Facebook matches advertisers to users based on users’ interests, activities, favorites, their job titles, as well as the names of the groups they belong to and the pages they are fans of. That’s a lot of information, and Facebook is still a place where more often than not people are willing to share an unbelievable wealth of personal stuff with their Friends and the Facebook Corporation. From a marketer’s perspective, Facebook can offer profound insights into the personalities and circumstances of one’s target audience. As a gathering place on the Internet, Facebook’s communities and the community demographics developed therein can give marketers surgical precision as they find an arena for their ads.
To begin his talk at SES Toronto, Marty Weintraub identified three classes of Facebook targeting tactics that every Facebook marketer ought to have at their disposal. Literal, competitive and inferred targeting should all inform a Facebook ad strategy. Let’s take a look at these three and summarize Weintraub’s discussion of them in more detail:
These are the most obvious connections a marketer can make. Selling lacrosse sticks to people who like “playing lacrosse” on Facebook would be an obvious starting point. Literal targeting aims to match ads that are semantically related to the interests of users on Facebook. Often a keyword appears both in the interests listed by users and in the ad itself. Literal targeting allows marketers a way into Facebook that is parallel to SEM efforts on search engines. The downside is that these clear relationships sometimes don’t exist and that they unlock only a fraction of community demographics’ potential. As a marketer, Facebook allows you to go deeper into the lives your audience than ever before. The question according to Mr. Weintraub is “how deep are you willing to go?”
Competitive targeting focuses on both the positive and negative Facebook presence of a brand’s competitors on Facebook. A competing brand’s fans on Facebook might be an effective place to market your superior goods. Explain the added value of your product in your ad, offer a deal, try to win people over to your side. Fans of brands that are vulnerable, either because of an inferior product, negative press coverage, a recall of some sort, whatever the vulnerability may be, present fertile ground for converts. Essentially, marketers should try to find ways to leverage competitor investments in organizing their followers on Facebook both for their own Facebook presence and against the competitors themselves.