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Facebook: Please Give Us Precise Interest ANDing

The addition of one simple boolean operator to the ads platform is all that it would take for Facebook to instantly make advertising even more effective and open a new dimension of micro targeting possibilities. Currently, you have the ability to use AND/OR when targeting different category targets but not so for precise interests.

With all of the changes Facebook rolled out over the last year, the rapidly increasing number of hours spent on Facebook, and the continued growth of the social network it’s getting more difficult for marketers to get in front of exactly the right people.

The fact of the matter is that people “like” things they don’t actually like more and more every day. A fanpage might give away an iPad or a free account or a coupon in exchange for you “liking” their page. It’s quickly becoming common practice for Facebook users to like away in exchange for just about anything – increasing the number of interest in their profile and diluting targeting efficiency. This is a problem with ad targeting because your interest targets might be things that people liked or put on their profile for reasons other than actually liking it.


As of today there are 180,000,000 targetable users in the U.S. alone on Facebook and an average of 4.5 billion (with a b) likes per day. The precision and efficiency of existing ad targeting options is slowly declining.

There is hope though – with one small tweak to the way precise interest targeting works Facebook can fix this problem while simultaneously increasing ad relevancy to the end user and ad efficiency to the advertiser. It’s really a win-win-win. What is this magic tweak you speak of, Tom? Simple. Give advertisers the option to AND together interests instead of only allowing OR.

To put this into laymen’s terms, right now when you enter 2 different interests in the precise interest targeting field Facebook will allow you to target anyone who likes either interest: so for example cats OR dogs.


This serves little value from a micro-targeting perspective (and we all know that’s the key to ROI from any type of marketing) because each additional interest you enter increases the audience size and number of people the ad will potentially be shown to. In most cases, that’s the exact opposite of what you want to do – especially if you’re trying to nail down your customer personas.


Lets say I wanted to find people that really like animals – if precise interests ANDing was an option in the ad manager I could do something like this:


(this is a mockup and not actually available as of this post being written)

In this scenario I know that the 42,000 people in the audience are much more likely to be animal lovers than interested in just dogs or cats or horses.

See the difference? 


Stats source:

How to Use Human Curiosity to Pique Interest and Improve CTR

One of the biggest problems facing digital marketers is getting the attention of prospects through more traditional online marketing channels like display advertising and other forms of PPC. Banner blindness is a very real problem and is getting worse by the day, but there is hope!

To solve this problem you’re going to have to get creative and use different aspects of human nature to your advantage. One thing a lot of us don’t take into account is how curious most people are, if you put something puzzling or slightly off in front of a prospect they’re much more likely to both pay attention and respond to your marketing efforts.

Remember: you don’t have to explain everything about your product or service in your marketing – focus on improving CTR and let your landing page do the heavy lifting. Too many marketers try to cram their entire sales pitch into a tiny ad when listing the main benefit and your value proposition is all that’s necessary.

We’ve been testing some new retargeting strategies for CrazyEgg to bring back in lost customers that didn’t convert. One of the more promising retargeting channels we are currently testing heavily and seeing great ROI with is Facebook ads. If you aren’t familiar with Facebook ad optimization take note that the image in your ad is almost always going to have the largest impact (good or bad) on your CTR and overall ad effectiveness. We’ve tested a lot of images to see what really works best for driving clicks and bringing back in those lost prospects and the results have been interesting to say the least.

So what does all this have to do with human nature and curiosity? Well this ad is one of our top performers:


Most digital marketers would say that we should use a picture of a heatmap or showcase the software in some way to maximize performance. We tested all that and this ad image out performed almost every other variation in both clicks AND conversions. Remember that this is a retargeting campaign so the people seeing this ad have been to the CrazyEgg website and have seen the guy in the ad somewhere even if they can’t remember exactly where. If you look at your Facebook news feed you’ll notice that there aren’t many ads with strange images like this one so it really stands out among the rest and actually has a chance of being seen by lost prospects instead of just being looked over.

I wanted to take this a step further and see what we can really do to improve this campaign. I knew the fact the guy in the ad is “peaking” over the bottom would grab prospects attention and ultimately drive clicks, so how can I take this concept a step further?

Next we took the above image and tried adding different borders, colors, layovers and all kinds of different elements to the image to see if we could improve the CTR at all.

What we’re the results? The following ad saw a 300% increase in CTR and the only change to the image was the addition of the little scroll bar to the right hand side of the “CrazyEgg guy” in the image. The scroll wheel combined with “the guy” peaking above the bottom of the image proved to be something that drove curiosity and ultimately a much better CTR.


Not only did we see a 300% lift in CTR but our average CPC decreased from $0.86 to $0.66 for a 23% decrease in advertising fees. When your ad spend is in the thousands per week these kind of optimizations can make or break paid marketing efforts and give you some wiggle room for profitability.

The big takeaway here is to use human nature to your advantage – test lots of images and see what really captures your prospects attention. Once you find some images or ad copy that are working well test a new set of variables like we did in the above experiment to take your paid marketing to the next level.


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