Up Close With Facebook’s New Interest Targeting Tool
First look: How to get started with the social network's feature that helps marketers "reach precisely the right people."
Facebook’s new interest targeting tool may be aimed at media organizations, but that doesn’t mean the rest of the marketing world can’t take advantage of it.
And really anyone going after the Facebook audience should be experimenting with the feature that Facebook says can help you “reach precisely the right people.” Whether that’s actually the case remains to be seen — your mileage may vary — but it’s definitely worth testing.
The feature is an expansion of post targeting for Pages, which previously allowed aiming posts to people in a number of standard demographic groups, including gender, age, language, location, and even relationship status. Targeting interests would seem to be especially interesting for brands or businesses with content that might appeal to a subset of its audience. Facebook’s example of a publisher targeting a post about a sports game story to fans of the teams could also be applied, for instance, to a company that sells sports apparel.
Interest targeting is accessible to all Pages that have enabled the Targeting and Privacy setting; you get to it by clicking the target icon on the left-hand side of the status posting dialogue box on Facebook’s desktop platform. Here’s a closer look, using the Marketing Land Facebook Page as a test bed.
After clicking the icon and selecting Interests, you’ll notice that the size of the targeted audience is the total of likes on the Page. When you add target interests that number will change.
To zero in on targets click the All Interests link and you will be presented with another dialogue box that allows you to type in possible candidates. Because it’s Facebook, the interests available for targeting are based on other Facebook Pages; when you start typing you’ll see suggestions. And when you add a link to the dialogue box, Facebook will also suggest some possible Pages based on the content of the story.
As you can see in the screen shot above, those suggestions aren’t always relevant, so you’ll want to adjust the selections to go after more appropriate audiences.
Honing targeting seems to require some guesswork and common sense reasoning about which groups would be interested in a specific piece of content. It would be wise to test to see whether it improves engagement rates, given that the feature is actually reducing the potential reach of a post.
You can inform your testing, as Jon Loomer notes, by using Facebook’s Audience Insights tool on the ad platform, even if you don’t advertise on Facebook. Audience Insights can show you Pages that are also liked by fans of your Page. Here’s how those overlapping audiences look for the Marketing Land page: