How to Use Audience Insights for Ad Targeting
Published: June 23, 2014
Author: Zach Greenberger
Now that Facebook has released their Audience Insights report for all advertisers, it’s a good time to see how we can make that data actionable.
There are a number of tabs available in Audience Insights. Some offer more useful data than others. You want to identify the data points where your audience differs dramatically from the average Facebook audience. Those are the audiences you can focus on with assurance that you’ve got a good chance of connecting to the people who matter to your business.
Before we dive in, here are some points to keep in mind:
1. Find the Audience Insights from your Facebook Ads Manager. It’s a menu option in the left navigation, right under the link to Reports.
2. To analyze your data, you need to upload a Custom Audience of your customers. These are the people who matter to your business, and the goal of your marketing campaign should be to find more of them. Select your audience from the menu on the left to begin your analysis.
3. You can also analyze your Fan Page audience, but depending on how your business monetizes that audience, you may have better luck with a Custom Audience.
4. The other audiences you can analyze, all accessible from the left navigation, are interesting, but they won’t help find users to target who resemble your customers.
When you choose your audience to analyze, Facebook compares that (relatively) small audience to their entire user base. For example, 18.6% of all Facebook users in the US are men ages 35 – 44. If 35% of your audience is in that age group, it means that targeting that age range will give you an improved likelihood of reaching likely costumers. You want to find examples like this, where your audience skews higher than Facebook’s averages, and target those types of users with your ads.
The insights: a breakdown
Here’s a summary of what’s on each tab:
Here you can see Age, Gender, Relationship Status, and Job Titles for the users in your audience. If you see any columns where your data diverges significantly from Facebook’s data, that’s a great point to focus on. For example, if 73% of your audience is married, you know your product or service appeals more to married people (the average on Facebook is 43% married). The Demographics tab also includes information from Personix breaking your users into a number of quirky groups. This data looks interesting, but it’s not actionable because there’s no way to target your Facebook ads to these groups.
If your audience is big enough to generate results on this tab, it can be very useful. Here Facebook shows you the top pages in a number of common categories, as well as the top pages overall that overlap with your audience. In many cases, these pages will translate directly into Interest Targeting for your campaign. Pay close attention to the Affinity score. That’s a measure of how much more likely someone in your audience is to be connected to each page. Focus on pages with an Affinity score over 2x.
Depending on your type of business, the Location tab might be useful to you. If you have a very strong presence in major cities, or a high percentage of customers who speak a non-English language, this is the tab that will show you the details. But be careful that you don’t narrow your audience too much by focusing on small geographic regions.
We haven’t found a good use for the Frequency of Activities data. If you have any creative suggestions, please post them in the comments!
The Device Users data is useful if you’re targeting your ads to mobile users. Some advertisers see a big affinity from either Android or iPhone users. iPad users especially rank higher for some businesses.
As part of their partnerships with Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon, Facebook shows us how our audiences overlap with this offline demographic information. Here again, look for groups where your audience skews much higher than Facebook’s average audience. For example, many e-commerce purchases are made by users at the high end of the Household Income groups. This data can be directly translated into Facebook ads using the Advanced Demographic and Behaviors targeting and searching for “income.”
Be careful when you’re choosing which targeting dimensions you focus on. It’s easy to reduce your audience size too much. Pay attention to the small pie chart in the lower-left corner of each audience graph. This tells you the total percentage of your audience that is include in the 3rd-party data set. If that percentage is too small (less than 50%) it means the 3rd-party data providers do not track your users. That means if you use their data for your targeting, you’re cutting off big chunks of your potential audience. If you see a big affinity in one of these groups, you should still utilize it in your targets, but make sure you have additional campaigns targeting the people you may be missing.
This tab uses more data from the 3rd-party data providers to show you which types of purchases your audience has made. You can directly target other users who make similar types of purchases using the Advanced Demographics and Behaviors targeting. Look for purchase types that have a high value in the Compare column. This tells you that your users are X-percent more likely to have made a type of purchase than the average Facebook user. Pay attention to the lower-right pie chart, and the percentage of your total audience that matches the purchase category. If the percentage is too low, it doesn’t matter how big the affinity is, you’ll be limiting your audience to a small size.
The automobile table farther down the page can also be useful if you see a strong affinity with your audience. You can toggle between New and Used purchase intent using the select list in the upper right corner.
With the launch of the Audience Insights tool, Facebook gives us the tools to inspect our Fan Pages and Custom Audiences and learn how they diverge from the average Facebook user. This data is invaluable for connecting to the people who matter to your business. Pick out the top three or four sets of data from the tabs that show the greatest affinities that can be targeted. Test each of them and see if you can scale your campaigns profitably. Good luck!