Facebook is up to their usual antics of quietly, gradually and continually rolling out new features. Two of the most recent and interesting updates are Facebook Page Post Targeting and Facebook Sponsored Results. Learn more about each of these new features below.
Facebook Page Post Targeting
At the end of last month, Facebook started rolling out a new feature that allows Pages to target their posts to specific fans based on broader demographic data. While previously you could only target location or language, the new targeting also includes the following parameters:
- Relationship status
- Interested in (gender)
This new feature will allow you to deliver specific messages to specific audiences, making that content more useful and, thus, more likely to receive engagement and be shared. In theory, this is a great option, however, I have two concerns:
- Facebook has historically inaccurate targeting, making this feature ineffective in the best case scenario, and offensive in the worst (imagine delivering a specific message to those “interested in men” when they really are interested in women; some people would be very upset by this).
- While the targeting may be accurate for news feeds, anyone can still view the content if they visit a Page’s timeline. Yet, since only 4% of fans revisit a page after Liking it, this doesn’t present a major problem.
Page Post Targeting has not yet fully rolled out, even a month after the first pages got access. Original reports said any page with more than 100 fans would have the feature, but we still have some clients that do not yet have access with plenty more fans than that.
Facebook Sponsored Results
More recently, Facebook released Sponsored Results, which allows brands to expand reach by paying to have their page or app appear near the top of search results (desktop search only and directing within Facebook only). Brands can write custom ad copy (70 character limit), yet the image and title will be pulled from the page or app. Sponsored Results can be purchased through Power Editor or the Facebook API, and pricing works the same as Marketplace ads.
The issue that I see with Sponsored Results is that targeting also works the same as Marketplace ads. Targeting is based on demographics and interests, not on search term or behavior. This could result in confusion by users, but mostly it will just result in low success rates since people are not searching Facebook like they search Google. On the other hand, since Marketplace ads can be run as CPC, I guest that just means inexpensive exposure.
For example, if I were searching Facebook to find a pizza joint (which isn’t really how people use Facebook search, but stick with me), ChefVille (show in screenshot below) is not relevant nor useful to me in any way. Yet, if I was someone that played games on Facebook, I might just have learned about a new one accidentally. So I can see some awareness value on a small scale.
Time will tell if these new features help to drive more and higher quality engagement on Facebook pages. We’ll be testing these features and will present initial findings. What are you thoughts on these two new features?