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6 Out of the Box Ways to Mine Precise Interests for Facebook Ad Targeting


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Sometimes finding the right ad targets on Facebook can be tricky. Half the time the fanpage you want to target isn’t available as a precise interest or the audience is so small the campaign will never scale.

I’ve tested all kinds of precise interests on Facebook…seriously just about anything you can imagine. I used to spend hours and hours researching and brainstorming new precise interests to target. I was probably spending more time looking for solid ad targets than I was managing or setting up the ad campaigns…

From all of my trial & error with Facebook ads I’ve found a few ways to mine precise interests for ad targeting that I come back to time and time again. These are the quickest ways I’ve found to find new ad targets for Facebook that will both convert well and scale at the same time.

Lateral Competitors

Before you do any type of ad campaigns you need to have a good pulse on your competition. There are two types of competitors: literal and lateral. Lateral competitors are businesses that compete in the same space or industry, but sell a different product or service. What that means is that you share a demographic with the competitor, but you’re not competing with them directly for the same business.

Lets say for example you’re trying to sell an analytics tool like KISSMetrics. A few lateral competitors you can try targeting might be UserTesting.com, WhatRunsWhere, Qualaroo, and Hubspot. Same demographic, different offering.

Lateral competitors are one of my favorite types of ad targets to use because you know the demographic lines up so they’re usually a homerun.  I recommend creating a spreadsheet to track both literal and lateral competitors – they’ll come in handy not only on Facebook but other ad platforms like Adwords as well for things like Funbox targeting.

Literal Competitors

Literal competitors are directly competing with you for the same business. Going back to the KISSMetrics example, some literal competitors would be Google Analytics, MixPanel, GetClicky, and WebTrends. This is where it gets a little cut throat…

Here’s what you do…

Target your literal competitors and give their fans a reason to join forces with you. What advantage do you have over the competitor? Are you more affordable? More feature rich? Easier to use? Do you have better customer service? Make sure in your creative you highlight these advantages and you’ll be blown away by the results.

There’s virtually no such thing as brand loyalty on the Internet – if you can offer a better solution, you win.

Google related: search

When I start running out of ideas I turn to Google related searches. Start with running a related search for your website then branch out to the lateral and literal competitors you put together.

Going back to the KISSMetrics example again running a search for “related:http://kissmetrics.com” (without quotes) gives me some great ideas for different websites/businesses I can target.

Try this for all of your literal/lateral competitors and any other websites your demographic might frequent like forums, blogs, and social networks.

how-to-find-facebook-precise-interests-google-related-search

Facebook Graph Search

Facebook graph search is such an amazing tool, especially for finding Facebook ad targets. I like to compare it to the Google Keyword Tool in terms of how useful it is for research. If you haven’t had a chance to experiment with Graph Search yet check out my Facebook Graph Search Cheat Sheet here and get your hands dirty. The utility of Graph Search is practically endless but you’ll find it extremely useful for finding fresh ad targets.

Amazon Search

Remember that precise interest targeting isn’t limited to just fanpages and businesses, you can target virtually anything people add as an interest to their profile. For that reason, I love using Amazon to find books that my target demographic might read. This usually works extremely well because if someone has both:

a.) read a book about a topic and
b.) liked it enough to add it to their profile

they’re probably a good candidate for whatever you’re trying to sell.

Head over to Amazon.com and search for the niche/industry/vertical you’re creating ads for. Lets say I’m trying to advertise a sales CRM like SalesForce on Facebook. I would go to Amazon, search ‘sales’ and filter my campaign by ‘Books’ then sort by ‘most reviewed.’ Why most reviewed? Well, there’s usually a direct correlation between the popularity of a book on Amazon (number of reviews)
and how many people are in the audience on Facebook when entered as a precise interest.

how-to-find-facebook-precise-interests-amazon

Add all of the top books to your precise interest list and search for more related topics/keywords.

Google Top 10 Lists

To round off this post I’m going to give you another one of my favorite Google tricks for mining ad targets: top lists.

Head over to google and search “[keyword] top 10 list” or “top 10 [keyword]” replacing [keyword] with a topic related to your niche.

how-to-find-facebook-precise-interests-google-top-lists

If you’re creative you can squeeze a ton of precise interests out of this one method alone. Try searching all kinds of combinations like:

  • Top 10 [keyword] blogs
  • Top 10 [keyword] books
  • Top 10 [keyword] tools

Those are 6 of my favorite ways to mine precise interests for Facebook ad campaigns. What are yours?

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