Targeted Facebook Ads

Facebook Ad Targeting On Social Media

Search engines succeed by identifying a good match between a user’s query and a relevant ad, which attracts a click. Extended to display advertising on publisher sites, search engines’ content networks succeed by semantically processing the content of the page and finding ads that are relevant to the “meaning” of the page. The effectiveness of a program like Google’s content network is truly an impressive computational linguistic feat.

In contrast, Facebook does not have to solve this difficult computational problem in order to target their ads effectively. This is because they know so much about their users.

Social networks like Facebook collect a wealth of detailed information about their users — the very purpose of a social media profile is to serve as a repository of users’ personal information. While users may use this information to connect with friends, advertisers can use this information to understand and target their audience. When users log in to their Facebook account, the networks’ advertising engines have access to all of their profile data for the purposes of ad targeting.

Who Should Use Demographic/Psychographic Ad Targeting?

Narrowly targeting your audience is good for you, the advertiser, because it helps you connect with individuals who are likely to want whatever it is you’re offering. But it is also good for the ad publishers, because well-targeted ads are more likely to result in clicks, and subsequent revenue for publishers. Just as Google uses “Quality Score” to reward ads that will appeal to users and draw clicks, social networks with ad targeting capabilities will reward you with a higher share of the available ad impressions and lower costs per click if you narrowly target your ad. Generally, the more targeted an ad is, the better pricing you’ll get. This is especially true on MySpace, where the interface actually shows you price estimates based on your targeting options.

When evaluating whether targeted social media ads are right for you, as with all methods of targeting, you want to ask yourself how you describe or define your target audience. Can you define your target audience in terms of a very specific demographic or psychographic profile? Even if you feel that your customers are not easily targeted, consider the possibility of targeting a subset of your customers. For example, an online DVD retailer might find that overall, their audience is very broad, but they might want to individually target a single ad for the DVD Yoga Pregnancy: Pre-and Post-Natal Workouts to women who were age 20-40 who indicated their parental status as “Expecting” or “Just Gave Birth” and who list “Yoga” among their interests.

Another important consideration is that targeted social media ads are much more time-intensive to manage than most search engine CPC networks. However, Clickable Pro’s spreadsheet-based tools allow you to create, edit and delete Facebook campaigns and ads in bulk, making it significantly easier to experiment with social media advertising in a significant way. And advertisers who want a higher level of support can always take advantage of Clickable Assist, our managed service.

Demographic Targeting on Facebook

So, if you want to set up demographically/psychographically targeted ads on Facebook, what do you do, and how do you do it well?

1. You will need to do this via a Facebook account, so if you don’t have one, create one at If you already have an account, log in.

2. At the very bottom of the page, click on “Advertising.”

3. Follow the instructions to set up your advertiser account and create your first ad.

4. When you begin the ad-setup process, you’ll see a big form with lots of options. Most of this is self-explanatory, but here are some highlights and things to consider.

  • Unlike typical PPC ads, Facebook “text” ads include an optional image. You should always use an image, even if it’s not terribly interesting. Your ad will be larger, get noticed more, and be more effective if it includes an image. If you don’t have any other appropriate image, use your logo.
  • Description text can be up to 135 characters, which is nearly double the 70 you get on Google or Yahoo.
  • Ads can be targeted based on location, age, sex, birthday, education level, current and former workplaces, relationship status and sexual orientation, language, and “connections” (which people or entities they are friends with). A final option, the most useful one, is called “keywords.” These are not keywords that the user searched for, but rather words that appear somewhere in their profiles. Unlike search engine keywords, you cannot enter arbitrary keywords here. Instead, there is a large fixed set of keywords options, and Facebook will prompt you to select one of the available “keywords”. Take advantage of as many of these options as you can. If any of these options seem to describe your users, use that option to target your ads.
  • Set a campaign name and budget, and you’re all set.

Demographic Targeting on Facebook

Marketers who don’t want to create pay-per-click Facebook advertisements one-by-one can use Clickable Pro’s bulk uploading tools. You will still need to create an advertising account within Facebook, but you now have the option of creating, editing and deleting campaigns and ads in bulk with Clickable’s spreadsheet-based tools. (For more information on the Clickable Pro Facebook tool, please visit our Product Guide.)

Closing Advice

“I’ve been wishing I could serve my ads only to female football fans in Massachusetts to sell these pink Patriots jerseys.” But there are many more advertisers whose audiences are broad, who really don’t need all this targeting granularity. So, I have two pieces of advice if you are considering a targeted social media advertising campaign:

1. Target all of your social media advertisements. For some marketers, this will mean defining their total market in terms of a narrow “persona.” For others, it will mean defining subsets of their total audience, and targeting advertisements to them.

2. If you do get into the targeted social media ads, take advantage of as many of the targeting options as you can. Your ads will be cheaper, and more effective.