What Facebook Audience Insights really means for advertisers

AudienceInsightsIf you’re a regular advertiser on the Facebook platform, then hopefully you’ve seen the recent news about the launch of Audience Insights. This may have passed many by as just another Facebook tool that is coming soon, and that looks an awful lot like page insights. However, Audience Insights is a real game changer for advertisers.

Until now, advertisers on Facebook have fallen into one of three main groups. The first of these groups is the unadvanced advertiser. Advertisers in this group tend to use Facebook irregularly, and don’t take the full targeting capabilities seriously, either due to lack of time or lack of knowledge. Adverts run by this group are often targeted very simply to friends of fans, or just by location and demographic.

The second group are those that target properly using custom audiences, interests, demographics, partner categories and so on, but don’t have much if any audience insight to base their targeting on.

The third group of advertisers are those that do use insight to justify their targeting criteria. Pre-Audience Insights from Facebook, this has generally been general market insight data, and social insight from specialist technology companies.

Level of spend, and size of brand often makes no difference as to which group the advertiser falls into – it all comes down to knowledge and attitude around the Facebook advertising platform.  However, Audience Insights holds clear benefits for all three groups.

For those using no targeting and very little data, Audience Insights is a quick and easy way to understand a little more about their target audience, and can teach them a great deal about the kind of targeting options available.

Where Audience Insights really comes into it’s own is for those advertisers who do target properly but are unclear as to what they should be targeting. By being able to base your targeting decisions on real data from Facebook and real life purchase data from partner categories, you are able to be a lot smarter and reduce wastage.

Advertisers in the third group can also benefit. Custom technology and insight tools can be very expensive, and often isn’t as comprehensive as the data in the Audience Insight tool. Don’t get me wrong, custom data is still hugely powerful and can go beyond Audience Insights current capabilities, however the ease and free availability of Audience Insights makes it a must use tool for all campaigns.

If you’re running Facebook campaigns, it’s time to forget about how you’ve run them in the past. Audience Insights allows you to put data first and truly understand your audience in order to target in the best way possible. By understanding your audience at a new level of depth you can begin to analyze what else they are interested in, how likely they are to buy online, and their brand affinity.  This lets you find targeting opportunities that are less competitive, and more relevant for the audience you most want to capture.

Audience Insights, if used correctly, should lead to an overall reduction in cost per click rates, and a reduction in cost per acquisition figures (from an increase in conversions) as you are using the new data to hit the right audience first time.

Previously, advanced advertisers still had to have an element of guesswork in their campaign targeting the first time around.  From this advertisers would then optimize their targeting based on campaign performance. This means an element of wastage would always occur. Audience Insights doesn’t completely get rid of this phase of optimization, but it does give you a head start as in theory you should be in the right ballpark in terms of targeting based on the data you will have mined.

In summary, Audience Insights is an exciting development for the Facebook platform. Advertisers need to sit up and take note of the new launch, and start using the new data as soon as it becomes available for them. The opportunity to reduce your wastage, lower your costs, and generate a higher ROI from your advertising on Facebook simply by applying a little data is too good to miss. Dive in as soon as you can and see what you can find about your audience.

Ben Harper is one of the co-founders of Datify  a data driven marketing company based in the UK. Datify specialises in insight led strategies focussed on driving ROI for a range of clients across the social & search arenas.

BenHarper

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