Facebook’s Audience Insights is a valuable tool you use to discover interest-based target audiences. Here’s an overview and example of how to use this tool so you can discover topics, people, and competitors to test in your Facebook advertising campaigns.
(Note: this explanation assumes you have an idea of the niche you’re trying to target, a general idea of your buying persona, and a basic understanding of how to navigate through ads manager.)
A New Product
The best way to explain how to use Audience Insights is by example. In this case, we’ll use a hypothetical company that’s designing a new line of snowboards. We’re based in Colorado and just at the point where we’re ready to broaden our target audience and begin shipping our product.
Our goal, at this point, is to create brand awareness and educate potential buyers about our product. Our media is a 30-second promotional video. The conversion will be video view, set for people who watch at least 50% of the video.
We want to create a campaign that has at least 10
Open: Audience Insights
We navigate to Audience Insights and focus right away on the interests field. Several tips to note right away:
- I’m not going to bother with the drop-down options provided by Facebook. They’re almost all too general. Instead, I’ll input ideas and topics I already have in mind.
- I leave the location as the US.
- I won’t alter the gender or location at this time.
So, I start at the top by typing in “snowboarding”. As I do, I get suggestions below and see something that will already help me drill down, which is the brand “Burton Snowboards”.
An important tip here. Why choose to go to Burton Snowboards instead of snowboarding in general?
The reason is that snowboarding is too general a topic for my targeting purposes. When I click on it, it shows me an audience size of 10-15 million people.
With Burton, I’m moving towards finding people who have an interest in snowboard equipment and brands. The audience size there is 500-600k people, which is more defined.
Now that I have this audience, I check demographics, page likes, location, and activity. For our goals here, I’m especially interested in page likes.
Page likes rates other topics based on affinity, which is how likely this audience is to like a given page compared to the Facebook audience in general.
Another important tip here. This is by no means a straight list of topics for creating audiences. In fact, most of what you’ll get here is not relevant for your audience targeting.
But it’s likely there will be a few new ideas you can drill down on. Since we’re in Colorado, I want to give Breckenridge Ski Resort a look. Also, Snowboard Magazine. Further down the list is professional snowboarder Shaun White.
So I continue to drill down. I remove Burton and check the Snowboard Magazine audience (by putting into in the interest field). 400-450k. I check likes and see a new name, Torstein Horgmo. Never heard of him so I click on his name which links to his Facebook page. He’s a pro snowboarder who looks like a possible fit for my audience.
I go back to Insights and put this name in the the interests, removing Snowboarding Magazine.
He has an monthly audience of 25-30k, and in his page I see he has over 200k followers. I check locations and see he’s very popular in Colorado.
Bingo. This name is going on the list as an ad set target audience. It’s perfect.
On his page, I check the pages he likes. There’s a magazine called Snowboard Colorado. I put that into the interests field on Insights, but nothing comes up (not every topic you put in will have an audience recognized by Facebook). He also likes DC Snowboards, so I try that.
Yes. It’s there and has an audience size of 25-30k, and is also popular in Colorado. I look at likes and strike gold. It’s a list of small snowboard companies, some of which I know, but many which are new.
Now the process continues. I find only one of these, GNU, has an audience, but it’s a good one at 40-50k. It makes the list.
I check page affinities for them, and I see the name Travis Rice. He’s shown up before. I put him in as an interest and he’s got 150-200k of monthly active users and over 500k followers on his Facebook page. A perfect audience to test. On the list.
When I create the campaign, I’ll create an ad set for each of the interests I’m targeting (I suggest you name the ad set after the interest). You add the interest when you’re creating a new audience for the ad set in the field where it asks for detailed targeting:
When you’re using this strategy, be sure to create an ad set for each interest from the list developed on the Insights tool. This way you can compare results for each audience.
The Research Process
As I check Travis Rice, names of a couple of other pro snowboarders come up to add to my list. I also see several Colorado ski areas coming up, so I’ll probably test several of them with low-budget campaigns so I can get data on responses from those audiences.
After I run the campaign, I hope to find several audiences that meet my KPIs (key performance indicators). Then I can do two things.
First I can scale up by retargeting the audience that engaged with the first campaign. Since I’ve established their initial interest, I’m now willing to spend more to reach this group with a call to action that drives them further into my sales funnel, eventually towards buying my product.
The audiences that failed I dump. I set a low budget (maybe $5 a day) so my expenditure is minimal, but I’ve gained valuable data. I not only know specific audiences to avoid, but also the types of audiences in terms of the topic, demographics, and page affinities.
Note: In September of 2019, Facebook will change budgeting so budgets can only be set at the campaign level. Because of this, if you have interest targets where you need to set different budgets, you’ll need to create separate campaigns for them.
This process is how it’s done on Facebook. Researching using Audience Insights is the equivalent of doing keyword research for search marketing. It gives you the basic targets to test so you can get traffic and start to measure results.
There will be trial and error here. Remember that Facebook, unlike Google Search, is outbound marketing. You’re putting your content in front of new audiences that are, initially, based on assumptions. Some audiences won’t do well.
You’ll also have to split test goals, ads, and landing page funnels. Based on the data you get on Insights, you may want to target demographics or locations. All of this has to be dialed in to get optimal results.
Then you’ll keep scaling. An audience you test from Insights will eventually turn into buyers, which you use as a seed to create a lookalike audience that targets new people – built off an audience you know makes you money. As you get more targeted audiences, you can increase budgets at low-risk levels because you’ll have a high probability of getting ROAS (return on ad spend).
This takes time and effort. Facebook has some magical qualities, but it’s not a magic pill. Start researching audiences that have the potential to become your customers. You’ll discover there is more potential out there then you ever dreamed possible.