Hello and welcome to Social Media Nibbles. I’m Paula O’Sullivan, social media strategist and head possum at Possum Digital. In this episode we’re going to be looking at how to choose an audience to target for your Facebook advertising.

Now during 2018, Facebook has undergone wholesale changes to its platform including the Ads Manager. We know that organic reach is down and we know that there’s been significant changes to the terms of service which have resulted in things like tightening up on the use of email lists and increased ad content reviewing, but just like any good marketing plan, you need to be flexible to changing outside circumstances.

If you haven’t before, you may want to consider investing some budget in Facebook advertising. If you’ve had less than ideal results in the past, one of the factors might be the biggest challenge of knowing who to actually target and how to find them. With 15 million monthly active users on Facebook in Australia, there’s a huge pool of potential customers, so you can waste a lot of money really fast, but if you have a limited budget you need to be laser focused on how you spend your advertising dollars.

Before you start any more ad campaigns you need to look at who you actually want to target and how you do that.

The type of audience you’ll need will be based on your own circumstances but the more you test and measure the better your targeting will be.

Before you start any advertising, if you haven’t already, make sure you get a Facebook pixel from your account and place it on your website. If you don’t have a pixel, in my view, don’t even bother advertising as you’re wasting a lot of money and effort. Any good web developer, or you can find a good YouTube instructional video, can help you.

Now let’s look at the types of audience targeting options available to you.

The first is what Facebook calls Core Audiences.

This type of targeting allows you to select your audience through personal and behavioural characteristics so you can target things like demographic, that would be age, gender, work, relationship status. Location, now this is especially useful if you have a shopfront or if you only want to target people in a specific geographical area. Interests, which include the types of pages liked, the kind of content posted, engaged with, hobbies, places people have checked into and how people generally like to be entertained.

As you would all know out there, every time you do something on the internet or within Facebook, it actually drops a little bit of data into your Facebook profile and that’s how Facebook gathers information about you.

Facebook has removed access to third party data and some interests have been removed, so while this is a good way to start if you’ve never advertised before, you don’t actually want to rely on this type of audience for your long-term advertising strategy.

The second type of audience is a custom audience.

The great news is that you can target people who are on your email list or have visited your website or even engaged with your Facebook page or content on your page.

Now this type of targeting is my personal favourite, as you are using your own data to create Facebook advertising campaigns.

Creating a custom audience from your email list is actually relatively easy. You simply upload your list in a TXT format and Facebook will do the rest. What you may want to think about before uploading your list is segmenting your list into categories like repeat customers, leads that haven’t purchased and so on and so forth.

This helps you refine your targeting even further and will help with lookalike audiences, which I’ll talk about in a minute. Know that from now any list you upload, you will need to let Facebook know if you collected the data directly from your customers or did the data come from an external source and you will need to remove email addresses from anyone who opts out of your email list.

For website traffic, you can use your Facebook pixel to create an audience of people who do things like visit a specific page on your website, go to your lead capture page but don’t actually put in their details or sign up or they fill a cart and then abandon that cart.

If you are using website traffic as a basis for your custom audience, you will need to drive traffic so that the pixel can collect data. If you’ve never had a pixel on your site before, when you place the pixel on your site I like to make sure that I’m driving really good traffic from a variety of sources and I’m doing that for at least two to four weeks before serving ads.

Again, the more defined your audience is, the better you can target your message.

A great feature I’ve been using is creating audiences based on who engages with your Facebook page or content.

One strategy that warms up an audience is serving an ad to a cold audience with just a video, nothing else, and a little bit of text at the top. Then see who watches it for more than 10 seconds and then this group actually becomes your custom audience. You’ve gone to a cold audience, you’ve given them a video, a bit of educational content and if you think 10 seconds isn’t a long time, sit down and actually count that out. Then once you’ve created a new audience of these people who have watched your video for more than 10 seconds, you can serve them a second ad with another call to action.

Now the third type of audience is a lookalike audience. Facebook can help you find other users who look like your custom audience. All you need to do is to create your custom audience then ask Facebook to create a lookalike audience for you.

Say for example you upload an email list of people who have purchased a product from you. Then what you’re telling Facebook to do is to say, can you please go and find me more people like this? Facebook will find anyone it thinks actually looks like and will behave like the people who have already purchased from you.

Importantly, the quality of the lookalike audience is going to depend on the quality of your original data and how you have set up your custom audiences. The more specific data that you can give Facebook, the better the lookalike audience outcome will be.

Before you set up your next Facebook ad campaign, have a plan for who you are going to target and what type of audience you need to reach them.

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