In my previous post, I talked about some of the questions we need to ask ourselves when building a social media audience for targeted advertising. I defined three main questions, and divided the first one into eight sub-questions. Realizing that these were a lot, I tackled just the first two of those eight sub-questions. You can see that post here. So, let’s talk about the others.
– What do they like?
This is where your imagination can run freely. Start, of course, by assuming that the people you want to target are interested in the kind of product, service or persona you are promoting. Facebook allows you to select “interests” for your audience based on what people have liked (pages, etc) since the beginning of the platform. This allows you to build many variations of the kind of individual you want to reach: do they like what you are offering and, say, NPR, or NASCAR, or the NRA, or candy necklaces, or specific books, software, places, hotels, types of cuisine…etc., etc., etc. The possibilities are many. You can be as random as you would like, or you can be very careful and use available research. My only problems with available research are that, while many times accurate, it isn’t always so, and it is also general. Those variables may not apply when you add other variables like specific locations and age groups. Use your instinct and your empirical knowledge about the groups you want to target. Test, experiment, observe, analyze, learn and repeat.
Also, something that I have found valuable is to never use the “or” variation. Not everyone is going to like certain things, obviously, but excluding some variables tends to reduce the size of your audience and the reach of your campaign by a significant margin. Besides, two people may not like NPR and NASCAR at once, but others will. Never assume in an exclusionary manner, at least not for this question of what people like.
– What relationship should they already have with your brand/client/self and/or its followers?
This is a short and easy answer: Do you want to target people that already like your brand/client/self? Absolutely! You already have at least their partial attention, use it. This does not mean that you should only target people that already like the brand/client/self. On the contrary, you should also include those who like the competition or similar brands.
– How old are they?
Not as simple an answer as it may seem. To determine your audience’s age range, you must know what you want to accomplish with your campaign, and how the different age groups interact with your product/service/persona. You need to determine who are the users and who are the customers. Sometimes, many times, they are not the same. For example, if you sell video games suitable for teens (Facebook and other platforms limit their membership to people 13 years old and older), your user will be teenagers, but if they don’t have money of their own, the customer will be their parents, and you should always target both. You want to be ethical and transparent, at least I think so. The teens will influence/ask/beg for the game, and the parent will (eventually) relent and purchase it. This is something that people creating cereal boxes have known for generations.
Do you want just “empty” likes and awareness (impressions we call them), or do you want conversions, purchases, downloads? In the case that you are pursuing actual conversions, your user will also be the customer. Ask yourself then, who has the purchasing and the decision-making powers to convert, and then restrict your age range accordingly. Broader is not always better when it comes to age.
Here you can also use your knowledge and the available research on what people of certain age groups like. So, look at what you are promoting, look at the answers to the previous sub-question, and adjust your age range again if necessary.
– What gender are they?
It is the 21st century, don’t make assumptions based on gender stereotypes from the Middle Ages. Whenever possible (and even in certain situations where it may not seem appropriate) target all genders.
Heterosexual cisgender women in relationships with heterosexual cisgender men can also be advocates for that, er…”male health” pill, for example.
– What language do they have their devices set to?
This is closely related to the first sub-question I answered in my past post. Target as many languages as possible in the places that you want to reach. See the answer to that other question here. Also, do your research about minority language groups in the areas of target. Don’t miss entire groups because you forgot that their devices may be set to a language that is not the majority in any given place.
– What is their income level?
This is a question that is only pertinent to certain types of campaigns. Are you advertising an exclusive and ridiculously expensive luxury product/service? If yes, you can restrict your audience to people making above whatever mark the research or your gut tell you that is appropriate. Most of the time, however, this should be left open. Restricting your campaign to people of certain means may seem wise, but it is…well, restrictive.
Next post will tackle the rest of the questions, and I promise that it will not take me so many weeks to create it. Cheers!
*Sorry for the wide gap between the last post and this one, but things have been moving very fluidly around here these days.