Facebook Eyes Small Business Dollars

With new targeting features, Facebook takes a shot at LinkedIn's audience, and converting its small business users into paying advertisers

Written by Alicia Androich for Marketing

While the industry remains abuzz over Facebook’s $19-billion move to purchase messaging app WhatsApp, the company revealed Thursday it will be rolling out new demographic, location, interest and behavioural targeting options advertisers.

The company announced the changed “Core Audiences” targeting€“available to advertisers through the self-serve and Power Editor tools€“on its Facebook for Business page.

Facebook provided a snapshot of how the targeting features, which are embedded in all of Facebook’s ad buying interfaces, can potentially be used by advertisers. For demographic targeting, for instance, Core Audiences will now give more values for relationship status, such as domestic partnerships and civil unions, and also milestones like engagements or marriages. How does this help marketers? If you’ve got a flower shop and want to grow sales, Facebook now offers access to people who’ve recently expressed their love for their sweetie on the social platform. Marketers can also now target people based on when they got married or engaged, whether it be in the last three or six months, or the past year.

Read: How the Google Maps App Helps Businesses Target Customers in Real Time

It will also now be possible to advertise to people based on their job title and workplace, and learn more about their schooling. For example, a recruiter at a media agency will now be able to advertise to media planners in Toronto specifically.

This moves Facebook into LinkedIn territory as its new option will likely appeal to recruiters that previously leaned heavily on the latter to find and target potential job candidates. In an article in Ad Age about the new job title targeting, Bizo CEO Russell Glass called the new functionality “a shot across LinkedIn’s bow.”

Glass (who steers the only B2B-focused partner in Facebook’s FBX ad exchange) remarks that these new targeting options show the company “is confident that it has collected enough job titles to make the service worthwhile to advertisers.” Still, he’s uncertain about whether it has a comprehensive data set yet, given that not everyone adds their job title to their Facebook profile.

For location targeting, advertisers can now build campaigns around several combinations of geographies, including country and state or country and city. According to Facebook, this would help retailers that want to show ads to people that live near their brick-and-mortar stores. Certain areas (such as cities within countries or postal codes within cities) can also be excluded.

Read: Is Facebook Still Worth Your Time?

When it comes to changes in interest-based targeting, Facebook has simplified its offering. Rather than being able to choose several broad categories and keywords at once for a given campaign, advertisers will now just pick one segment. For example, by choosing “soccer,” Facebook says users get access to all the people on Facebook that have liked or shown interest in topics around that sport.

Another new targeting option allows marketers to target campaigns to Facebook users based on what they buy and the devices they use.

These changes will likely help Facebook convert its small and medium-sized business users into paying advertisers.

What do you think? Would you reconsider advertising on Facebook now that it has introduced these new features? Leave your comments below

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