Sunday 20 April 2014

Facebook Announces Page Post Targeting

Starting today, Facebook will begin rolling out Page Post Targeting, a new way to segment page content based on audience data. This new functionality will gradually roll out to all Pages over the next few weeks, depending on the success of the initial launch. This will have significant implications for how content is shared on our clients’ Pages.

How it Works

Page Post Targeting gives admins the ability to segment their Page posts to specific groups of fans in the News Feed based on the following criteria:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interested In (men, women)
  • Relationship Status (single, married etc.)
  • Language
  • Education
    • College Grad: College Name, Major
    • In College: College Name, Major, Years
    • In High School
    • Workplace
    • Location (Country, State, City)

Page Post Targeting gives community managers more control over who sees posts in the News Feed, by tailoring content to specific audiences. This granular targeting provides the ability to publish relevant content that will resonate higher with specific audiences, thus potentially increasing engagement rates for each post. However, there are limitations for how targeted a post can be within a Facebook Page – the smallest group of fans Page admins can target is 20 users.

Page Post Targeting is available to all Pages with over 100 fans as a self-serve option in the Pages composer. Facebook has also said that targeting will be available in their API for brands using third-party publishing tools.

Implications

1) A New Content Mix: Topic, Frequency and Audience All Matter

Content calendars will have to be revamped to include audience segments, as well as topics and timing. While we have generally encouraged clients to include lifestyle content in their Page’s content mix along with branded messaging, both can now be tailored to specific segments to make the messaging more relevant. This also has implications for the timing of posts, as different target segments will be active on Facebook at different times.

While targeted posts generally out- perform public content, the amount of targeted content should be approached with caution. Since all posts will still be visible to everyone on the brand’s Timeline, frequent messaging with segmentation obviously meant for specific audiences may alienate other fans. Community managers have the ability to hide posts, but frequent “hiding” of content may backfire if those able to view it in their News Feeds visit the Timeline to continue engagement, or if the content becomes very popular outside of the Timeline.

2) It’s All About Quality: A Page’s Fanbase Becomes Even More Important

While brands can still publish posts to the entirety of their community, message and audience segmentation using Page Post Targeting will likely lead to greater results. However, the impact of that targeting will be heavily dependent on how closely a Page’s fanbase aligns with the brand’s target audience. For example, if a brand wants to concentrate on 18-24 year old single college students but their existing community is largely 25-34, they need to utilize targeted Sponsored Stories and Promoted Posts to increase the potential reach of their content.

Fans acquired through contests or other fan drives may fall outside of a brand’s target. However, fans acquired through targeted ads using the same criteria may increase the impact of Post Targeting efforts. Page Post Targeting has therefore deepened the symbiotic relationship between effective paid advertising, successful organic content and relevant engagement on Facebook. Brands who master all three will succeed.

3) People vs. Passion Points: Do You Need Different Facebook Pages for Different Audience Segments?

To-date some brands have segmented their Facebook Page strategy by audience segment. For instance, Nike Women is entirely directed at the brand’s female audience. Brands have also approached location and language barriers by opening up Pages specific to countries or geographic regions.  With the new targeting abilities, content segmentation may be accomplished on one consolidated brand Page. The decision may be dependent on the strategic approach to communication and the depth with which a brand wishes to engage particular audience segments.

One example is brands that have built communities around specific passion points of its fans. For instance, Nike also segments its online presence into communities specific to the interests of its customers, such as Nike Golf. Page Post Targeting will not have the level of sophistication to be able to communicate directly with only golf lovers (yet).

4) Rolling with the Punches: Third-Party Platforms Will Have to Adjust

Given how quickly Facebook is rolling out these changes, third-party content management systems will most likely take 60-90 days to implement these new content changes.

This may also be a move by Facebook to make its platform more of a content management system itself. Given these new targeting tools, the newly launched scheduling features and recent admin role adjustments, community managers may need to spend more time on Facebook.com in the near future.

“Post targeting stresses Facebook’s disposition to move faster than third party platforms. Not only will it allow brands to more effectively target audiences, but it further sets the stage that moving away completely from direct posts on Facebook will be tricky business for organizations” – David Armano, EVP of Global Innovation Integration

How Is It Different From Current Targeting Options?

Unlike current targeting options, which restrict the posts you see in both your personal News Feed and on a brand’s Timeline to only those who meet the selected criteria, Page Post Targeting only affects News Feed content. This shift means that any post a brand publishes will be viewable for everyone that visits a brand’s Timeline. This allows friends of fans to see a story after someone engages with it. In the case of brands that frequently target posts and would like to choose only select published posts to be displayed on the Timeline, community managers can manually hide any post from the Page Timeline that they do not want to be public.

Recommended Reading

Below are articles we recommend reading to learn more about Facebook Post Targeting:

This post was compiled by Caleb Gardner, Suzanne Marlatt, and Zach Pospisil.

Archery Image courtesy of Bigstock.

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