Can you make ad targeting super precise? Yep, here’s how…

Imagine if you could reach all the people with the same interests as your target customer and show off your products on their phones? Interest targeting on Facebook lets you advertise your store to people who match your target demographic. You can reach millions, but you only want to serve ads to people who will actually buy your stuff. In this blog we share the tricks and the details that the pros use to make interest targeting work for their brands on Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook has 2 billion active users creating a huge amount of data available for advertisers to exploit. When you build a campaign for a target audience, there are literally thousands of options ranging from very broad interests that have millions of people to super narrow ones that might only contain hundreds. It may sound easy – just type in your target demographic and click “go” – but this is the place most people slip up and burn cash. You can save money by learning a little more about the way the demographic algorithms work and how the professionals drill down into data sets to target the most likely buyers – we call them probables – whilst excluding the possibles. We’ll use a skate brand as an example.

Using Facebook’s Audience Insight tool, we can see that there are 1.5m people who “like skateboarding” in the UK. Good to go right? But if you think about it, there’s no way 1 in 40 people in the UK hit the half pipe on a regular basis.

Like any algorithm, Facebook’s interest algorithm isn’t perfect and can only work off data that its users give it online. For example, imagine a viral video of someone falling off a skateboard with the hashtag #skateboarding. Facebook may decide that anyone who engages (likes, comments, shares) that video is now interested in skateboarding.

To target real skateboarders, we need to think harder than just clicking “interested in skateboarding” – that’s general. Ask yourself, What specific things would only a genuine skater be interested in?

Instead, we configure our audience to people who follow 3 professional skateboarders that only hardcore skateboarders might know, and 1 skateboard magazine. The audience size drops to a much more appropriate 150k.

This will vary based on your demographic, but in this scenario, you try things like targeting people who are interested in lesser-known professional sportspeople, or magazines that are specific to an interest. We will never know for sure exactly how the algorithms work (they change all the time) but by using more tactical targeting, we can be more confident that the people in this audience actually like skateboarding. And if we are a skate brand for skaters by skaters, that can lead to more sales for less spend.

Next time you build an ad, remember that clever targeting can be the difference between profit and loss. And our pre-ad checklist helps make sure that when your perfect audience visits your store, you turn them into sales.

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