How Facebook and Google’s Hyper-Targeted Niche Ads Are Changing How to Define and Find Your Audience

Written By Claiborne Linvill on October 29th, 2019

One of the first and most important steps of developing any marketing campaign is to understand and define your audience. In the not-so-distant past, this may have meant defining the target age, gender, income and perhaps a few other details, like homeownership status or preference for late-night TV news. Now, though, those basic demographics and buying habits aren’t enough—you need to know the nitty gritty details of who your audience members are, what they want, and what they expect from their media interactions.

Go Beyond Basic Demographics

Thanks to Facebook and Google’s in-depth knowledge of their users, you can now target ads on their platforms to very specific traits and behaviors. For example, do you know if your ideal audience:

  • Got engaged within the past 6 months?
  • Is having a birthday this week?
  • Has recently shopped for a new car?
  • Enjoys hiking?
  • Follows pages that post only cat videos?

It can be incredibly useful to use these particularities in your marketing for two key reasons. First, the better targeted your ads are, the better you’ll reach your most potential buyers/users. Your ads will reach only those most interested in seeing them. Hyper-targeted ads also cost less money overall, as you aren’t spending money on impressions for people who likely aren’t interested; your dollars go to converting an interested crowd.

How to Better Define Your Audience

To take advantage of these benefits, though, you have to first know these things about your audience. How can you do that? It takes work.

  1. Survey your customers – especially to ask where they heard about you. The more you can learn about your current customers’ behavior, the better you can reach new ones.
  2. Use your data! Google Analytics and Google Search Console offer a wealth of knowledge to mine about your customers.
    • The Audience reports in Google Analytics can show you data about the users that are already visiting your site—their age, gender, interests, location, etc. It can also show how those users interact with your site, including bounce rate, conversions, pages they've viewed on your site, etc.
    • Google Search Console is a separate tool from Google Analytics, but they overlap some. In addition to helping you find and troubleshoot certain technical issues with your website, Google Search Console also provides search traffic data, such as which search queries show your site in the results, and how many clicks your site received for those search queries. You can also see which pages from you site received the most clicks and impressions, as well as which countries and devices (e.g., mobile phones, desktops, tablets) received the most clicks and impressions.
    • Armed with all this data, you can learn how your customers find you, what they like and don’t like about your site, and what locations and devices they use to find you.
  3. Let Facebook do some work. The platform often makes recommendations to reach audiences. When you develop a Facebook ad, follow the prompts to add (or sometimes, restrict) recommended demographics related to your products or services.
    • To get the most out of Facebook, install a Facebook Pixel. The Pixel installs and tracks cookies to show what your users are doing online. You can use data from the Pixel to create target audiences for future Facebook ad campaigns. It's a good idea to go ahead and install the Facebook pixel now, even if you're not ready to start running Facebook ads, because it will start collecting data that you can use later. You can use the data collected from the Pixel to create Custom Audiences of people that have visited your website (you can even target people that have visited specific pages on your site) and you can create Lookalike Audiences of people that have similar traits to people who have already visited your site.
    • Use Facebook’s fantastic new audience-creation tool. You can import a list of your current customers, then Facebook will make suggestions to develop a similar “lookalike” audience.

In general, online ads only perform well when the right people see them. But with the vastness of the internet and the differences in how people use it, its important to use both data and targeting tools to find your audience among the millions of users online. Taking the time to truly define your target audience (and likely create several different types of ideal audiences) will allow you to develop and target ads that will resonate with people truly interested in your products and services.

If you ever need help defining your audience or using these online ad and data tools, feel free to give ALINE a call. We get pretty excited about this stuff.

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