With more publishing on social-media platforms than ever before, companies are finding it challenging to be heard through the noise. Smart brands are maximizing paid strategies and developing creative content that stands out. But, great content is only half of the story, and getting your message in front of the right audience is critical. Facebook® launched its first advertising option in 2005. Since then, paid social media spend has exploded.

Luckily, targeting techniques have matured too, and brands can serve paid content to a precise audience based on gender, location, interests, and more. Sophisticated algorithms make it easy to proactively target the right users, securing a higher click-through rate and conversion rate, which means a lower cost per click. With 10 – 30 percent more clicks for the same budget, advanced targeting is the key to performance with paid social media.

Moving Beyond Demographics and Geography — Advanced Targeting
Social platforms have access to an endless amount of user information, and marketers quickly learned the benefits of targeting to reach a precise audience. But, taking efforts to the next level involves moving beyond basic demographic and geographic identifiers. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn offer advanced targeting methods, putting you in front of specific — and often motivated — segments of your audience.

Interest and Behavioral Targeting
Social-media users have varied interests and behaviors, and people love to share information. Interest and behavioral targeting is an easy way to increase ad relevance while personalizing content. How do people behave on social media? What do they enjoy doing? Do they visit certain types of pages or specific groups or events on a regular basis? Have they purchased certain products in the past 30 days? Targeting users based on self-reported interests, past performances, and purchasing habits helps avoid pitching irrelevant content while moving users along who are closer to conversions.

Custom Targeting
With custom targeting, it’s easy to drill even deeper into your audience through an existing customer list, website visits, or app activities. Upload a customer list that includes email addresses or phone numbers and advertise directly to your leads. Add a retargeting pixel to your website and show ads to people who have visited your site in the past 30, 60, or 180 days. It’s even possible to target users who visit specific pages. Facebook calls this targeting feature “Custom Audiences,” and on Twitter, it’s called “Tailored Audiences.”

Lookalike Audiences
Facebook allows you to extend your custom audience with lookalike audiences to identify people with similar characteristics to those of your existing customers. Facebook automatically sources the top one percent of users who match your current customers’ behaviors. Create a tiered lookalike strategy by building a second and third lookalike tier, excluding the ones prior. Eventually, you’ll create tiers with 1, 2, and 3 percent, leveraging the custom audience lookalike model like a pro.

Measuring for Success — Advanced Analytics
The best targeting is meaningless without a method in place to track progress. Use advanced analytics on social platforms to test, optimize, and track performances in real time. Set clear goals, identify key performance indicators, and focus only on the information related to your business metrics. Bottom line? Know what you’re measuring and why.

Success with social-media marketing typically involves raising brand awareness, engaging your community, and optimizing lead-generation efforts through advanced targeting. Be proactive — not reactive — with advanced targeting techniques by segmenting your audience by behavior and interests, maximizing customized targeting features to avoid overlapping audiences, and tracking relevant metrics to measure for success.

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