One of the topics on just about every marketer's mind is targeting, and one of the top places to do so is Facebook. So, it's probably no surprise that targeting is near and dear to Jessica Jensen, Head of Brand Strategy and Product Marketing Communications at Facebook, who is covering that very topic this week at Incite Summit West in San Francisco.
Facebook has the potential to be a tremendous awareness vehicle for marketers, including those looking for mass reach or a more targeted approach. Moreover, you can reach people near the top of the funnel for awareness, and near the bottom of the funnel for sales. Reaching customers at any point in their journey is a benefit of Facebook marketing that most other platforms can't match. One of the marketers on Facebook taking best advantage of the platform to reach new prospects is, of course, Facebook, Inc., itself.
"We are eating our own dog food," Jensen says, referring to how Facebook takes advantages of its own technologies to market to 1.6B people and 3M businesses. "We are reaching out to new potential clients all the time."
Here's how you can use Facebook's targeting capabilities to grow your business:
Embrace targeting as a cornerstone of your marketing.
For many marketers, the appeal of Facebook is in its breadth of targeting options. If you're waiting for a return to the days when broadly marketing your product to everybody through mass channels, it will be a long wait, because, according to Jensen, "those days are long done." The days of mass marketing through broad-brush channels like TV and billboards for most marketing objectives are limited in terms of effectiveness. Not that they're not useful, but now that people live on mobile devices, the expectations for personalization are higher than ever. People are in control of what media they receive and where they receive it, so businesses need to meet prospects and customers with the level of relevance and personalization that they expect.
A mother in Chicago vs. a Millenial in San Diego vs. a 60 year-old Harley enthusiast expect to be marketed to extremely differently because they expect to be treated very differently.
Customers don't want targeting; they expect it.
According to Jensen, startups and established businesses alike "both can and need to" reach out to new audiences. "No two feeds are created equal," says Jensen of the content that organically arrives in consumers' Facebook and Instagram feeds. Likewise, the marketing messages that marketers put in those feeds must be targeted to those individual consumers, lest those messages stick out like sore thumbs. Marketers have the ability to get the right messages in front of the right consumers at exactly the right times. If your company's marketing isn't taking advantage of targeting and everyone else's company is, then your approach will stick out like a sore thumb.
Take advantage of the platform's accuracy.
Of course, if Facebook didn't work hard to help its advertisers by providing terrific targeting data, its entire business model would be in trouble. Luckily, Facebook has pretty high accuracy with respect to how well it can identify audiences: Nielsen is in 65th percentile, Facebook is 80-85th percentile. But Jensen advises not to just "set it and forget it;" close monitoring is very important to make sure your strategy is right.
Targeting always has the potential to work.
As someone running a futureproofing firm, I've seen a few marketers (whom I won't identify here) who say that Facebook targeting just doesn't work for them. But, let's face it: with 1.6 billion users, if you think the platform doesn't work, there's a pretty strong argument to be made that you're not using it the right way. It's easy to criticize the platform, but that's not a solution. Instead, test the creative, the message, or the targeting. Any campaign can be improved.
Always look to take advantage of new innovations in targeting.
One way to improve campaigns is to take advantage of Facebook's innovations around targeting. Facebook is always trying to push the envelope with new features such as Expat targeting, and has even created targeting clusters around observers of holidays such as Diwali and Ramadan, which give marketers the ability to attract new audiences via hyper-targeted messaging.
Don't just target to people; target to platforms.
Speaking of targeting, it's critical not only to tailor your messages to the right audiences, but to individual social platforms as well. One way Facebook is allowing marketers to create experiences unique to its platform is Canvas, a mobile experience that marketers can use to run innovative and immersive campaigns on Facebook. You can reuse different aspects of Canvas for different people, which was built with personalization in mind.
Ultimately, this only scratches the surface with respect to Facebook marketing. But one thing's for sure: Jensen and her team are working hard to ensure that if you're not using Facebook for targeting purposes, chances are you'll be coming around sooner rather than later.