Posted in on March 1, 2019

Targeting Who? Facebook Marketing Updates for 2019

 Last year, we provided insights on how to adapt your Facebook campaigns without reducing your ROI based on changes to the platform’s audience targeting. As you may recall, Facebook implemented these updates to ensure the way they were obtaining sensitive information was safe for users and advertisers.

Fast-forward to 2019 and multiple ad campaigns later, now seems like the appropriate time for a follow up. We’ll look at examples of campaign optimizations that worked for our clients, as well as additional targeting updates and new campaigns we have on the horizon.


Facebook Targeting Optimizations

Targeting within Facebook is still my best friend, even after they limited the highly-effective partner categories. Now, however, I focus on two types of audiences: custom and lookalike.

To review, a custom audience is one where the advertiser has selected age, gender, location and added on interests or behaviors that Facebook users have self-identified. This audience was my breadwinner for 2017 and for most of 2018 and yielded great results for our clients. Facebook was always a top inquiry generator and the cost per result was largely below $100, a win-win for our clients and ourselves.


Once partner categories like household income were removed, we scoured Facebook’s audience insights and Google Analytics for an alternative. Our approach was to test somewhat broad selections, such as targeting major media outlets and whether prospects were interested in retirement. Results did dip slightly, but were still effective.

Still yet, we wanted to be proactive and find an even better solution to this issue. That is where lookalike audiences came in. Lookalike audiences use a custom audience and mimic their interests and behaviors to create a new audience profile.

For example, all website visitors for our clients are recorded within Facebook thanks to a tracking pixel code we place on their site. We take this audience and create a lookalikeaudience to target our website visitors when they are on Facebook.

In late 2018, we created A/B tests using both audience targeting methods and served the audiences the exact same ad, in the same formats and with the same budget.

Has doing this created results? Yes — for both audiences! We currently serve ads to both audiences, which has continued to increase inquiries and, for many clients, become the top source for new leads. Each audience is still converting well, and at a lower cost per result than previously.


Household Income is Back!

And now, for the update relating Facebook’s audience targeting:  Facebook re-instated the capability to target by household income in late 2018!

Facebook now sources the average household income by zip code. This means we can target similar to pay-per-click (PPC) ads. If our audience is highly affluent, we can choose to target the top 10 percent of zip codes.

While this isn’t going to be as granular as the household income partner category, it does give you the opportunity to reduce ad spend on locations that likely wouldn’t qualify financially for your services.


Facebook Campaign Testing

Facebook’s targeting will continue to evolve as the organization’s understanding of what’s best for their users and advertisers grows. But results aren’t only impacted by targeting. Different client goals can often lead to different ad styles and campaigns.

We continue to look for ways to improve the results of our Facebook campaigns. As such, we’ve begun testing different ad formats, such as  lead ads. Leads ads allow the user to complete a form directly within Facebook instead of leaving Facebook to go to a landing page.

Our results continue to improve month over month with lead ads. We’ve found they complement our more traditional photo ad formats, and inquiries have doubled since we began running them! We recommend lead ads for VIP or email sign-up calls to action because they’re quick and easy for prospects to use. Whitepapers or brochures continue to work best via photo and video ad formats.

Facebook continues to evolve and optimize their advertising practices. As such, we will also continue to look for new ways to target and reach our desired audiences to bring in leads for clients. Leave a comment to let us know your favorite Facebook ad format and audience selections!

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