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Using Facebook Partner Categories to Create Targeted Ad Campaigns

If there’s one thing you can count on in the magical world of social media advertising, it’s change. As soon as you’ve zeroed in on a platform, type of ad, and budget that’s working for you, you can bet that an algorithm is going to change, a platform will push updates, or the social media network of your choice will introduce fancy new options that make your head spin. Case in point- last week Facebook launched partner categories for Facebook ads, and this week Twitter introduced keyword targeting for promoted tweets (but that’s another blog post…coming soon).

The beauty of Facebook’s new ad option is that it offers marketers one more way to create more targeted marketing campaigns. How does it work? I’m glad you asked.

Using offline data from Acxiom, Epsilon, and Datalogix, Facebook has created 500 partner categories based on demographics and spending to segment its one billion+ users and allow more narrowly targeted advertising. As an example, let’s pretend your company is launching a new, exclusive military discount for veterans and military families during Military Appreciation Month in May. This discount is deeper than anything you’ve offered before, and you want to spread the news to the military community using Facebook ads. Let’s also say you’re using SheerID to verify that only eligible veterans, active duty military, and military dependents can redeem your discount, which means you’re not worried about your discount going viral. You can use your ad spend to reach your target audience, not broadcast the discount to people who aren’t eligible to use it and drive up your cost if you’re paying per impression.

So you log into the Facebook’s power editor to create your ads, create the content, and you use Datalogix demographics to target 3,123,300 families in the United States with veterans in the household.

If your goal is to create even more buzz and brand awareness around your military-friendly business, you can also add 7,012,200 Facebook users who donate to veteran’s causes to your audience using Epsilon’s Lifestyles and interests data.

If you want to zero in on specific segments of the military market or A/B test your ads to see if you get a better response from Facebook users affiliated with the Army vs. the Navy, you can use a combination of precise interests and partner categories to create smaller segments. Take a look at the estimated reach for an ad that is only targeted using precise interests compared to the same ad that is using precise interests and a partner category. This should give you an idea of the power and appeal of Facebook’s new partner categories if your goal is to reach targeted, niche markets with your compelling content and get a great ROI. We used hashtags, or topic targeting, instead of using single keywords, but you could use individual keywords instead if you prefer.

Now just for fun, let’s switch gears and use teachers as an example, instead of military, and take a look at what happens when you start using partner categories to advertise your own product or service directly to consumers. We’re going to pretend that SheerID sells yarn (because most consumers don’t seem to be very interested in buying verification platforms, for some reason). As you may know, May is also Teacher Appreciation Month, so for our purposes, we’re going to say you’re running an awesome, exclusive discount on yarn for teachers for the month of May. You used data from Acxiom’s Job Role menu to select the educator category and Epsilon’s data on demographics and occupation to add 222,800 teachers/educators. Now you’re going to use what you know about your own target audience to create an extremely specific segment of Facebook users. For starters, you know that most of your customers are women between the ages of 25-64, and they like knitting and crochet. See how that works?

Like any other ad campaign you run on Facebook, you’re going to need to do a bit of testing to find your sweet spot. It’s entirely possible that the segment of 15K teachers who knit or crochet that we just created might be a bit too targeted to get a good ROI, but this example shows you how powerful the partner category tool can be.

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