Are You Using Social Audience Data for Ad-Targeting? How to Start

The unique ways in which people interact with businesses, brands, and other people through social media provides a wealth of new opportunities for businesses looking to maximize their marketing efforts. Social-audience data — or information about how a person uses social media- will help you better understand what experiences are more likely to result in conversion for a specific audience.

The Power of Identities

Social-audience data is a powerful tool that can help businesses expand their marketing strategies and realize impressive returns on investment in their social marketing programs. Facebook® is able to provide social-profile data that offers granular targeting and scalability in reach. Other social-media sites are also driving this trend and capitalizing on the value of this information. These social profile data sources are becoming valuable to advertisers because they have attributes similar to Data Management Platforms (DMP).

A true DMP aggregates data sources to form unique user profiles that can be activated across multiple channels. It uses deterministic and probabilistic data to manage audiences across devices, delivering robust audience insights with sophisticated algorithms for look-a-like audience targeting. For those new to DMPs, deterministic data is simply first party data that can be determined as verified and true. Probabilistic data on the other hand relies on algorithms to analyze anonymous data points to create statistical matches between different devices about a user.

Facebook now has 1.55 billion active monthly users on its platform, allowing it to have a high amount of deterministic data. It also offers rich audience insights and look-a-like modeling, similar to DMPs.

It’s important for advertisers who want to incorporate social-audience data into their marketing programs to be aware of some of the key foundations to success to ensure you can drive the most value for your business.

Recipe for Success

Social advertising should always be part of an overarching strategy that is tied to a common business objective, rather than operate in it’s own silo as a channel. Always start with the business objective and understand the audience that you want to reach – who they are and where they spend there time. It is likely that social will be part of where they are spending their time, with Facebook and Instagram being significant players. From there consider the following recipe for success.

Data – Combine your first party data, ranging from your CRM, paid search, website data with Facebook’s social profile data. Use Facebook’s custom audience tool and explore what third party data might be relevant in trying to reach your audiences on Facebook, through partner categories. If you are leveraging third party data through a DMP for targeting across your display media buys via a Demand Side Platform (DSP), it is likely that these third party data sources are also at your disposal on Facebook’s partner categories.

Content – Creative that resonates with the right audiences is another key factor for success. Your audience and your creative go hand in hand, meaning you can’t really drive optimal success from one without the other. Additionally, all of this impacts your Relevance Score on Facebook. Content marketing is becoming more important as advertising on social platforms becomes more cluttered. Try testing ways to automate the process of putting the most relevant content in front audiences that have previously engaged with you. For example, you could try using carousel ads to showcase a suite of products or to tell a sequential story. Dynamic Product Ads are just one area that already delivers results for Retailers and eCommerce advertisers.

Optimization – Facebook introduced some changes to their optimization to objective mapping recently, eliminating the concept of having to select a specific bid type like, CPM, oCPM, CPC etc. Instead, an advertiser selects an optimization goal and the system will automatically bid accordingly. The benefit of this change to advertisers is that the optimization goals available for each campaign objective have been narrowed down to deliver the best results for the advertiser. Also explore other ways on how you can optimize your budgets across various ad sets on Facebook if they all serve a common objective. Facebook will only optimize ads within each ad set, where the budget is defined. By optimizing budgets at this level in a more automated way, you can potentially squeeze more efficiency in terms of scale and cost per objective.

Measurement – Lastly, we need to ensure that measurement is what is grounding us. As was highlighted upfront, social advertising should be part of an overarching strategy where other paid media is in the mix. Similarly, social advertising should be measured in context of other paid channels with common key performance metrics. You need to master navigating social media sites like Facebook, and address cross-channel coordination across search and display. Tools like Facebook’s conversion lift can help you determine the true uplift from seeing a Facebook ad vs. not seeing an ad.

In the end, your first party data when combined with social-audience data is powerful. It is important to tap in to, understand and control. There are many benefits to accessing the information that the online social world offers. As you understand your data, you’ll be more enabled to use your data to optimize to the objective across your specific audiences. Experiment with my recipe for success to find out what works best for your campaigns, and for your audience.

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