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Facebook adds new targeting options for paid campaigns

Facebook adds new targeting options for paid campaigns

Organic post reach on Facebook is declining, creating a barrier for businesses trying to communicate with fans through regular activity. Some firms are making the calculation that paying for reach is worth the investment, turning to Facebook's various paid advertising options to connect with fans. The goal of Facebook campaigns is not necessarily direct sales; some advertisers, particularly attorneys, utilize Facebook ads or Facebook Boost to attract likes.

At the heart of every strategy, from obtaining likes to driving traffic to a conversion page, is an understanding of the target audience. Without this, firms may not be presenting their message to the right users - an unnecessary waste of advertising dollars. The more you know about the people who will see your ads and posts, the more likely you are to reach a high-value prospective client.

In February, Facebook unveiled new options within Core Audiences, which allow advertisers to more precisely (and wisely) choose the right audience.

Defeat fake likes
All of Facebook's ad buying options allow for some level of audience targeting. Generally, the more people who see an ad or boosted post, the more likes the effort will generate.

Increasing page likes is good, but building likes just for the sake of having them can be a misguided strategy. You want the pool of people who see your posts to consist of individuals who may actually engage with your firm, recommend your services and hire you. Selecting a wide audience may return more likes for the money, but those likes can come from people who have no interest in your firm and may not even live in a physical location you are able to serve.

Some companies are developing ways (video link) to game Facebook's system and sell useless likes. In this scenario, Company A will pay the owner of Profile B to like a certain number of pages. Profile B is merely a spam profile that is used for liking. The owner of Profile B will like thousands of pages, diluting the number of paid likes and making it harder for Facebook to track the illicit activity. Unsuspecting advertisers then purchase a legitimate ad but receive fake likes being generated by spam profiles. The owners of these profiles will never engage with the brand in any way and add no value as fans.

Know your audience
The most effective way to generate quality likes is to specify highly targeted audiences for all campaigns. Facebook is now helping businesses narrow their focus with the roll out of enhanced Core Audiences. The new interface adds new options to location, demographic and interests categories and adds a new feature: behaviors.

Location: Location targeting is essential for attorneys who are licensed to practice only in specific states and districts. Facebook claims that enhanced location targeting will make it easier to choose combinations of areas, like cities and counties, and to exclude areas. For example, you may want to advertise to one state but exclude certain cities, or you may want to advertise to one city but exclude a specific zip code. This process has been simplified, giving you more control over where your fans live and work.

Demographic: Additions to demographic targeting open many opportunities. New relationship status, education and workplace values allow advertisers to target audiences based on life events. For example, an estate planning attorney may want to advertise planning services to couples who have entered into a domestic partnership. Family law attorneys can advertise to individuals who have become engaged in the last three months. Human resources departments can target those who have graduated from college in the last two months. Business law firms can target CEOs or managers, increasing the likelihood their posts will be seen by decision makers.

Interests: Targeting based on interests is not new, but the methodology has been updated. You may now choose an audience segment based on a specific topic rather than a combination of broad keywords.

Behaviors: Behaviors is a new category that harnesses a user's off-site activity. By using Facebook's Partner Categories, you can now advertise to users based on whether they have a Mac or PC, own an iPhone, have purchased a motorcycle or have paid to download generic legal forms from another website. At launch, Partner Categories included more than 500 unique groups, and it continues to grow.

If your firm decides to wade into Facebook advertising, take full advantage of as many targeting options as are relevant. Build a following that adds value and is most likely to want to hear from you.

Kristen Friend
Kristen Friend holds two bachelors degrees from Indiana University and an associates degreee from the International Academy of Design. As Art Director for Custom Legal Marketing, her work has been awarded Webby Honorees, WebAwards, Davey Awards, Muse Awards, W3 Awards, and many others. She is also a contributor to Entrpreneur Magazine through the Entrepreneur Leadership Network.