Facebook Audiences & Interest Targeting
by Marco Bigatton, 11 October, 2016
As a Facebook advertiser, you need to define an audience for your ads, meaning who’s gonna see them. Facebook lets you target 3 distinct kind of audiences:
- Core Audiences
- Custom Audiences
- Lookalike Audiences
Core Audiences include the ability to target by location, age, gender, interests, behaviour, connections, etc. So, when you target by interests you’re using core audiences. Example: If you sell shoes, you may want to target people interested in shoes. Quite basic, but still it makes sense. Interest targeting is a good targeting option, as long as you understand how its built and its limits.
Facebook uses various metrics to decide whether someone is interested in something specific. It all started by looking into people’s page likes: If you enjoyed this post and had to like my page Marco’s Digital Marketing, Facebook would probably assume that you’re interested in digital marketing. As this approach has clear limits, Facebook started to add new metrics to the mix, such as the ads that you clicked on, the apps that you used and the content that you shared on Facebook.
Interest targeting sounds quite appealing, but as you look into it, challenges emerge. I spotted 3 main things that highlight potential weakness:
Accuracy. Facebook interest targeting is not necessary so accurate. You can discover what Facebook thinks that you’re interested in by visiting your Advert Preferences. You’ll probably spot things that you don’t really care much about. Example: Facebook believes that I’m interested in Cosmetics, but that’s simply because I still work in the beauty industry and I monitor key industry players by liking their pages and clicking on their ads. Facebook also believes that I’m interested in Football. Despite being Italian, I swear that there’s nothing I do care less than football. You’ll probably also discover things that interested you in the past, but that aren’t necessary your focus anymore. Our interests may change quicker than what Facebook takes to update your Advert Preferences.
Intent. As we said interest targeting is not necessary accurate, nor relevant, which means that by using this targeting option you could end up targeting people that lack intent, or in other words, people not necessary interested in buying in the short term what you’re advertising. Even supposing that I’m interested in cosmetics, that wouldn’t mean at all that I am interested in buying cosmetics anytime soon.
Interests targeting is not something to avoid, simply be conscious that more precise options exist. Interests may work well if you’re running broad campaigns; think of Niki running a brand awareness campaign aiming to reach people interested in tennis, baseball, outdoor sports and similar activities. Niki could definitely start by using interests, but as long as people move down their campaign funnel, it would be smart to run specific ads based on custom audiences and lookalikes. This approach would help Niki to focus its efforts on those people that shown higher interest in their campaign.
Want to discover what interests Facebook associates to your profile? Go to your Advert Preferences