Facebook Audience Insights is without a doubt the most robust and powerful analytical tools for identifying your ideal target audience,in your social media marketing toolkit, given you understand how to read the data and use it to your advantage. Audience Insights doesn’t cost anything to use and provides one of the best insights on user behavioral and demographic data both on your audience as well as data on your competitors audience.
The Facebook Audience Insights tool was built to help digital marketers to target their ads more effectively, as well as a way to learn about your audience’s interests and patterns, even if you are not paying for advertising on Facebook to reach them. This data is vital to dialing in your campaign marketing strategy and will undeniably help you improve not only your Facebook marketing strategy, but your entire Digital Marketing Strategy across multiple channels, which includes defined buyer personas, competitive market research, and to generate more engaging content because you know exactly ahead of time what your audience likes and dislikes.
The Audience Insight data on Facebook is generated from the following two resources:
- Third-party data partners: This is information on things such as household income, purchasing behavior, and home value is accessible through 3rd party companies that match that data to Facebook user IDs. Take note that this data is only available for US based audiences.
- Self-reported Facebook data: This is the info freely given by users when they create or update their profile information, to include: relationship status, age, job title, gender, Page Likes, location,groups, etc.
Step 1: Defining your audience
To access the Audience Insights tool, open your browser, head over to https://facebook.com and login, then navigate to your Facebook Business Manager, or just Ads Manager, and select on the ‘Audience Insights’ tab from the left side menu, as seen below.
From your business Ads Manager, click on the drop down menu next to “Ads Manager” and under “Plan”, at the top, you will see “Audience Insights”. Click on it and it’ll take you to the next screen.
Now you are on the main Audience Insights home page, as seen below:
3 audience options to select from:
- Everyone on Facebook: This audience insight option provides an overview of everyone on Facebook as a whole. You would select this option if you wanted to mine data based on broad user interests or your competitors Business Pages.
- People Connected to Your Page: This insight option lets you select your own Facebook Business Page to view data on from all the other Pages within your Business Manager. If you manage a lot of pages, or maybe even a small number of pages that are all in the same niche, this is beneficial to analyzing your existing audience profiles.
- A Custom Audience: Maybe you are an advanced user and are already using Custom Audiences and want to get data on them. This option allows you to select existing audiences to generate data on. If you haven’t yet, then to create a Custom Audience, you’ll have to upload a customer email list from places like your CRM (or, if you’re really smart and know what you’re doing, you probably have figured out the trick to the power of Facebook and know how to get any email list of exactly who your ideal target audience is prior to ever running ads to them. That’s for another post on another day!). Now, uploading a list lets Facebook match those email addresses with user ID’s. When you have a lot of customer data, you have the ability to deep dive your audience personas so that you can better understand the behaviors and demographics of those that are already using your product or service.
Though the 3rd option is absolutely juicy, we’re going to stick with “Everyone on Facebook” option for this article. The good news is that if you want to try out option 2 or 3, you’ll use the same exact steps as we will do now if you were to go with “People Connected to Your Page” or “Custom Audiences.”
Now, let’s complete step 1 by choosing the ‘Everyone on Facebook’ option, which will take you to the next page and step 2!
Step 2: Characteristics of your target audience
In step 2, you want to focus on the identifying characteristics of your target audience.
Take note that the geographic location default is always set to the United States. If the audience you need to analyze is located in the United Kingdom, you can edit the location by typing in the location text box and then selecting on the country you want to add in for your audience insight.
At the same time, if you wanted to take out the United States from your data query, you’ll use your mouse to hover over the country, then click the X to remove it.
Nice thing about this is that you can add or delete as many countries as needed, or leave it blank to analyze all demographic data across the globe.
You will use the left-handed menu to segment your audience by location, language, gender, age, interests, job titles, people connected to your Page, advanced user data like behavior, education, etc.
In my opinion the Interests Audience Insight is an excellent way to discover competitor information.
In the Interests insights section you can use this search area to uncover interest groups or similar Business Pages, like your competitors Pages. Here’s something that will save you a lot of frustration: Not all competitors pages will discoverable here. For your competitors business page to pop up will usually depend on audience size, though there’s really no logic behind what is shown and what isn’t that I’ve seen. Sometimes you’ll see a competitors Business Pages with 30,500 Likes that won’t render, while a competitors Page with 1,200 might popup. I recommend that you prepare a list of Pages and interests that you are aware of and want to include in your analytical search, and enter that list into the box to see if Facebook generates them by popping it up, which means it’s available for you to conduct your discover on.
If the specific Business Page you want to enter has dots or other symbols in the Page name, then make sure to leave it out when entering the Page, as it won’t show up and you might miss that opportunity. Best way to put it, it’s hit of miss..
Moving forward, let’s use an example to illustrate the point I’m trying to make by using good ole Amazon.
Now we’ve generated an audience of fans who like Amazon.com who are only located in the United States, as seen below:
Step 3: Exploring the Audience Insight Data
Let’s now explore the information we’ve generated on Amazon so we can gleam some insights on it. Most of the time, I go into reading data with no preset steps or things that I’m looking for, I just read it and let it tell me a story from which I’ll usually notice a pattern or something that doesn’t add up which is where I’ll begin exploring and finding my nuggets of gold.
Now, within the Insights tool, there’s four tabs of info, each covering a different segments of user data, as follows:
- Page Likes
The demographics tab contains audience information on age and gender, relationship status, education and job title.
Looking at our Amazon audience, we can see that we are looking at a monthly active audience of 45-50 million people, found in the top left portion of the image below contained in the (New Audience) section. This means that we are looking at a significant pool of data. Contrary to what we see here, let’s say that the Business Page you are conducting your Audience Insight research on has an audience of one-thousand or less fans, then no information of the page will be generated.
You can see from this that 64% of Amazon’s audience is female. You can also see that the highest percent of Amazon’s users are in the 25-34 and 35-44 age bracket. If you didn’t already realize it, this is the exact type of information that is extremely important when creating user personas. This data is how you cut out a lot of guess work when doing human labor intensive work like planning content that you’ll then use to engage your ideal target audience with.
To refine the data even further to fit your specific needs, use the menu options located on the left-side of the screen, to segment by selecting an age range, male or female instead of all, and the list goes on. For example, if you wanted to just look at the male audience segment, you would click on men from the menu options, as seen below:
You can also checkout the types of industries that an average Facebook fan of Amazon’s will work at.
The default is set for those that over index compared to the average Facebook audience. However, if you click on ‘Selected Audience’, in the top row next to “Job Title”, you will get the list sorted by relevance, as seen below:
This information clearly shows that Amazon fans are more likely to work in the fields of production sales, administrative services, management, or healthcare and medical services. As you can now start to see, this user data is invaluable when creating your user personas, helping us to develop an educated and data-driven picture of our ideal target audience and not wasting time with pointless guesswork.
The Page Likes tab is divided into two sections:
- Top Categories – This section shows the top categories of Pages that our selected audience likes in addition to the top Pages within those categories.
- Page Likes – This section details the specific Pages that our audience is more than likely to Like compared to the average Facebook user.
Continuing on with the Amazon audience example, you can see what else they Like on Facebook to help us understand their interests and lifestyle choices. By looking at the data, we can see that Amazon fans like other name brands such as Groupon, IKEA, Ulta Beauty, Jimmy John’s, and so on.
By understanding the companies associated here we can analyze the type of user who is likely to Like Amazon as well as understand their other interests in to develop a full picture of them.
You can use this data section to understand what other types of Pages your ideal user engages with so you can develop the type of content that that they’re more likely to engage with. For example, they may engage with inspirational mottos and images over video based ads. This type of understanding of course saves you money and time down the road.
The third data section is the user Location tab. Within this data section, there’s relevant user info on areas like Top Cities, Top Countries, and Top Languages. The Top Cities section provides an idea of where in the United States this audience is based. If you have a local small business, this data will help you understand if your Page is reaching the right target audience within your region.
The Top Cities data field is default sorted to the areas that over index compared to the overall Facebook average. To sort by most popular cities based on historical volume, click once on ‘Selected Audience’, located tot he left of “Cities”.
Due to the population density of New York City, it’s pretty much always going to be at the top of the Top Cities list. What you should always focus on and what is most interesting about this is that NYC has 9% less engagement than the Facebook average. This would tell me the targeting users in NYC might not be the best idea, especially when considering the high cost associated with targeting users located there.
Activity is the final data section available to us when looking at our example using Amazon for our Audience Insights. Activity data helps us analyze the behavior and activity of this target audience on Facebook.
This is split into two sections:
- Frequency of Activities: This section return user activity that has occurred over the last 30 day period. By examining it we can see data on things like the average number of Pages Liked, alongside number of engagements made.
- Device Users: This section gives us information on the device type users used while accessing the Facebook platform. The data is split up between mobile and desktop, and then further drills down into the specific device type (Android, iPhone, Blackberry, so on).
If you look at the frequency of activity data section, you’ll see the activity level this target audience has while on Facebook. Simply put, this let’s us know if Facebook is worthwhile to pursue with our advertising budget. If the activity level is low, look elsewhere, maybe Pinterest of LinkedIn is more suitable.
Looking at the chart below, you can see that the Amazon’s typical fan Likes 2 Facebook Pages, which I’d say is pretty low compared to what I’d usually expect to find. Now, what does stand out and is good for us advertisers is that the average Amazon fan clicks on 40 paid advertisements, as you can see from the graph on the far right side below. Another point worth noting is that they are more likely than the average Facebook user to engage with comments, Likes, and shares, all being very exciting to the digital marketer that’s preparing user personas.
The second data category within the Activity section relates to the devices that are used by Amazon’s audience while accessing the Facebook platform. There are two available options ‘All Devices Used’ and ‘Primary Device’. If you select ‘Primary Device’ you can tell whether this target audience are more likely to use desktop or mobile, as well as the type of device.
You can see that ‘iPhone/iPod’ and ‘Android’ are the two most popular in this example coming in with 51% & 40% respectively. An interesting note here is the iPhone/iPod use which is 20% higher than the average Facebook user, but the computer use is 63% less than the average Facebook user. This data is key when setting up your paid ads because you wouldn’t want to include computers or desktop right ads for this audience, as you’d basically be spinning your wheels and burning up precious ad budget for a much less probable return on investment (ROI).
Step 4: Save the Facebook Audience Insight for future use
After reviewing all of this information and using it to gleam important facts on user personas and ad device targeting (and a lot more obviously), you should save Audience Insight so you can refer back to at, or use it to target your Facebook advertising campaigns, or if you run campaigns for clients it’ll save time and cost for them.
To save, just click on ‘Save’ at the top of the Page and now you can name your target audience any way you prefer. This information can now be found in your Power Editor and selected within your campaigns. You can also use the Open option to the left of save to access a previously saved audience insight.
As you should now know and agree with, the Facebook Audience Insights tool gives us invaluable access to valuable demographic and behavioral data, providing us the opportunity to learn about our target audience and potential customers, prior to ever spending any ad budget or wasting time constructing user personas, all by simply using information that Facebook hand gifts to us and does so for free! You will not find another tool out there that gives you this type of powerful insight data and freely.
Anyone who’s using Facebook’s Audience Insight data is winning when it comes to having a more accurate audience targeting when running paid Facebook advertising campaigns, or when constructing user personas for the purpose of developing engaging content.
Now, you can be just as effective as an expert social media marketer or a digital marketing guru, because it all starts with laying a solid foundation from which you build on.
Remember, digital or social media marketing is a game of data and whomever has the most informed marketing strategy is going to kill it on any ad channel, not just Facebook.