Thursday, January 21st, 2016 | 4 min read
It takes a lot of thought to ensure brands’ organic Facebook posts get seen by the right people—people with whom the content will resonate, fostering the relationship between the brand and its community. Traditionally, if you targeted too precisely, the post ran the risk of only being seen by a small group, ultimately hurting the efficacy of your message. If you didn’t target at all, you ran the risk of pushing content to people who weren’t interested in it, resulting in negative feedback.
Luckily, Facebook is taking a lot of the guesswork out of the targeting game by restructuring its organic targeting options.
Before we dive into what’s new, it’s important to review the difference between Preferred Audience (previously known as targeting) and Audience Restrictions (previously known as gating). With Preferred Audience, the content is more likely to be seen in the News Feeds of people who have liked your Page and match the target audience, but it will also show up in the News Feeds of people who fall outside of the specific target audience. Basically, everyone can see the post, but people who are more likely to want to see it will be more likely to see it in their News Feeds.
Preferred Audience Targeting by Interests in Sprinklr
On the other hand, Audience Restrictions gates your content to the people who fit the parameters that you indicate. People who don’t qualify for the parameters that were set have no way of ever seeing the post. For example, a post meant for Spanish speakers in Spain will only be shown to Spanish speakers in Spain. If an image is customized for use in a specific region, you want users in that region to see that version and no other. It wouldn’t be a good experience if users visited a Facebook Page and saw seven different versions of the same asset.
Audience Restrictions by Demographics in Sprinklr
Previously, there was a lot of overlap between targeting and gating, making the process confusing. Now, with Facebook’s updated targeting options, you can only target by interest. Interest tags are also now non-restrictive; they help with the visibility of a post to the people already in your Page’s audience but don’t limit eligibility for a post to appear in a user’s News Feed. Language, location, age, and other demographic data have become gate-only properties. The process is now even more streamlined, which means marketers and publishers will have a much easier time getting their messages and stories to the people they want to reach.
How, you ask? Let’s look at a hypothetical situation.
Before this update, if a sports brand wanted to reach fans of a particular collegiate sports team, they could target their post based upon education level (like a bachelor’s degree). Obviously, this cast a fairly wide net. Just because someone has a bachelor’s degree doesn’t mean they’re loyal to that particular university’s sports team. Now, with updated interest targeting, the sports brand can target people with interests in specific universities with whom they have contracts or relationships, like the University of Texas. This degree of interest targeting is much more likely to lead to better engagement (i.e., increased likes or shares) because it’s more specific—the correct audience is seeing the post.
We all know that it can be challenging to make a splash with organic content in this era of paid-driven social. With Facebook’s updated interest targeting, brands can nurture relationships with consumers and their social community through high-value, relevant content, ultimately making their organic content go a lot further than previously possible.
About the Author: MaryBeth Murrell is a Product Evangelist at Sprinklr, based in Seattle, WA.