How brands can best use Facebook to reach their target audiences.
With 2.9 billion monthly active users, Facebook is still the most widely used social media platform worldwide. For brands whose target audience is over 30, Facebook is still an extremely relevant platform to reach and engage customers. Let’s take a look at Facebook marketing, demographics, advertising, best practices and insights about how brands can best use Facebook to reach their target audiences.
Around 1.91 billion people access Facebook every day through the main Facebook app, Facebook Messenger or the Facebook website. According to an October 2022 report from Statista, Facebook users between 25 to 34 years of age make up the social network’s largest audience (23.6%) in the United States, with an equal gender split. Although Facebook initially attracted younger users, today Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok have become the new hangouts for teenagers. In order to retain a hold on other age groups, Facebook acquired Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, WhatsApp in 2014 for $16 billion and Oculus for $2 billion in 2014.
Global Facebook Users
|Age Bracket||Percentage of Users|
Lane Gregory, CEO and founder of CrowdShare, a social media branding platform provider, told CMSWire that although it’s no secret that Facebook’s user base is a little older, this crowd is also a demographic with the most disposable income. “Facebook and Instagram users typically purchase higher ticket items like homes, cars and vacations, while users of TikTok and Snapchat are more interested in lifestyle brands. Facebook is the top dog in the market,” said Gregory. “However, brands need to focus on building fandom online. They need to focus on building digital street teams through their employees, friends, family, customers and even small market influencers so they can have an effective digital presence.”
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Facebook Audience Insights
Brands that already have a Facebook business page are able to gain demographic insights about their audience using Facebook’s Audience Insights tool. It provides details about two groups of people: people connected to the brand’s Page and people on Facebook. These insights enable brands to create content that resonates and allows them to find more people similar to those in their current audience.
Brands are able to filter their audience based on the following:
- Age and Gender
- Page Connections
- Demographics and Behaviors
By using the filters, a business could find people who are female, between the ages of 25 and 35, single, college educated, in IT and Technical services, and who have “liked” Shopify. This enables brands to locate and market to a very narrow niche audience.
Silvana Massolo, CEO and strategy director at The Bloom Agency, a social media marketing agency, told CMSWire that Facebook offers incredible targeting options and allows brands to run campaigns at one of the lowest costs per click and cost per thousand impressions. “Facebook will automatically show your ads to people who are most likely to find your ads relevant,” said Massolo. “You can further target your ad delivery with three audience selection tools: core audiences, custom audiences and lookalike audiences.”
Massolo explained that core audiences define an audience based on age, interests, geography, etc., custom audiences get back in touch with people who have engaged with your business and lookalike audiences reach new people whose interests are similar to those of your best customers. Along with paid media, Massolo suggested that ecommerce brands create and grow a Facebook group where their audience can find common interests to stay entertained and engaged, and that brands should emphasize how they add value to their customers’ lives as opposed to just shilling products.
“Know your target audience, be honest with yourself, set realistic goals, and invest in a professional shoot of your products,” said Massolo. “Remember that people are visual creatures; photos or videos will be the selling point and make sure you put your best foot forward to have a healthy ROI on your Facebook media investments.”
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Facebook provides brands with many different types of ad formats, so businesses are able to select the type of ad that is the most appropriate for their goals.
- Image ads – Image ads display an image, some accompanying text and a call to action.
- Video ads – Video ads are similar to image ads, but they display video or motion graphics.
- Instant Experience ads – Instant Experiences are full-screen, multimedia ads that provide rich content experiences to audiences. They can include images, videos, carousels, links to tagged products and more.
- Poll ads – Poll ads enable brands to survey their targeted audience using a question with two answers to choose from. Facebook poll ads can use images or videos.
- Carousel ads – Carousel ads include up to 10 images or videos users can click through. Each image or video can include a unique link.
- Slideshow ads – Slideshow ads compile a brand’s image ads into a slideshow video format.
- Collection ads – Collection ads are designed to turn Facebook browsers into online buyers, and include a featured image or video, along with three smaller images underneath.
- Lead ads – Lead ads enable potential customers to fill out and submit a form.
- Dynamic ads – Dynamic ads connect a brand’s online product catalog with its Facebook Events Manager and Facebook pixel. When a user visits the brand’s website and then logs into Facebook, an ad is displayed that features the same products they were looking at on the brand’s site.
- Messenger ads – Messenger ads are displayed in the users’ chat tab and in between Messenger Stories.
- Stories ads – Stories ads are displayed when users are viewing Stories.
- Augmented reality ads – Augmented reality ads feature immersive ad experiences for mobile users. When a user sees and taps a brand’s ad in their feed, they are presented with interactive hotspots and details on how they can engage with the ad, which then begins an augmented reality (AR) experience.
Ian McCue, co-founder, CEO at Preflect, an AI-powered AdTech platform provider, told CMSWire that there are three things that brands need to know about Facebook marketing:
Organic discovery is limited. Meta wants businesses to prioritize paid ads, so don’t expect to go viral like you can on TikTok.
Focus on sharing. People frequently tag their friends on posts/ads, or send posts to their friends. Use your followers to earn more followers!
Use paid promotion to build your audience. Once someone follows your brand, you’ll get perpetual organic reach. Paid ads are still a great way to build your following.
The Challenges of Facebook Marketing
As with marketing on any social medium, Facebook is unique and comes with its own set of challenges. McCue said that as a business, the challenges he’s faced with Facebook Ads include:
Attribution. “We’ve found it incredibly difficult to accurately attribute conversions to ads, and to know which ad earned which conversion since Apple’s iOS 14.5 updates. In Meta Ads Manager, conversion data quality is poor, especially for low-volume conversion events. Even worse, Meta’s Aggregated Event Measurement lags up to 72 hours, forcing us to make uninformed decisions while we wait for data.”
Overhead costs. “Managing ads on Meta can be a full-time job. Good advertising agencies come with expensive retainers, presenting a high-cost hurdle to overcome every month.”
Conversion optimization. “It’s difficult to optimize the onsite experience for conversions. While Meta enables us to test multiple ad texts, they don’t let us natively test multiple landing pages, forcing us to use third-party tools.”
McCue said that he’s been able to solve those challenges by using external (non-Meta) tracking technology to obtain high-resolution data in real-time, which assists him in making informed decisions. Additionally, he uses external landing page routing to test multiple landing pages and send shoppers to the highest-converting page.
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Final Thoughts on Reaching Facebook Audiences
Facebook offers brands multiple ways to reach and engage with a huge audience, and also provides fine-tuning options that allow brands to market to very narrow, vertical audience segments.
By using the most appropriate ads for their goals, as well as creating compelling and engaging content, brands are able to retain loyal customers and gain new ones in the process.