What I Fell in Love With: Audience Insights Tools

Love Audience Insights in Display & Social

Over recent years, the rise of social advertising has gotten advertising pros much more focused on audience targeting rather than just keyword research, and for good reason. We’re able to go beyond the search box and target users based on their personal attributes that make them a prime candidate for what we’re selling.

Even more recently, Facebook and AdWords have provided tools to allow advertisers a peek into our targeted audiences to see the layers below our high level targeting. I’ve fallen in love with this analysis and what it can mean for my advertising strategies in the short and long run. Before we get too far into how we can use these for our campaigns, let’s take a step back and get some ideas of what these audience insights tools actually are.

What Are Audience Insights?

Both Facebook Ads and Google AdWords give advertisers insights into their audiences, but each can give differing insights based on what is known about users for each platform.

Google AdWords

For Google, head to the Audiences portion of the interface. Once there, click on any of your audiences and you’ll be taken to a page that looks something like this:

Google AdWords - Audience Insights

Here is where you’ll find all your audience insights goodness. You can see a summary of the Top Insights, meaning those that your audience most identifies with across all categories. You can also drill down and see additional insights from each section: In-Market Audiences, Affinity Audiences, Demographics, Locations, and Devices.

A couple of things to note here:

  1. Not all audiences are going to have these insights. That could mean your audience is too small or there aren’t trends between the users on the list. Remember, users aren’t required to log into Google to use it like Facebook users are, so at times this information can be lacking.
  2. Depending on how you make your audiences, they could be self-fulfilling prophecies. E.G. — if the audience you’re looking at was targeted through AdWords and you’re only targeting desktops and no mobile, the devices section here is going to say your users heavily favor desktop. Always take into account the source of your audience.

Facebook Audience Insights

In the Facebook Business Manager interface, your audience insights are located separately from the audience list themselves in the Plan column of Business Manager.
Facebook - Audience Insights

This tool operates as a mix of the AdWords Display Planner and Audience Insights tools all in the same location. You can start building an audience from scratch, or you can start with one of your own custom audiences to gain insights. From there, the sky is the limit.

Facebook - Audience Insights Example

Similar to the Google interface, there are different tabs within the tool that show different insights based on categories. Given that users are required to log in to Facebook before using it, this tool tends to do better with smaller audiences, still giving some form of insight where Google potentially cannot.

What Types of Audiences to Run

Now that we know where the tools are and what they can do, it’s time to use them. But what is the right audience to use? The good news is there’s no right or wrong answer. It doesn’t hurt to give just about any audience you’ve created a shot at showing you what it’s made of. Here are just a few of the types of audiences I like to run through these tools to get ideas:

  1. Converting Users
  2. High ROI Users
  3. Low Avg Time on Site (under 5 seconds) and High Bounce Rate
  4. Organic vs Paid Users
  5. User lists based on product/service viewed/purchased

Just to name a few. Essentially any audience you think you could learn something from is worth running through these tools. Who knows what kinds of crazy goodness you’ll find in there.

How to Use these Insights

Now that you’ve found out these nuggets of goodness about your audience, what can you do with them? Again, the sky’s the limit. Here are some thoughts I’ve had, whether they’ve been tested or not:

  1. Image/Ad/Landing Page Messaging to Personas: Let’s say you find that a large portion of your audience enjoys gardening. You can segment your audience into two groups: those who do and those who don’t enjoy gardening based on Facebook and Google targeting options. For the non-gardeners, keep normal messaging. For the gardeners, maybe test ad and landing page imagery and copy that includes a gardening theme against your standard ad units. Do they perform better or worse?
  2. Leverage Learnings Across Networks: As I mentioned above, Facebook and Google give different insights into the audiences. Try finding an equivalent targeting option in Facebook based on an insight Google gave you. Does that audience perform better or worse than the others? And vice versa.
  3. Improve Your Net New Targeting: Typically, accounts have a mixture of ways you’re reaching new users. If you’re leveraging Lookalikes, you’re already utilizing the highest combination of the insights each tool has given you. But, if you’re looking to reach beyond the lookalike model, you can give yourself a leg up by layering in individual insights on top of whatever net new targets you’re aiming for. This way, you can still target an audience you find value in, but potentially hedging your bets by leveraging at least a portion of the insights you have from previous experience.

Obviously, this isn’t a complete list of how audience insights can improve your campaign performance. My guess is there’s no end to the madness to be had on this one.

Have you used audience insights to impact your PPC campaigns for the better? How were you able to do so? Share your strategies with us in the comments section!

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