Media Planning & Buying Social Media

Facebook Unveils Powerful Audience Insights Tool

May 15, 2014

Facebook has unveiled a new tool that will help marketers gain a deeper understanding of their customers. Called “Audience Insights,” the new offering provides a treasure trove of data around geography, demographics, purchase behavior and more.

Audience Insights differs from Page Insights in that the new tool includes information captured from beyond a brand’s Page. So, whereas Page Insights can only tell you about interactions with your page and post engagements (likes, comments and shares), Audience Insights paints a much fuller picture of your customers.

These new (anonymized) data buckets include:

  • Demographics: Age, gender, lifestyle, education, relationship status, job role and household size
  • Page Likes: Information regarding the top Pages people like across different categories (e.g. women’s apparel or sports)
  • Location & Language: Information around where people live and what languages they speak
  • Facebook Usage: How frequently is your target logging into Facebook and what device(s) are they are using when they log on?
  • Purchase Activity: Insights into past purchase behavior (e.g. frequent footwear buyer) and purchase methods (in store or online)

The significance of this update is that brands will be able to gain a deeper understanding of customers in their Facebook communities, Custom Audiences (assembled via paid social) and even the Facebook population at-large. Marketers can segment by age, gender and location. For example, you might use the tool to discover buying behaviors and specific geographic location of US males 18-24 who are interested in sports and fans of the Nike Facebook page.

Each insight is indexed to overall Facebook median metrics, giving marketers the opportunity to compare their fan bases and Custom Audiences to the overall Facebook population – as well as to external audiences, thanks to data from Facebook partners Acxiom and Datalogix.

This new data will allow brands to do some pretty powerful things, such as:

  • Discover the interests and behaviors of your current Facebook fan base; for example, are they also avid music festival fans or do they prefer professional sports?
  • Compare your fan base to the overall Facebook population to find areas for the most potential for growth.
  • Cite differences between your Custom Audiences across CRM data, a website Custom Audience, or a custom-built “cluster.” This allows brand to compare the interests and behaviors of those who are proven customers (CRM data) versus those who have shown active interest in the brand by visiting their website, which can help identify gaps or room for growth.
  • Create your own custom lookalikes and export those directly into a Custom Audience to use in your paid advertising on Facebook. As marketers are filtering the data within the tool, breakouts can be automatically segmented into a saved Custom Audience in Facebook’s Ad Manager.

In order to be eligible, marketers must have a minimum audience size of 1,000, whether that audience is a fan base, a custom audience, or a saved target group. Insights will only be shown for users 18 and older, and DMA & Zip Code segmentation is not yet available. Moreover, the initial roll-out is limited to the US, but Facebook is aiming to expand to two to three global markets by end of year.

The data gleaned from Facebook’s new Audience Insights tool will be incredibly beneficial for marketers, and could stand to impact multiple areas of their programs – from media planning to content creation, and even overall brand strategy. Currently, the tool is available to only 1 percent of marketers, but Facebook anticipates a full roll-out by end of June 2014.