How Brands Can Maximize Facebook's New "Preferred Audiences"

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By Charlie Balk

Over the past 4 years, Facebook's News Feed has become an increasingly crowded space. This has resulted in a gradual decrease of organic reach, from about 16 percent of one's audience in 2012 to now around two percent.

To combat this, marketers have a number of tools at their disposal. The top three approaches Likeable takes to ensure the right content reaches the right audience at the right time are:

  1. Curating network and community insights to inform content creation decisions;
  2. Creating engaging and dynamic content that exceeds industry average results;
  3. Connecting that content through paid and organic with optimal placement and strategy.

Last week, Facebook quietly added a new weapon to brand marketers' arsenal that will serve to benefit organic results. 

Over time, as Facebook has developed its algorithm for choosing which fans see content, it has maintained that these changes ultimately serve to benefit users. Rather than blasting content to all fans, Facebook finds people who are actually interested in viewing it. This means that while organic reach has dropped dramatically, engagement and click-through rates have seemingly increased.

Unfortunately, as a result of this, marketers have been left at the mercy of a nebulous algorithm that could, in theory, be flawed. Facebook's newest update called Preferred Audiences allows marketers to have more of a say. To some, this might signal Facebook's acknowledgement that its algorithm has flaws and could occasionally use some help from the human touch.

Using Preferred Audiences, brand pages have the ability to suggest interest groups that might be interested in their organic content. And Facebook, THANKFULLY, is clear to state that "Interest tags do not limit reach." This new tool is a no-lose proposition for community managers who think a specific subset of their audience might be especially interested in a content piece.


As if that's not awesome enough, Facebook also added a tool called Audience Insights (not to be confused with its other tool by the same name the one you can access through Ads Manager). This new tool, pictured above, allows brands to measure how each of their selected audiences respond to certain content.

This level of targeting insight has never before been seen  not even within the incredible capabilities of Facebook's advertising platform. One useful application of this would be using organic fan-audience as a testing ground to figure out which audiences to use for paid targeting.

In all, these additions should come as great news to social marketers especially those with large, diverse followings who are investing heavily into organic content and building a large, highly-engaged community.

I recommend using both tools immediately!