Facebook has nearly 2.5 billion monthly active users around the world. With people spanning many demographics – from teenagers to older adults – using the social network regularly, it’s no surprise that Facebook is an appealing platform for marketers. Whether you’re reaching your audience organically on Facebook (and having success doing so given the enigma that is the Facebook algorithm) or running a Facebook advertising campaign, Facebook Audience Insights is a valuable tool in your marketing arsenal.
To help you gain a deeper understanding of Facebook Audience Insights and how you can use this tool to your advantage when crafting effective Facebook ads or planning your social media content calendar (and many other potential use cases), we reached out to a panel of social media pros and asked them to answer this question:
“What’s the most important thing marketers need to know about Facebook Audience Insights?”
Meet Our Panel of Social Media Pros:
Gregory Golinski is the Head of Digital Marketing at YourParkingSpace.co.uk.
“Facebook Audience Insights are great for your website, but what about monitoring your competitors’ audiences on Facebook, too?
Facebook lets you analyze your competitors’ audiences and activity via Audience Insights. Just enter 3 or 4 competitors, and you’ll be able to see their most trending posts on Facebook and the size of their audience. You can then adapt your own strategy by looking at what’s working (and not working) for your competitors.”
Alistair Dodds is the Marketing Director and Co-Founder of London-based digital marketing agency, EIC Marketing.
“One of the most important things marketers need to know about Facebook Audience Insights is that without a custom audience of past customers and then the potential lookalike audiences that stem from that, this tool is your next best option for finding detailed targeting audience options.
Perform a customer avatar process to build potential customer personas. Use that to identify the kind of related interests and brands your prospects will already be following. So, for example, if you’re able to identify a celeb, writer, thinker, or brand in your target niche and enter each as an interest, you can go to the Page Likes option and find all the top categories Facebook’s data sets suggest are relevant to that interest. Now, some will be irrelevant, so you need to make subjective decisions as you go through. However, you can use the affinity tool further down the page to narrow your focus, back up your assertions, and pool together a larger target list of interests.
You’ll then be able to work through each of the suggested interests, check their Facebook pages, and determine whether you think they are appealing to your customer avatars. It’s a bit of a rabbit-hole process as you look at the shared interests and affinity for each of these pages, but you’ll soon be able to identify common threads and piece together a list of interests to target in your ads.”
Bethany Spence is a Content Marketing Specialist at Exposure Ninja.
“The most important thing marketers need to understand about Facebook Audience Insights is the wider context behind their audience’s behavior. Like any technical tool, the function is useless if you don’t understand the basics. At the moment, Facebook’s population is declining due to emotional reasons like users feeling overwhelmed, addicted, and skeptical of those using their data. This will impact your Facebook insights, perhaps manipulating your month-on-month growth and the types of posts that receive the most engagement. Some people are just cleaning up their accounts during this uncertain time.
Perhaps the most important function right now on your insights page is the Pages to Watch feature, where you can keep tabs on your competitors to see how they’re managing (or failing) to keep their audience engaged. If your audience is streamlining their page, they might decide to only keep either your or your competitor around – so it’s crucial to make sure you’re outperforming them on social media.”
Nate Masterson is the CEO of Maple Holistics.
“Facebook Audience Insights allows marketers to target consumers based on Life Events, such as engagements, graduations, anniversaries, and even funeral planning. These micro-moments offer a unique opportunity to tap into a consumer market that is ready and willing to spend money. Imagine if a florist could directly target people planning weddings or movers who could create ads for people finding a new home. This specific metric is an ideal place for marketers to reach out to potential consumers who are significantly more likely to convert.”
Michael is a marketing specialist who focuses on building high authority links. In his free time, he enjoys traveling and writing short stories.
“I think it’s immensely important for marketers to know how to use the When Your Fans Are Online and the Post Types dashboards under the posts sidebar.
When Your Fans Are Online is a dashboard that can help marketers determine the best days and times to post content. You can see both the day by day breakdown of when your audience is online as well as specific times on any given day.
Another dashboard within this sidebar is the Post Types section, which allows marketers to see what kind of posts are resonating with their audience. For example, a marketer may realize that links are getting a lot of engagement, while photos are not.
By understanding these two dashboards within Facebook’s Audience Insights, marketers can refine their social media strategy by posting more relevant content when their audience is most likely to be online.”
R.J. Weiss is the founder at the personal finance site, The Ways to Wealth.
“The Facebook Audience Insights tool is a fantastic place to get ideas for audiences to test, as well as ideas to refine your existing audiences. We’ve had a lot of success in our ads by going with very broad audiences at first, then excluding one or two large demographic traits from that audience. For example, targeting a broad audience such as entrepreneurs, then narrowing that audience to a specific age group and gender.”
Charlie is a serial entrepreneur serving as the CEO of several companies such as 99 Robots, a digital advertising & WordPress development agency, Ampfluence, an Instagram Growth agency, Triberr, a content and influencer marketing platform, and Podcasts.com, a leader in the podcast hosting industry.
“The most essential part of Audience Insights is to identify and precisely target your product’s actual buyer persona.
For example, let’s say you have grown a Facebook Page organically to a few thousand followers and likes. Audience Insights allows you to investigate the behavior and demographics of this audience. Useful information such as what pages or blogs they follow, which celebrity page they like, their education levels, job titles, gender, location and the type of devices they use. That’s valuable data for brands and advertisers.
With this intel, a marketer can create many new and untapped audiences to target without having to spend thousands testing various interests and strategies. Furthermore, as Facebook learns more about your target audience, it displays the top Facebook Pages likely to be relevant to your audience based on Facebook Page likes. This helps you explore new audiences to target with your ads (target people who like a certain high-value page) and also identify your actual competition. Audience Insights provides the number of monthly active users and page affinity.
It’s surprising how many marketers and advertisers do not use Audience Insights to its full capacity. Go digging!”
Adam Hempenstall is the CEO and Founder of Better Proposals, simple proposal software for creating beautiful, high-impact proposals in minutes. Having helped his customers at Better Proposals win $120,000,000+ in one year only, he’s launched the first Proposal Writing University where he shares business proposal best practices.
“The most important thing to know is that each campaign should be built based on a custom audience. Just as you would not send an email blast to your entire subscriber base, you don’t send ads to everyone you’re connected to on Facebook. So, you should use Audience Insights to choose between the audience on your page, everyone on your page, or a custom list. The bottom line is that you should first decide on who your ideal target audience is and then use Insights to create that ideal audience and get the best ROAS you can.”
Jodie Cook is a social media specialist. She owns an agency, JC Social Media in Birmingham, UK, and represents clients globally, running their social media for them. She has written five books on good social media management which are available on Amazon.
“The most important thing marketers need to know about Facebook Audience Insights is the device that people use when viewing your content. This varies across Facebook pages, so don’t assume! Once you know which device most people use to view your content, make sure it’s optimized accordingly and make sure you’re sending people to relevant web pages for that device.”
Kasia Majewska is a marketing executive at NapoleonCat.
“We’ve always held the engagement rate in high regard as it usually turns out to be the first step to conversion. All the reactions of your followers provide you with insights as to how they feel and what they think about your brand. Low engagement rates often mean that your content is not well-suited for your target group. What’s more, negative engagements are indicators of people’s discontent with your communication and can be early signs of an upcoming crisis.
As soon as you find out that your content is not engaging enough, you should re-think your content strategy and take into consideration your audience demographics.”
Joseph Colarusso is an SEO and content professional who helps small business increase visibility online.
“As a digital marketer, you need to leverage the split test option within Facebook Audience Insights. You can separate audiences into different ad sets and then find out which ad sets perform better. Focus on the top-performing audiences and eliminates those that do not perform well.”
Orlando Rios is CEO of Dropkick Ads, an advertising creative and management agency in Austin, TX. He’s also the host of the Ultimate Marketer Podcast, a weekly show on Apple and Spotify that dives deep into digital marketing.
“Those not in the weeds of Facebook advertising sometimes get Page Insights confused with Audience Insights – they are not the same thing, and one is way more valuable than the other.
Audience Insights offers a bird’s-eye view of exactly what your customer looks like so you can ultimately create better prospecting audiences.
The most important thing marketers should know, however, is that this is already built into your lookalike audiences. If you already have enough Facebook Pixel events to build audiences off of, a lookalike will take all the guesswork out of the equation for you and will likely perform better than anything you could create in Audience Insights.
This does not render the tool useless, however. If you need to find a prospecting audience for more top of funnel campaigns, this tool can help narrow the audience size to more qualified recipients. Additionally, if your Facebook Pixel is new and hasn’t gathered the 1,000+ events needed for a lookalike, it could provide a better base point than what you could create without it.”
Dylan Max is the Head of Growth Marketing at Y Combinator-backed startup, Netomi. He’s been featured in CMSWire, HackerNoon, Databox, and Forbes.
“My key piece of advice for marketers using Facebook Audience Insights is: Think of Facebook Audience Insights like a car. It needs fuel, in the form of data, and regular check-ups to drive your business the distance.
Your primary source of fuel should be coming from your website traffic. Set up event-driven Facebook Pixels on key pages that indicate high levels of buying intent. These actions could include visiting the checkout, clicking Add to Cart, or viewing a product video. You can create and continually refresh custom audiences for Facebook users who completed the above key actions. Once these audiences are created, you can get more insights into what types of people are buying from your business through Facebook Audience Insights. Use these insights as a feedback loop to target your Facebook (and even LinkedIn or Google search) ads.”
The Director of Marketing at Bitcoin Australia, Peter has over 20 years of experience in Digital Marketing. Peter is an avid cryptocurrency investor, meetup organizer, and advocate for cryptocurrency.
“Whenever you’re looking at Facebook Audience Insights, you need to think about the intent of users’ interactions with your posts. A like and a comment may be great, but if your post is irrelevant, don’t get too excited.
You want posts to raise brand awareness and increase consumer engagement. Just because an irrelevant cat meme might gets loads of likes and shares doesn’t mean you should do that. However, if content like testimonials, company insights, and press releases are getting good insights, you know you’re onto a winner.”
Joe Babi is an SEO who has worked with international and local clients. He focuses on white-hat SEO and unorthodox methods to bring returns that no other SEO can provide.
“The most important thing to know about Facebook Audience Insights that most marketers miss is that it’s the perfect platform to find businesses to cross-promote your business with. Just input your customer profile into insights and look that the pages they follow. From there, you can reach out to pages that relate to your business but don’t compete with a cross-promotion opportunity.
The success rate is through the roof, because it’s a win-win situation for your business and the business you’re pitching!”
William Taylor is the Career Development Manager at MintResume with over 12 years’ experience in career advising, coaching, and recruitment.
“Facebook Audience Insights presents data under six tabs, namely:
- Page Likes
The data presented under each tab is sorted by affinity by default, which is the likelihood of a segment being in this audience over the average Facebook user. So you can accurately compare between the audience and the average Facebook user.
Bottom Line: Data is sorted by affinity.”
Sean is an Australian SEO Growth Strategist. His passion for SEO and obsession for commercial growth fuel his company, Edge Marketing.
“The value of the different data insights offered by Facebook depends on the aims you are trying to achieve with that target post. For organic content designed to create new brand awareness, the number of likes from users that your content was suggested to, as well as total reach, indicate success.
On the other hand, say you are targeting site visitors to convert them. A high total reach but low engagement from them doesn’t mean ‘job done.’ It means you need to rethink your material.
For each of our social media objectives, such as targeting new clients, we always ask, ‘What should successful results look like according to Facebook insights?’ After answering this, you’ll know whether a strategic change is in order.”
Allison Hott is a content marketer and writer at Nameboy, the oldest and most popular domain name generator in the world.
“For businesses with a physical location and a local Facebook Business Page, one of the most important things you need to know about Facebook Insights is the Local tab. On the Local tab, you’re able to get information about the foot traffic in your area, demographics about the consumers in your area, and you can see the percentage of people nearby that saw your Facebook ad. This information is extremely helpful for small businesses and marketers that want to get more foot traffic through their doors.”
Dan Jones is the creator and resident plant daddy over at Terrarium Tribe – a website that helps plant lovers build and look after terrariums.
“One little-used application of Facebook Audience Insights data is to create a list of future outreach targets. If you’re running a business in a narrow niche (like my terrarium website, for example), you can quickly exhaust your immediate market opportunities. However, if you have a following on Facebook, you can use Audience Insights to mine a list of broader brands and publications that your fans enjoy consuming. The more relevant niche brands and publications on the list are great opportunities for future partnerships, but even the irrelevant ones could be good platforms to run display ads.”
Laura Gonzalez is the Marketing Manager of Audi Westmont. She has extensive experience in the automotive and marketing fields. She oversees all marketing initiatives for the dealership and manages customer relations initiatives, as well.
“Facebook Audience Insights is incredibly useful and is generally pretty accurate. If I had to give one piece of advice about it, I would warn users to not get too carried away when choosing their target audience. If you set your target audience too narrow, you could easily be missing out on leads. I recommend that everyone run a few different campaigns with different demo/psychographics parameters to see which returns the highest quality leads.”
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