Paid advertisers on Facebook have had a range of options for targeting ads across criteria like age, gender, interests and location. Now the social network is extending more of those options to brands' page posts to target subsets of their fan bases.
The “enhanced post targeting” announced by Facebook will allow marketers to target posts that appear in fans' newsfeeds by gender, relationship status, education, workplace, language and geography. Previously, companies were not able to tailor posts beyond region and language.
“This update gives marketers the ability to boost social engagement by crafting more detailed and sophisticated content calendars that are tailored to the nuances of their brand’s audience,” states Matt Wurst, director of digital communities at interactive agency 360i, in a blog post.
As an example, he suggested that CPG brand posts focused on moms could more easily develop a parallel content strategy focusing on Millennials as well. Wurst notes that the concept is similar to Google+ Circles, which allow page administrators to segment followers into different categories. The difference on Facebook is that marketers don't have to assign fans to buckets because they are already set based on their profile information.
While targeted posts will appear only in the newsfeeds of particular fans, all posts will also show up in a brand page's Timeline. To avoid clutter, 360i suggests that page managers “hide” targeted posts from the Timeline by clicking the pencil icon at the top right corner of a post. Or just don't go overboard with targeted posts.
“How each page should approach this update will vary -- brands with truly multifaceted audiences will see the most opportunity, while those with more homogenous audiences might choose to keep their current approach,” wrote Wurst.
The blog Inside Facebook points out that the ability to target posts more narrowly will reduce the number of impressions per post, but feedback and viral interaction should increase if content is more relevant to a given audience. It also suggests the step could reduce the number of fans who unsubscribe to posts or “unlike” pages because they're getting too much unwanted content.
Facebook has just begun to implement the new feature -- only about 1% of Facebook pages have seen the change so far. But all other pages with more than 100 fans are expected to have access to the feature in the next few weeks. It's already available to all pages through the Facebook API (applications protocol interface).