Facebook is rolling out a new page post targeting feature that will allow brands to target their posts to more specific segmented audiences, beyond the location and language targets we’ve become accustomed to. We say: It’s about time! But will these advanced targeting options help brands improve conversions?
Facebook’s “Page Post Targeting Enhanced”: The basics
First and foremost, page post targeting will be available to brand pages only, not to personal profiles (bummer, since it’d be pretty awesome to target your personal updates as well). Brand pages with 100 fans or more will soon have filtering options that target posts to followers who meet the specified criteria.
It’s also important to note that Page Post Targeting only affects followers’ news feeds. In other words, all of your posts will still show up on your page but won’t appear in a user’s news feed unless they meet the target criteria. You can, however, hide targeted posts manually from your page so that new or existing prospects visiting your page won’t see that you posted five different versions of the same post to appeal to different target audiences.
Our suggestion? Hide your targeted posts, leaving only those with broad appeal on your timeline for all to see.
So, in addition to the standard location and language options we already have, you’ll be able to target by:
- Interested in
- Relationship status
- College grad: college name, major
- In college: college name, major, years
- In high school
Shotgun vs. Targeting Page Posting
So these targeting options are great, but should all brands use it? There are pros and cons to targeting posts, as well as the default shotgun approach. Here’s how we see it:
The shotgun approach:
Otherwise known as the default posting method, the shotgun approach pretty much puts your content out there for anyone to see. Anyone who’s following your page, that is. And if one of those followers decides to share your post, anyone connected to them could see your posts, as well.
The good: The shotgun approach gives you a greater reach.
The bad: Posting more targeted content is risky; followers outside of the intended audience could be alienated — or annoyed — by this irrelevant garb clogging up their news feeds.
Worst case? They unlike your page.
The targeted approach:
By using Facebook’s new targeting features, you can post more specific bits of content that may only be of interest to certain groups among your followers. Thanks to the targeting filters, you can show those posts only to the groups that are most relevant.
The good: You can post more frequently, targeting segmented groups with highly relevant information without turning off the rest of your followers.
The bad: You reduce your overall reach by only showing that content to a small group of followers.
Worst case? You leave out that one user who doesn’t fit the criteria, but has hundreds of contacts who do. There’s a chance they would have shared your post, giving you exposure to hundreds more viable prospects.
When to Use Post Targeting
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s see Facebook’s Enhanced Page Post Targeting in action:
- Promote a back-to-school sale, but target one post to parents using language like “bargain” and “quality.” Target another post to a younger audience using language like “latest trends” and “style.” Or, you know, whatever the word is today that equates to the “groovy” of the 60’s or “rad” of the 80’s.
- Target posts related to online dating to users with a relationship status of single or divorced. Better yet, gear a post to each distinct group separately. For instance, divorcees might be more interested in information on “getting back into the dating scene post-divorce.” Divorcees are probably disillusioned by the “one true love” concept, which is more likely to appeal to never-married singles. Break it down even further by creating targeted posts for young single males, young single females, older single males, older single females, young divorced males, young divorced females…get the idea?
- Announce an event at a nightclub in honor of a local university’s homecoming, but target it to alumni and current students. This targeting option allows businesses with multiple locations to go beyond the capabilities of location-based targeting by specifying criteria to capture relevant prospects who are no longer local.
The realm of possibilities is endless, and we can’t wait to see the creative ways marketers will make use of these combinations once enhanced targeting is rolled out to all brand pages.
Piggy-backing with Scheduled Posts and Reach Generator
There are even more ways to take targeted posts further by piggy-backing the feature on two of Facebook’s other tools: Reach Generator and Scheduled Posts.
Scheduled posts makes Facebook posting more Twitter-like by allowing users to plan posts in advance. Fortunately, Facebook got a clue and realized that marketers have better things to do than to sit in front of their pages all day to post their messages at just the right time.
Now, we can easily schedule all those targeted posts hours, days or even months in advance, taking targeting to an even deeper level. For instance, you can schedule posts during the day to target users within a certain occupation who are working from home. Or using the nightclub example above, schedule a targeted post for late in the evening when users might be out on the town looking for a good time. It’s a campaign manager’s dream.
Reach Generator is another new offering by Facebook which allows you to select one post per day to be featured, increasing the odds that more users will see it to boost your overall reach. Facebook guarantees you’ll reach 75 percent of your fans each month and 50 percent each week, compared to the typical 16 percent achieved by posting the good-old-fashioned way. Use this with targeted posts to get those highly relevant posts in front of more members of your target audience.
Will it Improve Conversions?
All those intriguing possibilities aside, let’s get to the most important question: Will this advanced targeting capability help you improve conversions?
We already know, the more relevant our content is, the higher our conversions rates. In a sense, all these options actually broaden the types of content you can push out on your brand page without worry of alienating other groups that it doesn’t apply to.
That means you can post more posts per day, knowing that the different segments of your audience will only be seeing those posts targeted to them. So you won’t be annoying your fans by cluttering up their news feeds with dozens of posts they could care less about, a practice that usually leads to unlikes.
And because your targeted posts can be more specific, you’ll be able to generate more interest and more engagement, leading to more shares, more likes and more followers.
Overall, you’ll have fewer followers seeing each post, so it seems counter-intuitive to think that conversions will increase. But think about it like this: Would you rather speak to a room full of 1,000 people who twiddle their thumbs and roll their eyes while they ignore you (because they have zero interest in what you’re saying), or to a room full of 100 people who sit at the edge of their seats, take it all in and ask questions?
If you’re selling a book at the end of that presentation, which group do you think is more likely to buy it?
Put it to Work
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Here are the key things you need to do:
- Look at the content you’ve been posting and break it out into segmented target groups.
- Is your core message relevant to each segment? If not, revamp your messaging or leave out irrelevant follower segments. If so, tweak your copy to use language relevant to each group.
- Schedule your posts for the most appropriate times for each segment. For instance, don’t post a message targeting high school students during school hours.
- Use Reach Generator to get the most out of your most promising posts.
- Don’t treat it like an advertising channel. The purpose of Facebook posts should still be to educate, inform and engage.
- Experiment with different targeting options. Make use of Facebook insights to monitor your reach and find what works. Like everything else in the online marketing world, continuous testing is the key to success.