Let’s say you want to launch an ad targeting a small group of people on Facebook. (Last week, we tried this with users who had liked our FBPPC Facebook page.) Curiously, what happens when you prep the ad in Ads Manager is totally different from what happens when you prep the ad in Power Editor.

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Ad Campaign in Ads Manager

Here are the audience settings I used for this test. The FBPPC page had a little fewer than 400 page likes, so you can assume the audience size was around there.

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What happens when you try to launch a campaign with this audience in Ads Manager? Nothing, actually. You can get to where you can launch the ad, but when you create the audience, Facebook tells you with a handy needle graphic that your audience is too small to be shown. Bummer.

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I launched the ad anyway, and after several days here were my results:

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Ad Campaign in Power Editor

Here is the audience I created in Power Editor. It’s almost exactly the same, except I actually narrowed it further (I’m assuming some people liked both of our pages). If anything, this should make Facebook even more hesitant to show my ad.

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However, after creating the audience, adding the creative, and launching the ad, I never received an error message as I had with the ad I created in Ads Manager. In fact, after a week, here are the results of the campaign:

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Does anyone have any idea why this discrepancy between PE and AM exists? Let’s speculate in the comments.

2 Comments

  1. Alexandre July 27th, 2015

    Hi Jonathan,

    Interresting test. I’ve never had to manage such campaigns as the one you did, and i’m very surprised with the difference between PE and AM. Very interested to have other people opinion.

    Just wondering why you did the recruitment campaign this way. Was it just for the test (there are many more ways to recruit on FB for 3Q than targeting fans of FBPPC)?

    Ok, my opinion why did this happenned :
    Facebook may consider that there are two categories of advertisers : specialists (agencies) and non-specialists (small retaillers shop or small companies..)
    I guess that facebook thinks that AM is mostly used by most non specialists advertisers (even though i use it a lot and I don’t consider myself as a non specialist).
    So, it could be a trick from Facebook to “educate” advertisers to think “big” or “large”. If the audience is too small, “non pro” advertisers could be disapointed of their results, hence disapointed of the facebook ads platform. And facebook don’t want that.
    On the other hand, PE is more used by “specialists”. So if you decide to have this specified audience, you have your reasons and Facebook let you manage it as you want, as they probbaly think that you know what you’re doing.

    Can’t wait to read others people opinion.

    BTW, if someone knows how to target couples without children on Facebook, I’d be more than very interested….

    Alexandre (twitter @abillaut)

  2. Rod Salm October 3rd, 2016

    Good observation. I was targeting a small town with fewer than 2000 residents so the potential audience was far below the threshold set my FB. This works.

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Jonathan Svilar
joined 3Q Digital in August of 2013 with a background of sales and marketing in the dynamic live concert industry. Jonathan graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara with a degree in Literature and Philosophy and a passion for technology. In his spare time, Jonathan is an avid motorcyclist, San Francisco Giants fan, and the proud parent of a fuzzy bunny and a dog.