The target provides new insights into the benefits of a general and narrow approach to ad targeting

This is a somewhat handy finding from the Meta study, given recent limitations in collecting audience data as a result of Apple’s ATT update.

Today, Meta released a new report that looks at the impact of broad, demographic targeting for CPG ad campaigns, relative to interest targeting strategies, which are more sophisticated to specific aspects of the audience, but are also inherently more restrictive as a result.

Which one works better comes down to how interest targeting is applied, and according to Meta, ‘exceeding’ your audience through interest targeting can significantly jeopardize campaign performance.

Which, given that you now have fewer data options for such, seems like a good result for Meta’s ad options, right?

The actual analysis is a little more nuanced than this – to assess the effectiveness of broad and narrow ad targeting, Meta analyzed 50 CPG campaigns in EMEA, measured by Facebook Brand Lift, which provides a measure of the relative impact of an ad.

As Meta explains:

The analysis showed that in approximately half of the campaigns, the selected audience was too narrow and therefore significantly limited in relation to the demographic audience. In this case (when the selected audience was too narrow), the demographic audience achieved almost twice the reach (+ 99%) compared to the audience with an interest in an equal budget. ”

So, demographic targeting – which is not affected by ATT – is better. That’s a big thumb for Meta’s business interests.

If we dig a little deeper, the results are actually quite logical – when interest-based targeting is used, as opposed to wider reach through demographics, the results have to be significantly better to justify more limited reach (i.e. you reach fewer people, but if you spend more overall, then the benefits of reduced brand awareness are offset by a stronger direct response).

Meta’s data show that this is generally not the case:

So while focusing on a more specific audience can yield better results, from person to person, a wider reach actually gave better results most of the time, because reaching out to more people, through generic targeting, expanded brand messages and helped reach even more interested users.

Facebook ad performance analysis

Of course, a lot comes down to how well you know your audience and how well you actually use interest targeting. For those with very sophisticated interest targeting processes, they can actually lead to significantly better campaign results through a more concrete focus.

Facebook ad performance analysis

As you can see in this chart, interest targeting has better results for downstream campaigns – so as you reach a wider audience it is better for brand awareness if you have a more specific goal and better audience insight in mind, focusing on more detailed interest categories can improve direct response.

Which makes sense. In the early stages, you need to reach as many people as possible to increase awareness, while more precise targeting, based on prior learning, will help achieve better results in the next phase.

Basically, it’s a pretty logical outcome, but the point Meta wants to point out is that many companies target their ads too narrowly too soon, when reaching more people is often better, because then you can maximize both brand awareness and reach.

Which, again, is a good result for Target, based on data constraints, and could help guide your ad targeting process, taking a more general look at the beginning and then narrowing your campaign focus based on responses.

You can read the complete Meta data report here.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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