Ad Targeting

The Facebook Ads tool is ratcheting it up a notch. They’ve teamed up with some of the creepiest data-mining companies out there to create an advertising tool capable of targeting with unheard-of precision.

But you already know that. You know that Facebook’s targeting capabilities are second-to-none.

But did you know they’re getting better?

This article will take a look at five of the new Facebook Ad targeting capabilities and categories. There are a few more than I’ll be getting into here, but these are (for me) the most influential and interesting. I’ll give a breakdown of each section and tell you exactly how you could use this new ability for your own business.

Let’s get rolling.

1. Income and Net Worth

This is probably one of the coolest new targeting strategies and the one that many of us have been waiting for. Facebook (at last!) allows you to segment your target ad audience by income.

Income brackets:

-$40,000 – $50,000
-$50,000 – $75,000
-$75,000 – $100,000
-$100,000 – $125,000
-Over $125,000

How you can use this:

Income is either consumer self-reported through a survey or estimated based on a variety of demographic data such as age, occupation, home ownership, and median income for the local area.

Because of these limitations, I seriously recommend using this targeting category in conjunction with a few of the others I’ll describe in #2-5.

For instance, when you target users with an income of $75,000-100,000, you should also target users with a car worth more than $50,000 and philanthropic tendencies (all of which are new abilities for Facebook Ads).

These ad categories will overlap, and the users you’re left with will be a demographic segment you can really trust.

2. Recent Changes to User’s Profiles

This targeting category is one of the most interesting, and it requires you to be more creative than others. A few of these targeting categories have been available in Power Editor for some time now, but others (like “recently moved,” “new job,” and “upcoming birthday”) are new and powerful additions.

Here are the 13 new targeting categories in the Facebook Ad update:

1. Away From Family
2. Away From Hometown
3. Long Distance Relationship
4. New Job
5. New Relationship
6. Newly Engaged (1 Year)
7. Newly Engaged (3 Months)
8. Newly Engaged (6 Months)
9. Newlywed (1 Year)
10. Newlywed (3 Months)
11. Newlywed (6 Months)
12. Recently Moved
13. Upcoming Birthday

How you can use this:

This is where you have to get creative. However, when you think about it, these new strategies could be incredibly useful when targeting your ad. For instance:

-Target newlyweds for new home ownership, mortgage, or baby stuff

-Target recently moved with furniture promotions

-Target “away from home” and “long distance relationship” with communication apps and products

-Target new relationships with “for him” and “for her” gifts and deals

3. Automotive

Automotive targeting, which Facebook has attained from Datalogix, is the most specific targeting we’ve ever seen on any platform.

Aftermarket

-The aftermarket targeting category allows you to target people who have bought auto parts, services, or accessories and are likely to do so again

Make

-This category allows you to target by 40 different makes of car

Purchased

-This category enables you to target ads based on how recently users have bought a car

Style

-The “style” option allows you to target Facebook users based on the kind of vehicle they own (Commercial Truck, Crossover, Economy/Compact, Full-Size SUV, Full-Size Sedan, etc.)

Vehicle Age

-As common sense dictates, this targeting category allows you to target users who have owned their vehicles for a set amount of time (0-1 years, 2, 3, 4-5, 6-10, 11-15, etc.)

Vehicle Price

-Perhaps the most interesting targeting category, vehicle price might be an indicator of a user’s income. Facebook gives you six price brackets to choose from

 How you can use this:

Let’s say your business sells car air filters – an aftermarket accessory that needs to be changed about every 24,000 miles (or, say, 18 months). Automotive targeting will allow you to show an ad promoting your air filters exclusively to people within the US who bought a car 13-24 months ago or who bought an air filter two years ago and may need another one.

You could also target Facebook users who own cars more than 16 years old, prompting them to buy a new one.

4.  Charitable Donations

Absolutely vital for non-profit organizations and charities, this targeting allows you to find Facebook users who have contributed to specific causes in the past. Many philanthropic individuals have their chosen cause, and prompting a donation to your cause will be a waste of time.

Facebook breaks charitable contributions into nine categories:

1. Animal Welfare
2. Arts and Cultural
3. Children’s Interests
4. Environmental and Wildlife
5. Health
6. Political
7. Religious
8. Veterans
9. World Relief

How you can use this:

Not only is this useful for non-profits (the usefulness for you guys is pretty obvious) but it could also be useful more obliquely. For instance, someone who has donated to a religious cause in the past may be interested in religious products in the future. Someone who has donated to an environmental cause will be more likely to care about eco-friendly products than someone who hasn’t.

Think outside the box!

5. Travel

Facebook has enabled advertisers to target exclusively people who travel for business (both domestic and international), as well as people interested in cruises and casino vacations and people who are (literally) traveling in that exact moment.

More than this, though (and this is the most exciting one in my opinion), Facebook scans News Feed information to discover users who are “intending” to travel to specific destinations.

What am I talking about? Well, Facebook advertisers can now target people who are intending (in the next 6 months) to travel to…

-Australia
-Beach
-Brazil
-Dubai
-England
-France
-Germany
-Italy
-Las Vegas
-Los Angeles
-Mexico
-Netherlands
-New York
-Orlando
-San Francisco
-Spain
-Thailand

How you can use this:

The ability to target people by travel destination is awesome for all kinds of business.

-Consider the example of a hotel in New York. Promote your ad exclusively at people travelling to your city in the next few months.

-Consider the example of an ecommerce business selling funky Hawaiian shirts. Promote your ad exclusively at people travelling to the beach, Mexico, Brazil, or Australia.

-Or how about a company like Frommer’s or another travel guide company? They’re now able to target their country-specific products exclusively at people who are going to those countries!

Where does Facebook get this information, and should I be worried about my privacy?

Great question, and one that any sensible person will be asking in the coming months. To be very clear, Facebook advertisers (you) don’t actually have access to any of the names that correspond to this data. If you do have any questions, be sure to read this message from Facebook.

Conclusion

Hopefully that’s given you a better idea of what the future of Facebook Advertising holds for us all. If you’re slightly unnerved by the specificity of Facebook’s tool, don’t worry, you’re not alone.

However, as scary as this all is, none of us can refuse the fact that it’s incredibly powerful for us as advertisers. These targeting capabilities, coupled with Custom, Lookalike and Website Custom audiences, are giving Google a serious run for its AdWords money.

I, for one, am waiting with baited breath to see what’s going to happen between the two in the next year or so.

What do you think?

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James Scherer (@JDScherer) is a social media expert and blogger for Wishpond.Wishpondmakes it easy to create online ads, lead-generation pages, email automation campaigns & manage all of your contacts.