Blog Post

Programmatic Media Buying 101: Facebook Advertising Targeting Data & Custom Audiences

07/17/2017 - Karen Moked

In the coming year, Social Media is expected to take over more than a third of the share of digital marketing spend. Social media advertising has been established as a “must-do” for the digital marketers of today.

With more than 70% of the U.S’s population on at least one social networking site, it’s become apparent that companies should invest in social. It’s estimated that in 2017, Facebook alone is positioned to represent almost 30% of the U.S population.

Facebook’s Marketing Appeal

Fundamentally, Facebook provides advertisers with massive reach to a digitally engaged audience. Facebook passed the 1.7 billion mark for global monthly users and is the by far the most used social media platform in the world.

Advertisers know that Facebook offers value, and not just by reach alone. The platform gives marketers the opportunity to reach and retarget users with advertising based on real user data. Facebook doesn’t rely on data from user searches that are based on cookies, but is able to target real individuals, which is a huge advantage over its competitors.

Additionally, Facebook’s user profiles provide valuable targeting data — such as their age, geographic location and behavioral data. This information can be found on the sites’ pages and post likes and provide insight into user interests that help advertisers reach highly qualified users.

Marketers also find interest in Facebook because of its usability on mobile and the ability to target across devices. In fact, over half of users access Facebook solely on mobile. The platform offers multiple tools to reach interested users and remarket to existing or past customers.

Custom Audience

Advertisers who take interest in Facebook can place pixels on their website to set up and target Custom Audiences. These audiences would consist of individuals with Facebook IDs that have visited specific product pages or added products to a cart on an advertiser’s website. In turn, this data can be used to retarget these visitors with ads across all of their devices.

A Custom Audience for example, could be used to create an audience segment of a brand’s most frequent buyers. When a new product or sale comes up, the brand can target those users who would most likely return to their site and purchase again.

Using Facebook’s algorithm for Custom Audiences, they can identify similar or Lookalike Audiences. These lookalikes help advertisers find new customers by taking a high intent signal, high performing audience segment — like an advertisers’ best customers — and target ads to other users who share similar traits or behaviors.  

Best Practices

The most popular social media platforms offer online help sites and training to help marketers get the most out of social – and Facebook is no exception. Facebook’s Business and Help sites explain features and provide helpful “how-to” videos for every step of the campaign process.

Take the statistic for example that 87% of Facebook engagements come from photo posts. As a result, Facebook recommends an 80/20 ratio for posts – use 80% image and only 20% text. In fact, 40 characters or less is the ideal Facebook post length to maximize engagement.

Understanding creative best practices is just a small sample of the tips and best practices Facebook has to offer. The self-serve Ad Manager includes guidance and built-in features like automated optimization based on Campaign Objectives. The increasing rate of adoption of Facebook in programmatic marketing plans clearly indicates that social media advertising is maturing.

Facebook’s Future

As it continues to evolve, better measurement will be critical in demonstrating its value.  Facebook has already made progress in measurement through ability to optimize performance in real time, improving performance against a variety of campaign objectives, and providing incremental and efficient reach.

Facebook offers similar benefits to programmatic buying and selling — effective targeting and the ability to match ads on a one-to-one basis, in real time — but doesn’t provide a real time bidding model currently. Marketers seeking Facebook inventory work directly with Facebook as their inventory is not available outside their own platform.

Facebook Advertising Best Practices Summary

  • Social media is big, and Facebook has the lion’s share among social platforms
  • Advertisers like Facebook because of the ability to target real user IDs and attributes, including not only user profile data, but also behavioral targeting  
  • Facebook’s Custom Audiences helps to retarget interested users — and to reach Lookalike audiences
  • Facebook’s Business and Help sites offer best practices to make the most of your campaigns
  • Benefits include valuable user-based, mobile and cross device targeting, but not the real time bidding available via programmatic platforms
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