Hacking Facebook’s Ad Platform for Fan Insights

By Tim Bosch Facebook Insights is truly impressive when compared to every other native analytic platform in social media. This tool provides an immense amount of data regarding reach, engagement, page growth and of course, a healthy dose of demographic and geographic data about your current fans. All of this is great, but I always want more, and I set out to find a way to tap into Facebook’s wealth of psychographic & life-stage data on my current fans. I never thought it would be so easy!

Anyone who has used Facebook ads knows that you can target well beyond demographics. Whether you’re looking for gamers, zombie lovers, herbal tea drinkers, history buffs, or people who like Cricket, Facebook can put your ad in front of whoever you’re seeking.

Now let’s hack this platform to do something it wasn't designed for—deep insights into your current fans and their friends.

Here’s an example:

Brand X has 200K Facebook fans. They are thinking of developing an iPhone app that would appeal to environmental minded people in their 20's. Wouldn't it be nice to know what percentage of our current fan-base fits that mold? Facebook insights only tells us how many people are in their 20's and some very weak mobile data, but the ad platform sings! The first step to this method is to target only people connected to your Facebook page.

Now lets chop up our community until we have our target market. After entering in age data we see that 75K Fans are around the right age for this app. Not bad…







Now add in the environmental interest and we see that this segment still looks promising with over 50% of our age group being environmentally friendly.





It seems like we have a viable audience on Facebook. But how many of these young environmentalist fans own an iPhone?  Anyone who accesses Facebook with their iPhone will be in the precise interest group called “Facebook for iPhone”.






Looks like less than ¼ of our target uses an iPhone. Let's see how many use an Android:






Android users nearly double iPhone users! This 5 minute process could have influenced Brand X’s product development strategy, or at least been a good data-point to discuss. Using this tool can impact any part of your marketing strategy— from product placement to event planning. It can even drive content!

For example, if you found out that 85% of your fans like “Game of Thrones” (my favorite show of all time), think about how likeable you would be if you post something like, “Thumbs up if you’re as excited as we are over here at [brand x] for the season premiere of Game of Thrones”.  Hitting your fans passion points is critical to stay relevant on Facebook. Besides, I know I would rather buy  a widget from a fellow fan of GOT (someone I can relate to), than a brand with nothing in common with me.

You should be digging up your fans interests and delivering content Facebook deems they “like”.  Just make sure you’re authentic and it’s something your fans care about.

Have you ever tried using the Facebook ad platform to dig into your fans interest graph? Let me know in the comments!