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‘Detailed Targeting’ from Facebook: a great new ad option for laser-sharp targeting

Author's avatar By Marie Page 07 Mar, 2016
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Start targeting even more precisely with new Facebook ad-option

Top of my wishlist from Facebook for the last nine years (yes that's how long I've been advertising on Facebook) has been the ability to use the magic "AND" word rather than "OR" when it comes to selecting Interest targeting. I've called this "Boolean Targeting" or "Overlap Targeting" and it became the holy grail for me as a Facebook advertiser. This level of targeting would mean targeting those people in the Venn Diagram overlap - the people that liked ALL the things I was listing in interests rather than just some of them.

Facebook Detailed Targeting ExplainedOR vs AND, Boolean targeting, Overlap targeting, Detailed targeting: Confused already?

Let me explain. When you select interests (for instance you are looking to target people that like social media marketing so you'd probably have selected some of the big social media brand names) previously you only got the chance to ADD to that list so Facebook included people who match at least one of the interests you specify. So you would add in interests such as Mari Smith, Social Media Examiner, Jon Loomer Digital etc etc. The problem with this is that your target numbers grow and the actual targeting accuracy likely dilutes. I've also found that having lots of interests reduces the all important quality score.

What I had been looking for was a way of targeting the super fans of Social Media Marketing. My desired targeting was people that liked:

"Mari Smith AND Social Media Examiner AND Jon Loomer Digital" rather than "Mari Smith OR Social Media Examiner OR Jon Loomer Digital".

The difference between the AND and the OR is huge.

In the UK alone there are 130,000 people that like any one of those three Pages. When we combine all three we are down to 41,000 people. These really are the super fans. If you were selling a social media product then wouldn't you want to target people REALLY into social media and engaging with multiple social media brands online, rather than people that happen to just like one of them?

I had a vested in interest in this very specific targeting method. One of the Pages I run advertising for is a very niche company called Musicademy that sells instrument training DVDs to church based musicians. Due to the highly specialised nature of the customer base and product range it's been quite a challenge to efficiently promote and I have found to my cost that simply targeting people that like "Guitar" meant that about 90% of the ads were being shown to people who were guitarists yet had no interest in worship music. What I needed was the ability to target people that liked "Guitar" AND "Worship Music".

I first talked to Facebook about this dream in 2007 and just a few weeks ago they finally rolled it out in a feature they named Detailed Targeting. Having tested this extensively over several weeks I've found it does indeed help me find those Christian guitarists in dire need of Musicademy DVDs.

The good news is that Detailed Targeting is available now to all Facebook advertisers via both Power Editor and the Ads Manager.

[Tweet "Facebook's best kept secret: How to use new Detailed Targeting feature"]

Here's how it looks without Detailed Targeting

Facebook Interest Targeting

See how Facebook just adds the interests together - the ad will surface to people who match any one of the three interests listed.

Here's how it looks with Detailed Targeting

Facebook Detailed Targeting

With Detailed Targeting the ads will only surface to people who have ALL THREE interests.

Can I use this method to exclude people too?

Whilst probably quite a niche requirement, Detailed Targeting can also be used to exclude people with certain interests. Here I have combined fans of Lewis Hamilton and the Mercedes F1 team but excluded rival and team mate Nico Rosberg. Arguably a better targeting option if you are selling Lewis Hamilton merchandise than a less focussed targeting choice. Especially if your budget is limited. You may well be able to think of a better use case but I'm excited about the new F1 season so that's what was in my mind!

Excluding people in Facebook Interest Targeting

Where do I find Detailed Targeting?

Detailed targeting is now an option within the Ad Set level when you create ads on either Ads Manager or Power Editor. Look for the "Narrow Audience" option.

Facebook Narrow Audience

Does Detailed Targeting work?

Detailed targeting is not for every brand or sector. But when you have a huge potential market it does help if you can target people REALLY interested in something rather than those that just have a passing interest. And it's just great for combining weird interests areas - for instance Motorbikers that like New Zealand (for a motorbike holiday touring company providing trips to New Zealand). You could even add in Travel as an additional interest area.

One sector I think this could work really well for is the charity sector. It's well known that donors often support multiple charities. How much better therefore to target advertising and people who have a known interest in two or more charities.

Detailed Targeting has been great for Musicademy with it's combinations of church going musicians. Our Detailed Targeting ads certainly outperform the others and we've been able to experiment with lots of different interest areas to further hone down what works.

And of course you can combine this with other factors. For instance a Website Custom Audience (people that have visited your website) with combined interests.

The beauty is in the ability to really drill down. As a good marketer you know that your product isn't for everyone. You should know your typical customer pretty well - use that persona knowledge with Detailed Targeting to find them on Facebook.

Does it all seem too much? Get help with your Facebook ads

Facebook advertising seems to get more complicated as every new feature is rolled out.  It is becoming increasingly challenging to get right. Ad copy is an art form in its own right. And the targeting options can be overwhelming even before you factor in Detailed Targeting. More experienced advertisers opt for Power Editor rather than Facebook's "self serve" Ads Manager platform. Power Editor has multiple advantages but can be daunting for newbies.

Over the years at The Digiterati we've worked in many guises to help clients with Facebook advertising. At one end of the spectrum we've written the ads, designed the creative, sorted the targeting and handed the client the leads and a detailed report. At the other we've sat down with their team, trained them on the art and science that is Facebook advertising and continued to provide an arms-length coaching and support service.

As well as Detailed Targeting, The new Digiterati ads service offers you the ability to test up to 250 different ad and targeting elements in a single campaign - something that's simply not available to you either through Ads Manager or Power Editor. We work with both organisations and agencies to help maximise their ROI on Facebook.

Author's avatar

By Marie Page

Marie Page @marie_page is one of the UK’s leading Facebook marketing experts. She is a founding partner of digital marketing consultancy The Digiterati and the Digiterati Academy, an e-learning portal for marketers and entrepreneurs. She recently published a book and online course “Winning at Facebook Marketing with Zero Budget”.

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