially increasing the reach even further. It is only fair to assume that a friend of a person who has interacted in any way with an ad might share at least some of the same interests, and find the ad relevant as well.

Here are some of the most popular targeting options you can use in Facebook:

1) Location: Probably one of the first options that come to mind. It basically allows you to reach people in cities, countries and communities where you want to do business. For example: If you’re a local business, you can show your ads to people who are near your shop. Currently, Facebook allows you to target between 1-25 countries at once, and to optimize accordingly, based on the local options, Facebook pricing, and competition. In the U.S., for instance, it is possible to use Country, State, City and Zip Codes for narrowing down audience targets. The idea is using a similar ad strategy, but tweaking it and making slight modifications, to increase relevancy even more.

2) Age: Another basic way for increasing relevance between your ad and target audience. Facebook allows you to target people anywhere from the age of 13 to 65 years old. It is also possible to remove the maximum age, and by that – target people older than 65.

3) Gender: As implied by its name, this simple option allows you to choose whether to show your ads to men only, to women only, or to everyone. It may be easily used for campaigns in which the target audience is supposedly clear, such as women’s clothing or men’s perfume. However, in many cases, brands can be relevant to both men and women, and the difference can be in the ad itself and the message that you bring across. It is therefore recommended to test several ad combinations, to see what works best.

4) Precise Interests: With this option, advertisers can target Facebook users who have listed a specific interest on their Timeline. These precise interests are pulled from their Facebook profile activities, interests, job titles, education, groups they belong to, and pages they have liked. It is very powerful, as the users themselves define exactly what interests them. Advertisers can assume that if a Facebook user is interested in a certain reality TV show, for example, it is quite likely that they will find interest in other TV shows of the same nature.

5) Broad Categories: Unlike the “Precise Interests” option, here the users do not define specific things they like. In this case, Facebook creates the categories by looking into the users’ basic information, pages visited in, online activity, etc. Such broad categories could be “Basketball fans”, “People who got married in the past year”, and “Atheists”, for example. The targeted audience here is larger, and it is too broad of an option to be used by itself. However, if combined with other options to narrow it down a bit, it can prove very useful.

6) Connections: This option allows Facebook ads to be targeted according to the relationship a user has with a Facebook page. Advertisers can choose to either include or exclude users, based on their connections. To many, this option is essential and provides advertisers with a tool for achieving the best conversion results with Facebook ads. According to Webtrends, the CTR can be 7 times larger when existing fans of a page are targeted. “Connections should be the number one criteria used by advertisers. Nothing increases a click-through rate more,” said Justin Kistner, Director of Social Products at Webtrends. Another aspect of this option is using the basic social aspect of Facebook: Ads with the “Target friends of connections” option enabled show Facebook users which of their friends already like a certain page, app, or event. An ad may become more relevant to someone if they see that their friends have already interacted with it.

7) Advanced Targeting Options: Several demographic targeting options can be found under the “Advanced” section. Unlike the previously mentioned demographics option, which is based on information the user is required to fill in, this option is based on optional information. The advance options include:

  • · Interested In: This allows advertisers to target users according to the gender they are interested in for a friendship, dating, a relationship or networking.
  • · Languages: Best used when targeting an audience that speaks a language that is different from most of the people in the targeted geography.
  • · Relationship Status: This allows a business to target Facebook users that are married, single, engaged, or in a relationship.
  • · Education: This option enables the targeting of Facebook users who are in high school, college, or graduates. Businesses can also target Facebook users who went to a specific school, study a specific topic, or the expected graduation date for current college students.
  • · Workplaces: Targeting Facebook users by where they work can be useful in various B2B, job search, and industry specific scenarios.
    • Again, these are usually not used as stand-alone options, and can be best utilized for fine tuning and optimizing audience.

      In conclusion, Facebook advertising is a great method for reaching highly targeted and relevant audience. If used wisely and according to a well-planned strategy, it can make your message come across and increase your ROI.

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