Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
Facebook has done it again: They’ve tweaked the way Facebook advertisers can target the users they really want to view their adverts. Provided those users are actually giving Facebook accurate information, of course.
The thing is, these days almost anyone can and may well be an advertiser. So, what’s new that you can do? It all comes down to greater customization, and it will be rolled out to everyone within a few weeks.
Old vs. New Targeting
It is already common knowledge that Facebook advertisers can target people in certain age groups, locations, and the like. This means that a regular small business like a pizza shop can run a modest amount of ads within their budget and be sure to only get viewers that live in the local area. If Facebook lets the adverts run to viewers further away, it would be of no value to the advertisers at all. If you have never run an advert on Facebook, check out our basic guide to Facebook advertising and our Facebook marketing guide.
With the new Facebook advert targeting options for core audiences, you can be even more specific about who you target. Location targeting has evolved to encompass multiple locations, including countries, states and towns. For instance, you could list “Germany and Paris” if you had stores across Germany but only one in France, right in the capital. You can also select a broad area, then exclude a section of it by postcode or country/state/city as before. This could be really handy if your business covers most, but not all states in a country.
Facebook has also recently reminded advertisers that they can make use of the partner categories, which take data from third parties like Acxiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon. This means you can select a demographic of people who buy “Children’s cereals”, for instance, and be done with it.
It’s putting trust into statistics, but it could work out really well for you and prove Facebook to be a good competitor to Google Adwords. These partner categories will also soon feature a “behaviours” element, to let you target users who exhibit certain behaviours or who purchase certain things. For instance, it will let you target iPhone users only.
The partner categories are available for US advertisers in the Power Editor and through the API. Partner categories will also soon roll out to the regular advert creation tool for US users. So, it’s not for everyone, but it’s certainly a powerful tool to try if you’re able to.
Powerful Demographic Targeting
Facebook now lets advertisers choose demographics from very fine-tuned details. Most specifically, relationship statuses and the timing of those changes in status are becoming more integrated into advertising.
So, if you sell jewelery or wedding dresses, you might like to target users who recently changed their status to “Engaged”. If you’re selling flowers or weekend getaways, you might target users who have recently declared their status as “in a relationship”.
A simplistic version of this has been around for a while, but the multitude of options and timeframes make the demographic targeting a great deal more powerful for advertisers.
People designing adverts can also use workplaces and job titles in their demographic data, making it easy to headhunt new staff from the best local companies. Interest-based targeting has been simplified into segments, meaning that advertisers no longer need to enter a dozen keywords and can now choose a term that is all-encompassing, like “baseball”, in order to capture all baseball fans.
How Do I Stop Being A Target For Adverts?
We’ve previously run a handful of articles on how to avoid being the target of Facebook adverts and controlling which adverts you see. Mostly, it comes down to controlling your privacy settings and checking what you have liked and shared on Facebook in the past. Since this is the information advertisers use to target the adverts, they will not find you when they target this specifically. US users may also like to look into how to opt-out of marketing tracking tools by third parties.
It is worth considering that some advertising is actually useful, especially if targeted correctly. I know of small drama groups using very finely targeted Facebook advertising to search for actors for specific roles. However, if you just want to get rid of adverts on Facebook altogether, check out tools like Social Fixer, which is an easy way to clean adverts off Facebook. In the end, it’s your choice.
Are you an advertiser on Facebook? How well do the new controls work for your business?