How Reliable is Facebook’s Audience Insights Tool?

By Stevie Sleeter, Content & Social Media Manager

Published: January 6, 2017

It might surprise you to learn that one of the original social media giants — the mighty Facebook — has only recently tapped its surplus of user data in a way that allows advertisers to build stronger connections with target markets.

In 2014, Facebook launched the Audience Insights tool — a resource the social platform has since continued to tweak, shift and refine. With this tool, we can obtain valuable information about our social community members — demographics and psychographics alike — that help us reach the right people with the right messages.

[quote align=”left”]Facebook data is coming into its own. And what that means for social strategy.[/quote]

The algorithm that dictates the content that appears in a user’s News Feed is designed to connect people with what interests them most. This approach also applies to the business-consumer relationship, and Facebook rewards companies that provide value to their users. One way Facebook judges whether content is valuable is by measuring page likes.

  • At 100 likes, Facebook grants access to Page and post insights. Helpful, but not overly telling.
  • At 1,000 likes, Facebook grants access to the Audience Insights tool. Now we can start learning more about our customers and connecting with them on a deeper level. It’s a win-win.

Once access is granted, there’s a lot to learn from these tools. But even a data source this rich has limitations.

What can we gain from the Audience Insights tool?

  • Pure, unadulterated data. Demographics remain a first step in the audience connections game. Examples include:
    • Location: cities, countries and languages
    • Household: income, ownership, size, market value and purchase behaviors
    • Activity: frequency of activity and the device of choice
  • Messy, intelligent data. Psychographics remain at the core of understanding and analyzing human behavior, thus consumer behavior. Examples include:
    • Interests: of the people who like a page, we can see what else they are engaging with on Facebook, such as retailers, sports, science, travel, etc.
    • Lifestyles: categories such as Fun & Games, Raisin’ Grandkids, Corporate Clout, Apple Pie Family and Country Ways help us tap into a brand’s audience personas. For example, Apple Pie Families are upper-middle-class couples with school-age children. They are homeowners, minivan drivers and avid radio listeners.

Now, if you’re like us, you don’t recall populating your profile with those details. So how does Facebook garner this data?

The data is a mix of user-provided details and information collected from other sources based on survey responses, purchase activity and publicly available data. And Facebook tells us how our audience matches up against these metrics.

What exactly does that data tell us?

In a nutshell, the data shows us who is interacting, and who is likely to interact, with our messages, as well as how they prefer to do so, which allows us to pinpoint the right people, in the right place, at the right time, with the right content.

And while growing a social community is important to gaining greater reach, building a Facebook community beyond 1,000 likes isn’t as important as engagement with that community. Meaningful engagement will help build stronger connections, move more customers to action and grow the community organically.

The Audience Insights tool is a useful addition to our digital analysis toolbox. We can measure our effectiveness, learn from our actions, and adjust quickly and nimbly. The results can tell us a lot about our customers, including how they react to and interact with messages, and where social falls on the customer buying process journey.

We use our tools to the extent of their capabilities, but no matter how you push, pull or twist it, there are limitations. We are watching and analyzing human behavior — behavior that is anticipatory but not totally predictable.

At Envano, we help our partners make heads or tails of multiple sets of data and leverage them to improve the digital customer experience. Are you ready to see which of your audience insights await discovery? Let’s Chat!