Facebook Enhances Targeting Options for Page Posts

Several months back LinkedIn rolled out targeted updates, and now it looks like Facebook is finally following suit. The update has been released to a select group of Facebook pages sans official announcement, but from what we gather around the web, it seems these expanded targeting options will offer huge benefits to social media marketers.

Previous post targeting options (pictured below) were limited to location and language, which can really only get you so far in terms of audience targeting.

Facebook Page Post Targeting

Facebook Page Post Targeting Enhanced will offer a wider range of demographic targeting including:

    • Age
    • Gender
    • Interested In (as interested in dating men or women)
    • Relationship Status
    • Language
    • Education
      • College Grad: College Name, Major
      • In College: College Name, Major, Years
      • In High School
    • Workplace
    • Location (country, state, city)

According to InsideFacebook, the Page Post Targeting interface will look like this:

Facebook Page Post Targeting

Some pages will already notice the expanded targeting options, while others should see changes within a few weeks.

Page Post Targeting and Sponsored Stories

Page Post Targeting will play nicely with Sponsored Stories, creating a valuable system for brands to tap into on Facebook.

First brands can build their reach using Sponsored Stories to encourage people to like a page using the powerful influence of friends. Once these people become members of your audience by liking your page, you can take the targeting up a notch using the new page post targeting features, for example pushing one piece of content to single women in Chicago and another to male college graduates in New York City.

The ability to recruit an audience via paid media and then nurture that relationship with highly targeted organic content speaks to the growing convergence of paid, owned and earned media. The most successful digital marketing campaigns bring all three media types together to reach consumers.

Hyper-specific targeting can clutter your Timeline

There is one catch to page post targeting, though. Updates will only affect who sees the post in their Newsfeed; all page posts, targeted or not, will still be visible on your brand’s Timeline. So while those who view your content only via their Newsfeed will never notice the variance in messaging, the fans who click through to your brand’s Timeline will notice that you sent 10 different versions of the same updates slightly tweaked for different audiences. And in most cases, that doesn’t look so good.

Hiding specific posts is always an option, but that’s not necessarily the best solution, either, since disappearing content can confuse your audience. Success with this new feature will come down to a balance between specific targeting and quality content that still makes sense for anyone who visits your page. To take advantage of targeting options while keeping the page free of clutter, the key will be to diversify the content itself rather than simply just altering messaging.

Can social media management systems catch up?

Does your SMMS integrate this feature? Buddy Media wasted no time announcing adaptations to the new feature, but the rest of the pack will likely need time to catch up. For now at least, community managers will have to head to Facebook.com to take advantage of these new targeting options, leaving third-party tools out of the mix.

Implications for community managers

Page Post Targeting offers a whole new layer for community managers. The tool could certainly lead to fewer “unlikes” caused by update overload or lack of interest in content. With that benefit comes another layer of work for community managers: creating separate messaging at separate times will take additional time and effort.

We also want to see…

The ability to target according to intersets – the items that Facebook users indicate an interest in via a “like,” i.e. Folk Music, Sushi or Kayaking – will help community managers connect customers with related content and products, and could be an extremely valuable tool. We predict that this piece of the puzzle is in the works, and look forward to its introduction.

Have the Page Post Targeting Enhanced updates showed up on your brand’s page? Do you think this feature will improve engagement levels as Facebook promises?