Facebook recently launched a new featured called Audience Optimization. I wouldn’t call it a game-changer, but it ups the Facebook marketing game in a big way for brands.
Here’s how Facebook Audience Optimization can help your business:
- Audience Optimization will help your content reach the people who are most likely to engage with it. This feature is huge for e-commerce!
- You can get much better metrics from Facebook Insights letting you know which groups of people are engaging with your content and in what ways.
Facebook breaks Audience Optimization down into three different features:
- Preferred Audience
- Audience Restrictions
- Audience Insights
As of this writing, Audience Optimization is only available for English language pages. According to Facebook Media, the Audience Optimization features will automatically be turned on if your page has over 5,000 likes.
Since I manage several Facebook pages for clients, I did some digging to see whether this feature has been rolled out. Several of the clients who in fact do have over 5,000 likes and are English language pages did not have this feature auto-enabled, nor did they have access to the settings tab to turn them on. Another thing worth noting is that newer pages with less than 100 likes did have the access to the setting to turn on Audience optimization. So if you have over 5,000 likes don’t be surprised if you can’t access this feature yet, and should you have a new page you just might be in luck.
To enable Audience Optimization you need to follow these steps:
- View your page.
- Click on the “Settings” button in the upper-right hand corner.
- Under the “General” tab, you should new see a row titled “News Feed Audience and Visibility For Posts”.
- Check the box that allows you to use the feature and click “Save changes”.
How does Audience Optimization work?
When you go to create a Facebook post in the publisher, you’ll notice a new crosshairs icon.
Clicking on this will activate the feature, and you’ll be shown the following popup.
Notice how the instructions in the popup above says that the people who fit in this group are more likely to see your posts?
Preferred Audience uses interest tags to help prioritize page posts in the News Feed for each individual based on the topics they are most likely to engage with. Here you can enter in up to sixteen tags to represent users who would most likely engage with this particular post.
You can choose from nine primary categories and dig deeper into each:
- Business and Industry
- Family and Relationships
- Fitness and Wellness
- Food and Drink
- Hobbies and Activities
- Shopping and Fashion
- Sports and Outdoors
Once you’ve entered in the interests you can narrow your targeting further by age range, gender and language.
This is where I see the biggest impact for e-commerce brands.
Let’s say you run a retail business that sells women’s and men’s clothing. Each year you run a Valentine’s day sale. Before Audience Optimization, the only way that you could segment your promotions was to create an ad that targeted a specific audience. Now you’ll have the ability to “push” content that is better targeted to a particular audience. Hopefully, this means you’ll end up spending less on promoted posts.
Tagging Dos and Don’ts
I think there are two important things to keep in the forefront of your mind when selecting tags for each post. The first is knowing who your audience is (you want to use tags to help define your audience, not list keywords that are related to your post), and the second is knowing how you intend to use the post. What I mean by this is, are you trying to get maximum organic reach from your existing audience, or are you going to pay to promote the post to a wider audience?
Here are a few other best practices to keep in mind as well:
- Mix broad and narrow tags. Facebook suggests focusing on broad search terms and then working your way to more specific audiences. However, you should avoid using tags that are too broad like “technology” or “shopping,” and instead, use subcategories.
- Think of related interests. Facebook suggests that you don’t limit the tags to the topic of the post. Instead, think of what tags might be of interest to that audience.
- Include brands or organizations. Facebook suggests that you tag brands and organizations who might have an overlap with the topic of your post.
- Tag small audiences strategically. Don’t be afraid to get specific if the audience is likely to be passionate about your post and highly engaged.
- Use trending hashtags. If it’s appropriate and can be applied to your post, use tags related to trending topics.
This is an existing feature of Facebook, but it plays well with the Preferred Audience function. With this, you can limit the visibility of a post to certain demographics.
In my opinion, this is the best feature that Audience Optimization is bringing to the table. With this, you can learn how your fans are responding to a post with interest tags. It shows you how each interest tag that you set contributed to that post’s reach, likes, shares and clicks.
How Should You Use Audience Optimization?
If you have access to this feature, I’d recommend testing out as close to sixteen tags as you can for posts going forward.
You’ll want to pay attention to the tags you use and evaluate the performance of them over time. Determine which ones garnered the highest engagement and which brought in the highest click-through rate.
This will allow you to have a better understanding of what your audience responds to and help you to create a better content strategy for your brand.
How are you going to use Audience Optimization and what feature are you the most excited about?