8 Facebook Targeting Techniques For Online Retailers

  • 5 min read

There are many targeting options and parameters on Facebook but are you using them wisely? This post looks at some of the options available for retailers and why they should be using them.

Utilising the right Facebook strategy helps businesses to narrow their audience to improve the chances of their ads being shown to a person who is more likely to be interested in the items or services they are selling.

New to Facebook Product Ads? Here's what you need to know.

Targeting is crucial for all businesses of all shapes and sizes – particularly retailers. Showing irrelevant ads to people on Facebook will not only decrease clicks to the site, but slow how often ads are shown and could cost a lot when on a CPM model.

Smaller retailers would benefit from making their targeting more specific in order to save money and local retailers should consider reducing their targeting radius.

It’s also worth bearing in mind the conversion window you typically see – do your customers buy on the first click to the site or is there a period of consideration first? The targeting options below outline possible ways in which you can find the right audience for your business.

1. Remarketing on Facebook

When you use a pixel to track users on your website and then follow up these users by showing them ads on Facebook, this is remarketing.

Pros: These ads are usually designed to encourage users to come back to the site and purchase - either a different product or simply go back to the site and purchase their first product. Advantages include the ability to make specific remarketing lists such as; cart abandoners, people who dropped out at the checkout stage, people who viewed specific pages, etc.

Cons: Advertisers need to remain vigilant to ensure their ads are ‘reiterating’ and not simply ‘irritating’. Remarketing lists will need to be refined to ensure as best they can that the targeting applies to interested people only. Also, it's important not to remarket anything that could be considered embarrassing or secretive as people do share computers.

Which retailers can benefit? Ecommerce sites typically see the best response from this, but as mentioned above, make sure you’re not remarketing anything that should be hidden from others - we’re looking at you wedding dress stores and jewellers remarketing engagement rings!

2. Lookalike Audiences Targeting

This is where Facebook finds audiences who share common qualities with people who have already expressed an interest in your business.

Pros: This helps business build their brand awareness by reaching people they would not have necessarily found otherwise.

Cons: It’s not always guaranteed that people who look similar (by demographic, interests and web behaviour) will posses the same level of interest in your business.

Which retailers can benefit? Small online stores with relatively low levels of brand awareness definitely come up tops for this type of targeting as it helps them to expand their reach.

3. Interest Based Targeting

There are thousands of interests to use as a targeting parameter on Facebook. This is based on Facebook’s understanding of what users have ‘expressed interest’ in.

Pros: This allows you to target people who you know are interested in similar things you sell making for higher likeliness that they will visit your site or store and make a purchase. For example, you can target people who are interested in motorcycles - a good option if you sell motorbike accessories and clothing.

Cons: Using broad interest targeting parameters can show your ads to irrelevant audiences and making your interest targeting very specific may do wonders for your CTR and conversion rates but could significantly reduce your reach.

Which retailers can benefit? Many eCommerce and bricks and mortar stores will benefit from this if done correctly. For example, targeting people who are interested in fashion can help clothing stores reach new heights.

4. Interest Based Targeting

This targets users based on their behaviour outside of your site and Facebook. It looks at behaviours such as ‘purchasing behaviour’, ‘charitable donations’ and ‘digital activities’.

Pros: This helps businesses develop more than a strategy that hits “the right people at the right time” by targeting the right people before they’ve even began to look specifically for the items you sell. For example, under the ‘purchase behaviour’ option you will find ‘Pet Products’ - ideal targeting option if you sell pet accessories as you already know these users buy items similar to yours.

Cons: Such targeting does not eliminate people who have recently lost interest in that specific field as the data is built up over time. If we look at the pet accessories example above, this could be a painful ad to show a users with pets that have recently passed away. This can result in your ads getting negative feedback and getting show less often.

Which retailers can benefit? Larger eCommerce stores usually benefit more due to the broader nature of this targeting.

5. Demographics Facebook Targeting

Facebook’s demographic targeting is often more advanced due to the fact that users input this information within their Facebook profiles. This includes age, education level, work status, relationship status etc.

Pros: This allows advertisers to include relevant demographics or exclude irrlevant user groups. For example if you sell clothing designed for women over 50, you can target females aged 50 or above only.

Cons: It’s usually best to layer this targeting with other targeting methods, otherwise there is little to ensure there is an intent behind the clicks.

Which retailers can benefit? Retailers with specific target audiences will benefit more from this targeting option such as clothing stores, beauty & cosmetics stores, bookshops etc.

6. Custom Audiences

This is an audience created from your existing customers using information that you upload to Facebook. Similar to remarketing, this can help to target people who didn’t reach the checkout or simply attract those who purchased to come back to the site.

Pros: This highly specific targeting reaches people who have already expressed interest in your business making it less likely that you will waste money showing ads to a broader audience.

Cons: This option will not work for expanding your reach and can be difficult to reach all the people in the audience group. If you have less than 1000 users in your list you may need to increase your CPM limit and add users to the list as your customer base grows. Alternatively you can create a lookalike audience based on your list too.

Which retailers can benefit? Retailers with a customer base that are likely to purchase more than once will see the benefits of this more as you are essentially inviting your customers back to your site.

7. Mobile App Users

If your business has a mobile app you can use custom audiences to target people who have utilized your app.

Pros: By targeting people who are using your app, you know they have expressed interest in your brand as well as showing they do this using a mobile device. This is a good sign if you are looking to run mobile-only campaigns that bring people back to the app (another form of remarketing with a different angle).

Cons: This option also means you will have limited reach which is not a good sign if you don not have many app downloads at this point.

Which retailers can benefit? Larger stores with substantial brand awareness usually see more success with this as they are more likely to have an app available for download and larger quantities of app users.

8. Connections

You may have heard of people refer to this as ‘friends of...’. This works your audience lists and looks at their connections and allows you to target them. For example, you can target ‘friends of people going to your event’.

Pros: Targeting in this way helps you to reach new people. This again, helps brand awareness, especially for new stores.

Cons: Despite friendship circles having similar interests a lot of the time, it's not guaranteed that a user will connect with your store simply because their friend has - they could have very different interests.

Which retailers can benefit? Retailers with less brand awareness benefit from this as it reaches new audiences without becoming too broad and costing the advertiser too much money.

The targeting options may seem overwhelming in terms of choice, granularity and sometimes even the set up behind them. But when used correctly, the results can be phenomenal. As its Facebook, these targeting options are only likely to get better so it's well worth getting used to what’s available and what works for your store.

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