Facebook Pages with at least 5,000 fans now have access to new options that allow posts to be targeted to certain demographics among their fans. I believe this is exciting news for companies with a large presence on Facebook… particularly those companies who have several diverse target markets.
How Does Facebook Post Targeting Work?
To target your post to specific fans, just click the targeting button before submitting the post. You can then select your targeting options. Targeting options include: Gender, Age, Relationship, Interested In, Education, Location, and Language. You can combine targeting options to further narrow the size of the audience. As you add targeting, Facebook will inform you as to the number of fans that remain in the target audience. Be aware: Facebook requires that your final audience have at least 20 members or it will not allow you to submit the post.
Once the post is submitted, those fans that fall outside of the target won’t be bothered with your post.
Keep in mind that targeting only has an effect on your fan’s newsfeed. Targeted post will still be visible to all on your page’s timeline. So if you don’t want it to be seen by others, you’ll need to completely hide it on the timeline.
Benefits of Targeting Facebook Posts
As I see it, by delivering more relevant content to your fan base you will be more likely to engage them… and less likely to lose them. If you’ve ever become a fan of a brand, only to later “unlike” them because they had too many posts that were of too little interest to you, you get where I’m coming from on this.
But beyond that, targeting helps to keep your message clear. Until now, if a brand had different messages for different audiences, it was difficult to stay on message in a venue where those audiences were combined. Facebook’s new post targeting feature should help address this challenge.
Limitations of Facebook Post Targeting
While this new feature is a great first step, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. First, only those pages with at least 5,000 fans can use it. That certainly limits the number of pages that can take advantage of targeting. Still, for those who meet that requirement threshold, there are benefits. And for some others, it might be the incentive they need to add a few fans.
One of the most compelling ways to target an audience would be based on interests. However, no such selector exists in today’s Facebook. (Do not confuse “Interested In”, which refers to sexuality, with a general listing of interests.) So while interests would be a great selector in theory, it has been excluded. That’s probably because it wouldn’t work well in practice. While Facebook users can indicate interests and other “favorites” by editing their profile, many do not. An even larger problem: users are left to describe their interests in their own words, so there’s no consistency. I may show an interest of “Kansas City Chiefs”, while others with a similar interest may say “Chiefs”, “NFL”, “football”, or simply “sports”. This user-defined system for categorizing likes is at once both flexible for the user and limiting for marketers. Perhaps Facebook will find a way to tweak this into something more useful to marketers.
Even with its limitations, targeting for Facebook Page posts is a great step forward for marketers.
Whether your Facebook page has 50 fans or 50,000, what selectors would you be most interested in using to selectively target your posts? Would the options that Facebook provides today be adequate to help you accomplish that?