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Today’s post is by Mark Luskus, media analyst at Ampush.

facebook audience segmentationAt Ampush, we have executed numerous fan acquisition campaigns for our clients to establish their presence on Facebook. Although fan acquisition efforts have historically been one of our clients’ biggest focuses, in 2013 we have seen decreased emphasis on fan acquisition as a primary campaign goal and a heightened focus on fan engagement.

For brands to engage their fan bases effectively, it is essential to segment audience groups and effectively test which messaging yields the highest engagement. Unpublished page posts (which can only be seen by target audiences in the news feed) greatly improve advertisers’ abilities to do this, enabling brands to create engaging and personalized marketing materials that will greatly enhance their ability to capitalize on their fan bases.

Strategy

While targeting and creative materials that were used for fan acquisition, as well as page insights, can reveal information about your fan base, it is an incomplete data set. Consequently, brands should systematically test page posts with creative variations to identify themes that induce consistently high levels of engagement from their fans, as measured by clicks, comments, likes, and shares. A detailed understanding of how fans respond to brand messaging will enable brands to effectively convert their fan bases into brand advocates and ROI drivers.

There are several important considerations when designing a testing strategy to understand your fans. Primarily, a fan base is not a homogeneous audience. Although all fans are driven to a page due to their affinity for that particular brand, that factor is likely the only common denominator between fans. Therefore, testing ad units across a fan targeting Facebook page postsbase with no targeting restrictions will be ineffective in detecting important factors for engagement of distinct audience segments. Consequently, all testing strategies should partition fan bases into well-defined demographic segments, demarcating by age, geography, gender, interests, and any additional factors relevant to your marketing strategy. This granular approach will successfully identify the most effective ways to reach all segments of a brand’s fan base.

Until recently, this highly targeted approach was impossible because of limitations of the Facebook platform. All new page posts were visible to all users, and although targeting restrictions could be instated for the promotion of page posts, rigorous testing strategies requiring numerous page posts ran the risk of exhausting fans by cluttering their news feeds via organic ad delivery.  However, unpublished page posts (again, they can only be seen by targeted audiences and can now be placed in the News Feed), solve this problem. Now, brands and marketers can concurrently launch several page posts on their fan page, all targeted to different audience segments, to identify best practices for reaching all niches in a fan base.

Results

The results of a well-executed testing strategy will lay the foundation for brands to drive outcomes from their fan bases. Engaging promoted media targeted to different audience segments will generate brand loyalty and cultivate brand advocates, which will propagate brand messaging on and offline.

Offers, Page Post Link Ads that drive offsite conversions or purchases, and other clear revenue drivers can be specially designed and delivered to segments of a fan base, increasing downstream conversion rates.  Facebook is a powerful platform for creating personalized advertising experiences for users, and advertisers should use all tools available, particularly unpublished page posts, to capitalize on this feature.

mark luskus ampush– Mark Luskus is a media analyst at Ampush, a social technology company in San Francisco. Prior to joining Ampush, he earned his masters in Molecular & Cell Biology at UC Berkeley. Follow Mark and his colleagues on the Ampush blog.