How Ads Can Be Targeted on Facebook

The following post was written by guest blogger David Neuman. Please read his bio after the post.

bullseye2Why You’re Being Targeted on Facebook

Regardless of how often you log into Facebook, chances are you’ve been “creeped out” by at least one post or advertisement that has been shown on your news feed. How did Travelocity know I was looking up hotels in San Francisco this morning? Why does keep showing me sales for products I regularly purchase? Many Facebook advertisers can answer these questions easily, but the majority of users are likely unaware about why they are being served a particular advertisement. To answer the question of “why am I seeing this ad”, it is important to understand the following: there are thousands of different ways a user can be targeted on Facebook and not all of them are based on your profile information. I bring up the fact that targeting isn’t just inclusive of your Facebook profile because this used to be the only way you could be targeted. However, over the past couple of years, Facebook has significantly revamped their advertising offerings by partnering with a bunch of different 3rd parties and expanding their own functionality. The next time you see a Facebook advertisement and aren’t sure why, it could be due to one of the below ad options.

Facebook Retargeting

Retargeting isn’t unique to Facebook. It exists practically everywhere on the web due to Google and other display companies offering it as an advertising option. Specific to Facebook, it’s based on your browsing behavior on an advertiser’s website. If you take the “desired action” on the company’s website, you might see a retargeting advertisement the next time you log into Facebook. A lot of e-commerce businesses will use this as an opportunity to try and get you to you purchase product. Say, for example, you add a product to’s shopping cart, but do not end up completing the transaction. might serve you an advertisement for an additional 10% off of that product the next time you log into Facebook to try and get you to complete your purchase. These ad units are not actually run on Facebook’s ad platform, but through 3rd party platforms that have a partnership with Facebook’s Exchange product.

Partner Categories

Facebook has partnered with Axiom, Datalogix, and Epsilon to allow advertisers to reach users through behavioral targeting methods. This is based on various data points including loyalty card data, transactional data, the U.S. Census, the DMV, and more. With Facebook’s behavioral targeting, you’re not reaching people based on what pages they “like”, but based on their actual purchasing / offline behavior. If you own a store in NYC selling vitamins and other health products, for example, originally you might promote to new customers on Facebook by targeting users who are in NYC who “like” pages related to health and wellness. With behavioral targeting, you can now target users who are in NYC that actually buy health and wellness products above the national average.

Custom Audiences

Custom audiences allow advertisers to upload a list of emails, phone numbers, or Facebook user IDs to Facebook. Facebook will then match up that data to people on Facebook to create a custom audience. If you have a list of 400,000 e-mails, for example, and upload it to the network; Facebook will create a custom audience list for you to target as long as those individuals are using the same e-mail address to access Facebook. If you are a frequent customer of a brand, you might see an advertisement for a new product on Facebook because that brand created a custom audience list of their most loyal customers. Custom audiences can also be created based on website traffic and Facebook app activity.

Look-A-Like Audiences

Look-A-Like audiences are a list of Facebook users who are similar to a Custom Audience that you have uploaded to Facebook. If you upload a list of your most loyal customers’ e-mail addresses to Facebook, for example, Look-A-Like audiences can generate a list of the top 1% of users who are similar to these customers based on their likes and interests.  If advertisers want to expand their reach, they can generate a list of the top 10% of users who are similar to these customers.


-Post by guest blogger David Neuman-

david-neumanDavid Neuman, Guest Blogger
David is the Director of Social Media Services at Prime Visibility. He has been with Prime Visibility for over 7 years and has over 9 years’ experience in Digital Marketing. He manages Social Media initiatives for the company where he creates and executes Social Media strategies for the agency’s clients. David was also the recipient of two LISTNet awards for developing an algorithm to measure the virality of Social Media campaigns and has appeared on CNBC and WSJ Live.

Insights from the 2015 MMA Forum New York

The following post was written by guest blogger Kathleen D. Rogers. Please read her bio after the post.

logoThe Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) held its Forum New York on March 17-18. The two-day conference brought together hundreds of marketers to discuss the latest innovations, opportunities and challenges of mobile marketing. After taking a week to review everything that was discussed at the Mobile Marketing Association’s Forum in New York, there are a couple of key takeaways, but there is also an overall message to marketers.

The message to marketers is that they should strive to understand consumer interaction with all screens holistically. This broader approach will enable marketers to encourage consumer behavior that will translate to sales and avoid micro-managing data. Marketers should be encouraged to evaluate their current mobile integration and how it can move towards a more seamless/enhanced experience for consumers.

SMOX – Best Practices for Mobile

The SMOX (Smart Mobile Cross Marketing) Effectiveness Research program is one of the largest studies focused on sharing data and insights on the ROI of mobile. The first five studies were held in partnership with AT&T, MasterCard, and Coca Cola. The goal was “to develop a new approach to scientifically assess the value of mobile in the mix using real in-market campaigns, an approach that did not exist prior.”

The findings show that marketers should invest in larger size ad units, audio, and mobile video. In addition, the study supports the use of customization opportunities that mobile offers like specific time and location ad serving. Testing of multiple ad units was shown to garner stronger results as well. Check out the full study here.

The Importance of apps

Several presenters at the Forum mentioned the Flurry Analytics Study from Yahoo! that tracked time spent on iOS and Android Connected Devices, 86% on Apps vs. 14% on Browsers. Ian Sefferman from TUNE in a breakout session spoke to the topic How Brands Succeed in the App Store. He gave suggestions on app development as well as how to track app performance.

Apps must give consumers an experience or serve a purpose. The best ways to gauge app performance is to look at how an app is ranking on Top Charts, access if the app is easily found in searches, and evaluate the reviews/ratings for the app.  Sefferman gave several examples of successful apps including: Starbucks, L’Oréal, Nike, and Quicken Loans.

YouTube Influencers, powerful brand advocates

Tom Beeby, Founder of Beeby, Clark+Meyler and Charlie King, Group Marketing Director, Schick Intuition shared their successful YouTube influencer campaign and how they choose their brand advocates. Beeby selected two YouTube Influencers by looking at their fan base on YouTube, as well as their personality, tone, manner and the way they connected with the brand. The two influencers, Brittani Louise Taylor and Weylie Hoang achieved meaningful sales lifts for Schick Intuition and higher levels of engagement versus banner ads.


-Post by guest blogger Kathleen D. Rogers-
P1040216Kathleen has ten years of marketing experience working on major brands in Tampa and New York.  She took a break to raise her kids and she’s currently looking for a marketing position in Tampa.  Check out her profile on Linkedin.