Facebook Enhances Analytics to Enable Smarter Ad Targeting for Marketers

Corey Wainwright
Corey Wainwright



facebook ad analyticsintermediate

Seems like the team over at Facebook has been eating their Wheaties. Now that Timeline for brand pages and Premium Advertising is all rolled out, they've stepped up their game yet again with some brand new -- extremely robust -- analytics that I'm sure they hope will encourage marketers and business owners to spend more (and better targeted) dollars on their ad platform.

Facebook hasn't made the official announcement yet, but luckily our friends at TechCrunch were able to get an inside scoop. Let's take a look at the changes Facebook has rolled out so you can determine if the improvements will make starting -- or increasing -- your Facebook ad spend worth your while. Honestly? I think these changes just might do the trick!

What's New in Facebook Ads Manager

In the past, Facebook's Ads API only allowed marketers to target their ads to users based on pretty basic things -- like clicks, likes, or checkins. With this newest change, however, advertisers using Facebook's API can target ads only to those people most likely to take a certain post-click action -- in other words, a conversion event that actually means something for marketers.

For example, you might be most interested in serving ads to users who share your content on their news feed, or those who redeem one of your Facebook Offers. Instead of guessing who is most likely to take this action with a mix of pseudo-demographic targeting and hocus pocus, Facebook will help you identify those people based on conversion data 1, 7, or 28 days after their clicks. So if an ad you served 7 days ago resulted in high-ROI activity for you, like an app install, you can attribute that back to the proper advertisement.

Here's a preview of the new interface, courtesy of TechCrunch:

facebook ad screenshot

So, what downstream conversion events can you now optimize for? Here's the full list:

  • People talking about this
  • Page likes
  • Page post likes
  • Page post comments
  • Page post shares
  • @ mentions
  • Checkins
  • Photo tags
  • Facebook Offers shared
  • Facebook Offers claimed
  • App installs
  • App used
  • App credit spend events
  • App credit spend amount
  • Number of RSVPs

What if I'm Not Using the Facebook Ads API?

Right now, this is only available to those using the Facebook Ads API. But Facebook is testing it in the self-serve interface, too, so it's possible this functionality will appear there in the future. So sit tight for now, and take comfort in knowing that these tests will only help decrease the likelihood that self-serve advertisers waste their dollars on downstream conversion ad targeting.

Even if you are already using the Facebook Ads API, this change may not be available to you quite yet. AdWeek reports that these changes will be rolling out over the next several weeks, not all in one fell swoop.

Why This Development Is Great for Facebook Advertisers

Just like traffic to your website isn't inherently valuable, Facebook likes and clicks alone aren't, either. What's important is downstream conversions that result in new leads, new customers, and new revenue. These new analytics make it easier for marketers to target their Facebook ad spend on those users who are most likely to take any of those specific actions listed above that matter most to their business -- if any of those do matter to their business.

So, do you know what Facebook actions are important for your business? If so, this type of ad targeting could really streamline your ad spend while improving your conversion rates. What are the goals of your social media marketing? If you're trying to get more visibility for your lead generation content, for example, you could leverage this update to get your most popular content in front of your most active users, increasing the likelihood your content appears in users' news feeds (remember, Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm gives more visibility to content with high engagement).

Or perhaps you have extra inventory of an item that needs to get sold stat -- get a quick traffic boost by targeting an ad with a coupon to those that perform mobile checkins at your stores. They're the most likely to drive foot traffic your way and can help take some of that inventory off your hands!

Facebook Insights Product Manager David Baser hit the nail on the head with one comment on the update, saying, "We're trying to figure out who is most likely to take that action. It will take some time and data to learn and get really good." That means it will take you time (and money) to run Facebook ads and collect sufficient data on people. But eventually, Facebook will get better and better at identifying and alerting you to which fans are most likely to perform the downstream conversion events you care about -- in-app purchases, sharing, what have you -- based on their online behaviors.

Will you spend more on Facebook advertising considering these improvements to their analytics?


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