Continuing from my previous post, 11 tips for a better Facebook ad campaign, I thought I’d share with you some simple yet powerful tactics to outsmart your competitors and reach out to your target audience. Facebook offers some incredible targeting options, so here are my five top tips to get the most out of these features.
#1 Targeting your competitors’ fans
There has never been a more fertile hunting ground for systematically picking off competitors’ customers and fans than Facebook ads. At the time of writing, there are no legal limitations in targeting users who express positive or negative interests in other companies’ protected brands. I doubt that this frontier mentality will last legally; but meanwhile, you can certainly get it while it’s hot!
Why do you want to target your competitors customers and fans? You need to keep in mind that brand interests carry important customer qualifiers. For instance, consider luxury brands, especially if the marketing task involves high-quality goods. Those interested in luxury items tend to prefer the finer things and are willing to spend. Brands such as Rolex, Mercedes-Benz, Burberry, Issey Miyake, Chanel and Swarovski are great examples and well represented on Facebook. Users displaying interests in these brands may qualify to view your ads.
Also, people interested in a competitor’s product or service may be interested in yours too. Conferences are a great example; Distilled could target users who already like the Search Marketing Expo Facebook page. That’s because these conferences attract attendees surrounding the same topical content: SEO, PPC and Social Media.
#2 Targeting users who hate your competitors
Users who display colourful expressions of negativity toward your competitors’ brands provide powerful fodder for marketers for a couple of reasons. First, they were once interested in the actual products and their bad experiences have pushed them away from the brands. Second, it is reasonable to assume that these unhappy customers might actually be in the market for an alternative, which we are only too happy to offer up. For example, Spotify could target users who like the fan page “iTunes sucks”.
Please note that marketing to competitors’ disenfranchised customers is nothing new, and Facebook offers lush ground to mine negative sentiment. As in life, community members are more than willing to explicitly share what bothers them about brands, including general hatred.
#3 Targeting general things people dislike
If your client or organisation is a college or university and you offer online distance learning, you could target young adults who are fans of the pages “I don’t hate school, I hate waking up at six in the morning” and “I hate waking up in the morning” and write ultra targeted ad copy to entice these users to call you or sign up for more details. Facebook users hate many things; sell privacy fences to those who hate their neighbours, sell anti-romantic or lonely-person products to those who hate Valentines Day. The list is practically endless.
#4 Occupation and employment
Next ask yourself “what are the occupations and places of employment that indicate a user might be interested in my product or service?” Targeting occupations can be an extremely potent strategy, because after family, profession is one of the most powerful components of an individual’s identity. I am aware that LinkedIn gets all the publicity as a ‘business’ platform, while Facebook has been known as the ‘personal’ platform. The reality could not be further from the truth. We work with many B2B clients. One thing nearly all of them have in common is that they openly question the value of Facebook ads for marketing to professionals.
If you look at Facebook’s PPC targeting girth, they boast of over 800 million users worldwide (and counting)! That number amounts to almost one in seven people on earth. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that business people use Facebook at sometime in their daily cycle. If you sell specialised goods to large manufacturing companies, then you could target users with the following job titles, “procurement manager” or “purchasing manager”. If you sell DNA testing services in order to distinguish who a child’s father is, you could target specific lawyers who deal with these types of cases.
If you’re a local restaurant or a coffee shop located next to well known businesses, then you could target your ads to these professionals as they are your target customers. Also, certain job roles require certain types of productivity software, tools, machines, clothing gear etc.
#5 Final list of ideas
In addition to the list above, here’s a list to inspire you to come up with even more creative niche segments:
- Political orientation – people who support the Green Party have different values to those who support the Conservative party.
- Leaders – there are users who idolise certain people e.g. Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, the Dalai Lama etc.
- Sports teams – users who are fanatical supporters of Manchester United or Barcelona FCs.
- Family roles – Facebook’s new broad category targeting allows you direct access to family status.
- Books and authors – the saying ‘you can judge a person by the books they read’ has never been truer. Think about your target audience and think about what books, authors, magazines and newspapers they would read. The type of material they read would give you an insight into their internal psychological values.
- Applications – this is specifically important if you are trying to promote an app or a game yourself. Facebook tells me that there are 2,367,780 users who are 18 and over in the UK who like “FarmVille” and “Mafia Wars”. We know they have downloaded these applications, so we have every reason to believe that this target segment would be interested in another application.
As you can see, there’s a universe of creative ad targeting ideas for marketers. More important than the examples above is that I hope this post has inspired you to look deeply at contextual targeting in a whole new light. As always, I would love to hear your views, ideas and tips on advanced Facebook targeting, so feel free to add to the discussion below.
Weintraub, M. (2011). Killer Facebook Ads – Master Cutting-Edge Facebook Advertising Techniques. John Wiley & Sons. Canada.
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