How to Use Facebook Audience Insights

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Just because emerging platforms are coming onto the scene doesn’t mean you should count Facebook out of your social media strategy. With 2.96 billion active users, Facebook is still the third most visited website in the world and boasts a long-time reign as the most used social media platform.

By digging into Facebook audience insights and analytics tools, you are empowered to effectively reach your ideal audience and filter through the billions of active users on the app. With these powerful insights, you can validate assumptions about your audience, start creating more targeted a/b testing, refine your current audience profiles and aggregate audience data across profiles.

Keep reading for an overview of how to use Facebook’s audience insights tool and actionable steps you can take to maximize your paid and organic strategy.

Why is understanding your Facebook audience important?

Defining your target audience and learning how they use Facebook will enable you to:

  • Spend your ad budget more effectively.
  • Determine if the platform should be a high priority for your brand.
  • Develop messaging that truly resonates with your audience.
  • Optimize your posting strategy.

To understand your audience’s relationship with Facebook, start by researching the latest platform demographic data. Learn who uses Facebook, how often they use it, what they use it for and if users fit within your target audience.

For example, according to Statista, 23.7% of Facebook users are between the ages of 25 and 34, and the majority of them are younger than 44. The app skews male, with 57% of users identifying as such. Statista also discovered that 97.4% of Facebook users access the platform from a mobile device.

A data visualization of Facebook demographic data. The graphic reads 23.7% of users are between 25–34 years old, 57% of users identify as male and 97.4% of users access Facebook from a mobile device.

Tapping into the Facebook audience insights tool takes it a step further by showing your current audience and zeroing in on your target consumers. With this data on-hand, your decisions will be more informed and customer-centric, translating to more impactful campaigns, advertising efforts and creator partnerships.

To get a head start engaging your audience, complete this free worksheet that will set you up to build authentic connections with your community.

Where to find Facebook audience insights

On Facebook, there are two ways to discover audience insights from your business profile. First, you can see organic audience data including:

  • People who like your page broken down by gender and location
  • Number of total followers
  • Reach and engagement metrics

You can access this data from the Professional dashboard of your Meta Business Suite.

A screenshot of the professional dashboard within Meta Business Suite. The data displayed breaks down audience by age, gender and location.

Second, when you run an ad campaign, you can access all the data from your organic view and additional in-depth audience info like:

  • Age
  • Content preferences (top-performing posts and videos)
  • Device usage

Find these metrics in your Meta Ads Manager Ads Reporting and Audience tabs.

You can also explore how your Facebook ad campaign performed with your different audience types, which we will explain in the next section.

What are the different types of Facebook audience types?

When you run a Facebook ad campaign, you have four audience targeting options to ensure you reach your ideal audience.

A screenshot of the different audience types available when running a targeted campaign. The page is prompting you to create the one that best aligns with your business needs. The audience types are custom audiences, lookalike audiences and saved audiences.

1. New audiences

New audiences is the default setting option, and refers to new customers who haven’t previously interacted with your brand. You can refine this audience by selecting categories like location, demographics, interests and behaviors.

2. Custom audiences

Custom audiences enable you to connect with people who already show an interest in your business. They might have engaged with your content, visited your site, used your app, completed a recent purchase, or they might be on your customer list.

3. Lookalike audiences

Lookalike audiences are made up of people who share interests with your custom audiences, but haven’t interacted with your business yet. Typically, lookalike audiences are generated using your custom audiences as a source.

These audiences save you time because, rather than starting from scratch to create a new audience, you can rinse and repeat the success of your most successful content and campaigns.

4. Saved audiences

Whenever you create a new custom audience, you can save that audience for future use. Note: you must reselect your ideal location every time you use the audience.

How to use Facebook audience insights

To get started with the Facebook audience insights tool, follow these steps.

A graphic that reads: How to create a custom Facebook audience. 1. Upload a custom audience source. 2. Customize your audience with filters. 3. Zone-in on interest-based audiences. 4. Review your audience metrics. 5. Save and replicate your best-performing audiences.

1. Upload a custom audience source

Get started by selecting Create a Custom Audience from the Audiences tab of your Ads Manager. From there, choose a custom audience source, including your owned sources like data from your website, app activity, a CRM customer list and more.

You can also use Meta sources, like video engagement, your Instagram account followers, lead forms, event participants and Shopping users.

A screenshot of a screen in the Meta Business Suite prompting you to select a custom audience source from a list including website, customer list, lead form, events and more.

2. Customize your audience with filters

After selecting your source, indicate additional rule inclusions or exclusions to better refine your audience. The Facebook audience meter will let you know whether your audience is too specific or too broad. Continue iterating until your reach is just right (the ideal audience size is between 2–10 million people). Further customize your audience by age, location, language and gender.

A screen with information about your custom audience, including the source (this example is event). On this screen, you can input the number of days you want to retain the audience, other inclusions and exclusions, an audience name and an audience description.

3. Zone-in on interest-based audiences

If you have a relatively large audience (at least larger than 2 million), use additional interest-based targeting to pinpoint a specific audience. Examples of shared audience interests include:

  • Business and industry
  • Entertainment
  • Family and relationships
  • Fitness and wellness
  • Food and drink
  • Hobbies and activities

Then, add the name and description of your audience list and how long you will retain it. Now you’re ready to tap Create New List.

4. Review your audience metrics

After launching your ad campaign, review how your audience list is performing. Are you reaching your campaign goals? If not, make the necessary adjustments to your list. Experiment with narrowing or broadening your audience and redefining your inclusions and exclusions.

5. Save and replicate your best-performing audiences

If your audience performs well, save it for future use. To reach and engage new consumers with similar demographics and behavior patterns, create a lookalike audience.

By tapping the Create a Lookalike Audience button from the Audiences tab, you will be prompted to select an existing audience or data source, select the audience location and size and determine how similar your audience should be to the original (1% lookalike means the audience is as similar to the original as possible). Once you create this audience, you can rerun your ad campaign or continue tailoring the list.

A screen prompting you to create your lookalike audience by selecting the source, location and size of your audience, and choosing how consistent it is with your custom audience.

How Sprout Social helps define your Facebook audience

With a platform like Sprout Social, you will master your Facebook strategy by clearly defining your target audience and amplifying the impact of your audience insights.

Our tools will better equip you to leverage Facebook’s native tools, enhance your data-driven decisions and create content that resonates with ideal customers. By doing so, you will increase your audience size and engagements, which are key to increasing demand for your products. Here are a few platform highlights that give you deeper understanding of your target audience.

Social listening

With Sprout’s Social Listening solution, artificial intelligence (AI) and automation technology do the heavy lifting for you at scale—sifting through millions of data points to deliver the trends, insights and key audience learnings you need in seconds.

As the Profile Overview demonstrates, the tools enables you to compare followers, volume, potential impressions, likes and engagements from various Facebook profiles to help you level-set your strategy and prove your impact.

A screenshot of Sprout's Profile Overview tool which compares the performance of multiple Facebook accounts run by the same brand or agency. The overview compares followers, volume, impressions, likes and engagements.

Using the Performance Summary tool, you can investigate topics that are most relevant to your audience. Uncover which keywords are driving conversations and use them to refine your interest-based filters when creating Facebook custom audiences.

A screenshot of Sprout's Performance Summary tool which demonstrates key metrics (like volume, engagements and impressions) related to a Topic.

Network-specific and aggregate metrics

Sprout’s Analytics tools speed up data collection and distribution so your brand can focus on the KPIs that matter, inform strategy and prove ROI. The tools enable you to maintain complete oversight of all connected social profiles from one location.

Use reports like the Facebook Pages report to dig into audience growth trends, impressions, engagements and post link clicks. Compare these findings with other network results to determine overall audience trends.

A screenshot of Sprout's Facebook Pages report that demonstrates impressions, engagements, post link clicks and audience growth for a specific Facebook page.

Paid reporting

To test the efficacy of your Facebook ad audiences, use Sprout’s Paid Performance reports. The Facebook and Instagram report highlights campaign-level data for ad campaigns across Meta platforms. Trends appear against your key performance indicators (KPIs) to help you identify top-performing channels and campaigns.

A screenshot of Sprout's Paid Facebook and Instagram Performance tool which demonstrates key metrics like total spend, impressions, CPM, clicks, CPC and paid impressions by day.

Maximize Facebook audience insights to up-level your strategy

Making the most of your Facebook strategy starts with having the intel you need to target your ideal audience. By using the native Facebook audience insights tools and a powerful social media management platform like Sprout Social, you will be enabled to refine and grow your audience, which will grow your bottom line.

Ready to gain deeper insights into your Facebook target audience? Start your free 30-day Sprout Social trial today.

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