Reach Your Target Audience on Facebook

Tiffany Weimar - April 1, 2011

Advertising on Facebook has become one of the most successful and popular online advertising options for marketers.  According to, Facebook ad revenues are expected to reach over 4 billion dollars in 2011 (with 2.2 billion in the United States). states, “The company will receive 68% of all social network ad spending worldwide. In the US, it will garner 71% of social network spending and 7.7% of total US online ad spending.” It isn’t a surprise that Facebook has become the apple of the marketer’s eye.

So what are you waiting for?  Although Facebook ads shouldn’t be the entire focus of your marketing plan, you should consider allocating a portion of your budget in this direction.

One of the major reasons to consider investing in Facebook ads is your ability to target specific audiences.  Let’s be honest, most people put their lives on Facebook.  People list (freely) their demographic information, jobs, residence, and interests within their profiles.  As Facebook continues to expand its advertising options, it will allow marketers to get more creative in their marketing strategies and messages. 

One of the newer services available is Facebook’s “Likes & Interests” targeting option.  What exactly does this mean? Simply stated, you are now able to display your ad in front of individuals that have some sort of vested interest in your competitors (or people that have “Liked” a competitor’s company page).  This also means that you are able to advertise to people that identify an interest that may be affiliated with your target audience.

Let’s take a look at the example below to better illustrate how this targeting option is utilized.  Pretend for a moment that you are working for a University in Florida.  Your goal is to advertise your college to the majority looking to go to college in Florida (in this case, we will focus on targeting the U.S, ages 17-25).  Within this target, you’d like to advertise to individuals who have displayed interest in other Florida Universities. 

With the “Likes & Interests” option, you can reach these people by placing names of other higher education institutions in Florida.  This granulates your search and gives you the ability to get in front of a group of people that wasn’t necessarily guaranteed previously.  Most likely, this ad will display to people looking for a Florida college as well as to people who are currently attending a University but may be looking to transfer or continue their education after graduating. 

The “Likes & Interests” option may not be applicable to all industries.  Perhaps you don’t want to advertise to people affiliated with your competitors.  Remember though that you can be creative with identifying your specific targeting keywords.  Your approach may be more indirect (as opposed to such a direct approach in the University example).  Instead of trying to reach individuals who have shown interest in other Florida schools, perhaps you are trying to reach the same age group who have mentioned interest in a sport or geographic interest (such as the beach).  If you are a college in South Florida located near the beach (Florida Atlantic University for example), placing “beach” as a targeting interest may be an interesting way to grab the attention of your target audience.  In this case, you may wish to tailor your ad copy to speak to this audience.  As an example:  “How would you like to spend your study breaks on the beach? Apply to FAU today”.
Facebook has undoubtedly become the front runner in social media paid advertising.  If you know your target audience and are looking for a creative way to reach them, Facebook advertising may be the marketing route for you!

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