Facebook Expands Ad-Targeting Options

by , Feb 20, 2014, 5:05 PM
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In announcing Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of WhatsApp Wednesday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg assured that the messaging app with 450 million users would remain ad-free. By contrast, the social networking giant on Thursday unveiled deeper targeting options to bolster its burgeoning ad business that made the WhatsApp purchase possible.

The expanded options being rolled out to all Facebook advertisers through the self-serve and Power Editor tools in the coming weeks span the four main types of targeting: location, demographic, interests and behaviors.

When it comes to location, marketers will now be able to build campaigns around any combination of geographies such as country and city (France and London), country and state (New York and Canada), state and city (California and Las Vegas), and state and ZIP code (U.S. only). That would allow a retailer, for instance, to show ads to people who live near brick-and-mortar locations.

In terms of demographics, new choices beyond education level, workplace and job title include reaching just those who have updated their relationship status, such as in a domestic partnership or a civil union. In addition, advertisers can target people who have become engaged or were married in the past year, or the last three or six months.

To simplify targeting by interests, Facebook said that instead of choosing from multiple categories and keywords, marketers can just select one segment from a redefined set of interest-based choices. For example, “if you want to reach baseball fans, just choose "baseball" as your targeting segments -- it'll pull in all the people that have liked or expressed interest in baseball-related topics on Facebook,” stated a post on the Facebook for Business blog.

By incorporating its Partner Categories tool into the Core Audiences feature, Facebook will allow marketers to target based on people’s offline and online activities and purchases, as well as the device used. The company introduced Partner Categories last year in conjunction with third-party data providers, like Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon.

Furthermore, Partner Categories, which was previously only available in the Power Editor for managing larger campaigns, will be added to the (self-serve) Ads Create tool for U.S. users.

Hussein Fazal, CEO of Facebook ad partner, AdParlor, said many of the targeting capabilities announced today have already been available through tools like the Power Editor and Facebook’s Ads API. “But rolling them out to the self-serve tool and globally should help the large SMB advertiser base,” he said.

The small and-medium-sized business community is onethat Facebook has cultivated more intensely over the last few years as it seeks to turn more of the 20 million small and local businesses with a presence on Facebook into paying advertisers. 

3 comments on "Facebook Expands Ad-Targeting Options".

  1. Kathryn Gorges from Marketing Possibility
    commented on: February 21, 2014 at 1 p.m.
    Excellent! This will help Facebook Ads be a great tool for assessing market interest in startup offerings as well as improve the SMB options. So glad they're adding capability to this -- lot of money on the table in the SMB and startup world.
  2. Kelly Grand from music line
    commented on: February 22, 2014 at 12:51 a.m.
    I think it will help Facebook more convenient for customers using. To be stronger. Ideals from:Dr.Dre Solo Beats Headphone Sale
  3. Grant Bergman from SurveyConcierge.com • GrantBergman.com
    commented on: February 24, 2014 at 2:39 p.m.
    So glad to learn that the ads I ignore will be better-targeted. I am on Facebook daily, post frequently and honestly cannot recall a single ad that I noticed recently, let alone found interesting or motivating. (But thank you, Facebook, for all those sleazy singles ads.) As a marketer I always feel I "should" pay some attention to Facebook ads out of professional interest, but that's just not why I go to Facebook in the first place. Zuck can try to force more sponsored content into our news feeds, but humans are remarkably efficient at discerning patterns and thus figuring out what deserves their attention… and what does not.

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