Facebook ad interest targeting is a process in which ads run on the Facebook platform are geared towards users and their assumed ‘interests’. This is carried out in order to project an ad to the ideal target audience, but the burning question here is when you should use Facebook ad interest targeting to advertise a product or service:
N0.1: Facebook Ad Interest Targeting: When Should You Use It? -
Facebook ads interests is one of the available targeting options on the Facebook Ads Manager. However, if you’re just starting out with Facebook ads, you should know that many advertisers have this mis-conception that Facebook lookalike audiences will always outperform Facebook interests when it comes to targeting. This widely known mis-conception is largely due to the belief that Facebook’s algorithm is smarter than you are, but this is not actually true and here is why:
The business’ that place their faith in Facebook’s algorithm to do all of the thinking for their business’ Facebook ads will find themselves regretting this decision later when their ad fails. Targeting your competitors and their customers is a time-honored tradition in marketing, but in the realms of online advertising, getting your business ads in front of a competitors’ audience could use the assistance of Facebook ad interest targeting. So, let us explain a little more on the subject.
If you were to get your business’ ads if front of the competition’s audience, you could effectively build awareness and generate sales using the customers of your highest competitors. Therefore, your competitor's customers could quickly become your customers in the process. If you’re well informed about running ads online, you may know that search engines such as Google and Bing allow us to run ads which target our competitor’s audience by using product-related keywords.
However, Facebook is designed differently, so there are no keywords to work with here. The burning question is, what should you target? Logically the answer is to target the fans of your competitor’s Facebook page, but it is unfortunately not something which you will be allowed to do. Facebook’s platform foes not give you the option to directly target the fans of any specific page, however this doesn’t mean you can’t target a competitor if you know what to do. This is where the utilization of Facebook ads interests come into play. Queue the power of interest-based targeting:
N0.2: Facebook Ad Interest Targeting: How It Works? -
Facebook ad interest targeting works by using your competitor as the interest as opposed to targeting keywords like you would on search engines such as Google or Bing. All you will need to do is type in one of your competitor’s names, then Facebook will populate with an audience that has expressed an interest in or liked pages related to the competitor you are running up against.
It is very likely that part of what Facebook looks at is people who have directly liked the page of that competitor. However, this method is not as direct as targeting the fans of a page, but it’s the closest process which Facebook will allow. What does this type of targeting look like in the interface? Well, first, you will need to head to the settings menu at the ad set level. This is where you will be able to create Facebook ads based upon the interests which you are targeting. Here you’ll be given the option to play around with a number of keyword combinations that would represent your competitor the best. If Facebook has data, it will populate and present you with an estimate on the audience size. We’d suggest starting off with the website address and see where that gets you.
If a website address doesn’t show up, you’ll have to type in single keywords or phrases that would represent your competitor or their products. However, be careful that what you type doesn’t have multiple meanings that wouldn’t be related to another topic or easily mis-interpreted for another interest. You’ll have to be super specific and careful here if you want your ads to be successful.
If you’ve exhausted all options and a Facebook audience target isn’t being returned for the web address or keywords that you’ve entered, then it is likely that there isn’t much of an audience for that competitor on Facebook and you unfortunately will not be able to target it. This will be when it’s time to take a different route utilizing Facebook ads interests for your business campaign.
N0.3: Facebook Ads Interest Targeting: Competitor Customers -
Facebook categorizes an ‘interest’ as the pages which people have liked, the groups in which they are a part of and content related to the above in regards to whatever specific interest typed in. Targeting your competitor’s followers through an interest-based audience isn’t an exact formula.
So how can we see how close Facebook ad interest targeting is to the number of fans who have liked a competitor’s page? One way is to enter your competitor’s information into the audience tab, to see how many people are in that audience. Then head to their Facebook page and check out how many likes they have on that page. Then compare the total of the two with the audience size seen for related interests. These numbers will not be exactly the same, but remember, Facebook owns other platforms such as WhatsApp and Facebook Pixel which accounts for all of the data collected.
Targeting competitors isn’t quite as clear-cut in Facebook as it is in Google Ads and Microsoft Ads, but it can be a useful strategy to test out. Just remember to be very careful in what you type in as your target and monitor any performance to see whether using Facebook ads interests works for you. If you’re actively seeking a professional to assist your business with Facebook ad interest targeting, we’d love to hear from you. Drop us an email to get started!