Are you overlooking this free Facebook insights tool?

I’ve recently come off tour. Oh, I didn’t travel anywhere special. And I definitely wasn’t on stage. I’ve just spent the last 3 weeks travelling around our office in Cape Town trying to convince anyone who would listen to start using Facebook Audience Insights.

If you know what FB Audience Insights is, and how it can benefit folks in the content marketing/publishing industry, then stop reading. Give this article a pass. BUT not before you give this article a clap. Ok, great. Thanks.

Now, where was I? Oh yes, Facebook Audience Insights for Dummies Newbies.

Facebook Audience Insights is a free tool, that provides demographic and (some) behavioural data for a segmented audience. This nifty tool basically helps you gather data about your audience so you can tailor your messages specifically to them.

Why is this tool so important? I often sit in pitch briefings for new clients or content brainstorms where the-powers-that-be do not know who the intended target audience is. Are they male or female? How old are they? In which cities do they live? What are their interests? All these questions can be answered (in one way or another) through Facebook Audience Insights.

I use Facebook Audience Insights as a barometer for the general South African population who have access to the Internet. Why do I feel so comfortable doing this? In July 2017, Arthur Goldstruck (the World Wide Worx research guy) released a study on Internet access in South Africa. Currently, 21 million South Africans are connected. According to Goldstruck and Ornico’s latest SA Social Media Landscape 2018 report (released in September 2017), there are 16 million monthly active Facebook users. See the overlap? Ok, fine, on Facebook I’m 5 million short of the total SA Internet population. But still, it’s safe to assume that the South Africans who use Facebook are the South Africans who connect to the interwebs.

So, let’s get stuck in Facebook Audience Insights…

Once you land on you’ll immediately be prompted to select your audience. Audience Insights sees trends across Facebook around three different groups:

  1. The general Facebook audience
  2. People connected to your Page or Event
  3. People in Custom Audiences you’ve created

Keep reading and I’ll show you use cases for each of these audiences.

But before I veer off on that tangent, let’s look at the kind of data that can be surfaced through Facebook Audience Insights. After selecting your preferred audience, on the left-hand side of the screen, Facebook will allow you to select Location, Age & Gender, Interests, Connections and Advanced filters. The right-hand side is where all the action happens, and displays the results of your filters.

You can drill down into Age, Gender, Education Level and even the Relationship Status of your segmented audience in the Demographics tab. The second tab, Page Likes, shows you the Top Categories of the pages your audience likes. Scrolling a little further offers up the actual pages liked by your audience. The Location tab is self-explanatory, and then the Activity tab breaks down the frequency of your audience’s Facebook activities as well as the devices used. The last two tabs are only available if you’re researching audiences in the US, so it’s pretty much off-limits to our South African audiences.

But now I want to get to the real reason I’m telling you about Facebook Audience Insights. By using the nifty filters to select your preferred audience, you can use this free tool to:

1. Generate content ideas

Only by knowing who you’re writing for, will you be able to know what to write. Let’s say you run a décor blog. And you know your audience is interested in “Architecture” and “Interior Design”. By using those interests in Audience Insights you’ll be speaking to 2 million — 2.5 million South Africans. Two thirds (66%) will be women, with the majority of your audience being married (44%) and living in Pretoria (20%).

2. Attract a new audience

Let’s say you know who the majority of your audience is and what their interests are. But you want to niche down. And you want to test how big this new, potential audience is. As an example, you run a golfing website and the majority of your audience is male, but you want to attract a female audience whose interests extend beyond “Fitness and Wellness” and “Sports and Outdoors” and into “Celebrity”. Add to that, you only want to speak to women who prefer high-value goods and fall into LSM 8, 9 and 10. Under the Age & Gender section, filter for Women 18–45, under Interests select the above keywords, and then under Behaviours browse to “Consumer Classification” > “South Africa” and select “(8, 9, 10) Prefer high-value goods”. And voilà! You have an audience of 1 million — 1.5 million women.

3. Discover shared audiences and partnerships

By checking the Page Likes section of your selected audience, you can see what other brands they like. If you’re a Page admin and select your page under the “Connections” filter, you can even see what pages your Fans also like — which helps convincing potential partner/sponsor brands that you do in fact share an engaged audience.

4. Convince clients to spend money on Facebook ads

By simply using the monthly active people number at the very top of your screen, you can show clients the potential size of the audience you’ve filtered/selected according to their demographics and interests. You can go one step further by saving the audience and then pulling it into Ads Manager, and indicating the budget and timeframe of the campaign. Facebook will then provide you with an estimate number of people your ad can expect to reach per day.

5. Deep dive into an existing database

Use the Custom Audience feature and upload a spreadsheet of email addresses. Facebook will match those emails with registered, active users (via one-way data hashing) and provide you with an audience you can target. There are certain restrictions and Ts & Cs that apply when using Custom Audiences, so make sure you’ve read up on that.

Those are the five main ways I use Facebook Audience Insights. But there are many more. So, I encourage you to hop on and start playing around.

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