Learning how to create the right Facebook audience for my ads made all the difference between success and failure.
This could’ve easily been the story of how I lost some of my biggest clients. A retail company I’ve worked with over the past year had just run a huge Facebook Ad campaign over the holidays and weren't getting the results they had hoped for. I was pretty sure of my Ad targeting skills but couldn’t figure out what went wrong until I met the client in person. She told me that I just didn’t understand her customers and that I had to rethink how to reach out to this audience.
Over the next few days, I talked to my team and the client over how to improve our Facebook audience targeting strategy.
After speaking to experts, reading countless blogs on Facebook Ad targeting this is the list of changes we brought to our targeting strategy.
Define your ideal customer with a buyer persona:
A buyer persona is simply a fictional caricature of your ideal customer. A well thought out introspective into what an ideal clientele might look like, their personal stories and the erratic behavior patterns that make every customer segment unique in its own rite. Developing good buying personas can go a long way in improving our Ad targeting strategy.
Advertising on Facebook is much broader than listing possible interests. It is a systematic process where we thoroughly research our customers and find out all we can about our customers. And buyer personas are a ridiculously effective way to learn about our audience.
To learn more about how to make a buyer persona click here.
A/B Test all your Facebook Audiences:
A/B Testing your ads can be crucial to a successful campaign. What are A/B Tests you ask? Think of A/B Testing as an acronym for Always be testing because, at the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to - coming up with new experiment ideas and geeking out about the results.
I’ve been using AB Tests exclusively for finding the right audience match for quite a while now and it has always been a useful tool at my disposal.
If you’re trying to target the right audience for your ads, try creating multiple audiences with different buyer personas in mind and test them against each other (using Facebook's A/B test tool) before you can settle down on a audience that works.
How to select an audience size (niche vs mass):
In the early days of my digital marketing career, I always struggled with the size of my audiences. I wasn’t sure whether I should go for a narrow or broad target segment. While narrow audiences can fit into the criteria set out for my buyer personas, larger audiences always made me feel safe that I was reaching multiple buyer personas simultaneously. I don’t believe in the latter anymore and that’s mainly because of two reasons:
- Ads don’t reach out to more than 25% of my target audience when my ads target larger sets, this leaves me in the dark when it comes to understanding who’s seen my ads and who hasn’t. It’s much easier to reach 80-90% of my audience when the target set is narrow. As an added bonus, I have more control over the frequency of ads I can show my customers.
- Larger interests can overlap with other interests/criteria set out in audience selection. I’ve been guilty of making this mistake - let’s say I want to target only iPhone users and then select the appropriate interests for targeting solely to iPhones. I could then set another broad interest such as people who read Vogue magazine. By adding another interest, I’m not creating an audience who both uses iPhones and reads Vogue (although this can be done) but telling Facebook to target iPhone users or Vogue readers, some of whom can be reading Vogue on an Android phone.
Pro Tip: Select similar interests to ensure there isn’t any audience overlap.
Post ads when your customers are the most active on Facebook:
Leave it to some clients to throw a curve ball at you every once in a while. Just when you get comfy with the media buying plan and you’ve set 90% of your ads on autopilot, in comes a client with a new challenge.
You can customize your goals beyond what Facebook Ad manager allows you with the objective settings by learning about your customer’s behaviors.
For instance, if you want to increase the number of comments on your posts; a great way to go about it would be to schedule ads during intervals where your audience is most active on Facebook.
Utilize Facebook’s custom and lookalike audiences for advanced targeting:
Facebook’s customised audiences are a boon for advertisers. It finds the best audiences based on people who have previously engaged with your brand and does all the hard work for you. You can take customised audiences one step further by creating a lookalike audience when you need to reach out to new people or when you’re out of ideas on creating a unique target set for your next batch of ads.
Pro tip: You can also create custom audiences from video views.