Is your small business using Facebook for marketing? Many business owners have pages on Facebook and maintain a social network engagement for their business, but there’s a lot more that can be done on Facebook than most owners realize. One marketing analysis tool available on the platform is Facebook Audience Insights. This powerful tool is connected to the Facebook advertising system, but you don’t have to use Facebook ads to take advantage of the service – and it’s completely free to use.
Related eBook: Examples of Facebook Marketing (free download)
What is the Facebook Audience Insights Tool?
The core concept in the tool is the Audience. An audience is a group of people, but a Facebook Audience can be defined in a number of ways. An Audience can be as wide a net as “everyone on Facebook” or as narrow as “18-24-year-old engaged women living in Brazil who are interested in soccer, German cuisine, or Louis Vuitton designer goods”.
We weren’t kidding!
Facebook Audience Insights Features
You probably don’t need that particular of an audience unless you are selling a very, very specific line of designer Weiner Schnitzel-themed soccer gear for young women. The greater takeaways here are that with Facebook Audience Insights, you can
- Create almost any combination of audience characteristics imaginable
- Get detailed statistical information about that audience
- Define and analyze as many different audiences as you find useful.
- Name your custom audiences (“Brazilian soccer brides”) to make it easy to tell them apart without having to look at all the details of each one.
Creating Your Audience
There are more drill-downs available on your audience. You can specify by:
- Relationship status
- Education level
- Job title
- Job category
- Market segment
- Whether the audience member is a parent and how old their children are
- Political leanings, and any life events they are currently undergoing.
Yes, we could narrow the Brazilian soccer bride audience down by specifying high-school graduates only, not a parent, leaning left politically, with birthdays coming up. However, the more filters you add, the smaller your demographic result will be. In our Brazilian example, adding those filters takes us from 15-20k people in the audience, down to below the unspecified minimum (probably around 2,000) where Facebook can’t provide useful aggregate information.
Viewing Your Audience
Once you have defined your audience, there are four basic tabs where you can view information about them.
- The Demographics tab covers age, education level, relationship status, and job title.
- The Location tab has details about where the audience lives, broken down by city and country.
- The Activity Tab covers how the audience members use Facebook, how often they share posts, what kind of devices they use to access Facebook, and so forth.
- The Page Likes tab, which breaks down the most popular Pages for members of the audience in dozens of different categories, ranging from office supplies to TV shows.
An Example of Using Facebook Audience Insights
For example, perhaps you have a hot dog stand on the National Mall and are interested in doing a marketing campaign with Americans who have shown an interest in the Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Your plan is to do a Facebook marketing campaign offering a free hot dog to any veteran of the armed forces, but you want to know – are there likely to be a lot of veterans visiting the museum?
To find out, simply create an audience from the United States and enter the National Air and Space Museum in the Interests box. (The box has both a drill-down hierarchical menu so you can discover interests by category, as well as text-match search your own free-form entries.) In the results pane, there’s a section where Facebook tells you the (likely) job category of the people who have selected that Interest.
Bam – about 7% of those interested in the National Air and Space Museum are military veterans, 408% more than the Facebook average! You have targeted your promotion perfectly, and the cost to confirm your hunch was about 20 seconds of your time.
More Ways to Use Facebook Audience Insights
You can also define audiences based on your Facebook business page. Facebook Audience insights can identify for you your existing Facebook followers’ education level, gender, relationship status, age, location, and other interests. It can then create an audience of people with similar or specific interests, who don’t yet follow your page.
Cater Your Content
The Page likes tab is particularly useful for optimizing your marketing content and campaigns. For example, among our Brazilian soccer-brides-to-be, the favorite movie page is Harry Potter, the favorite TV channel is Nickelodeon, and the favorite product or service is Mentos. This is information you can use in tailoring your own marketing messages to these specific demographics, and it also tells you what Pages it would be a good idea to build linkages to from your own social media presence.
Create Buyer Personas
One powerful but not explicitly presented aspect of the Audience Insights page is the ability it gives you to create accurate customer personas. Persona creation is so often a matter of guesswork and extrapolation, but with Audience Insights, huge swathes of the persona are pre-defined accurately and with hard data backing them up. Would you have guessed that Brazilian soccer brides tend to like Mentos? Not in a million years, but there it is on the screen.
This analytical firepower was designed around Facebook advertising, but you don’t have to be advertising on Facebook to use the tool. However, if you do you are able to specifically target your defined audiences to get the most out of your ads.
Many people who have had poor results from advertising on Facebook have in fact just not selected the right audience. It doesn’t do you any good to send your free hot dog coupons to the Brazilian soccer brides, or to show your Vuitton handbag ads to the veterans planning a trip to the Air and Space Museum.
If you do selectively target your markets, however, you can find that Facebook Audience Insights, either with or without the associated Facebook advertising, is a very powerful focusing tool for your marketing efforts.