What is Audience Insights?
Audience Insights is a section within the Facebook ads manager that allows you to explore and find people to advertise to based on preferences and demographics. It is available both through your personal ad account and business ad account. However I would recommend that as a business you sign up for a business ad account on Facebook instead of running ads through your personal account. It doesn't cost anything extra to sign up but gives you more freedom in the future if you want to hire someone to run ads for you because they can work on your ads without you having to give your login in details.
Alright back to Audience Insights. If your page already has traffic coming in, you can look at that traffic under the Audience Insights tab and learn more about them like what age group they typically fall under, are there more men vs women vice versa, what kind of pages they like, are they married, do they have kids etc. If you are starting fresh and don't have an audience for your page, Audience Insights can help you locate one that is more likely to want what you are offering.
Why use Audience Insights?
Why would we care to know all this seemingly random stuff about people we want to advertise to? Well all this stuff is going to help us find people who are more likely to buy our product. For example if you sell tap dancing shoes in New York City, you will have a much harder time getting people to buy if you just target everyone in New York City or everyone in New York that buys shoes. Your ad will be shown to everyone that fits that mold and not all of them will buy tap dancing shoes. You will end up wasting a lot of money and time. So in order to avoid that we use audience insights to find people who like pages that people who will buy tap dancing shoes will like.
How to use Audience Insights?
There are many ways you can find and create an audience to target your ads to. If you google or search on You Tube you will find plenty of videos on how to go about doing that. Everyone has tips and tricks that they use and it's a good idea to check out what is out there because you will likely learn something new from each person.
What I am going to do is show you the general idea of what to do and what you are looking for. Feel free to expand on it.
Step 1: Accessing Audience Insights
I am going to assume that you know how to sign up for or get access to your ad account. If not, let me know in the comments below and I will see if I can create a how to for that.
Once you are logged into your ad account, click on the 3 lines at the top left corner. In the photos below you can see audience insights for me under frequently used since I use it often, but if you are new, it will not appear there so follow the instructions completely. In the menu that opens up, click "all tools" at the bottom. Audience Insights button is right under the plan tab.
Step 2: Choosing an audience
Here you will have a choice of two audiences. If you have an audience visiting your page, you can click "People connected to this page" and learn more about the their interactions with your brand's page and use that information to target new people. If you are starting fresh and don't really know much about your audience then go straight to "Everyone on Facebook". This is the section that we are going to go ahead with in the rest of the steps.
Step 3: Exploring different parts of Audience Insights
Let's take a look at the page and learn a little bit about each section before we run an example search. We will start with the left side of the page under "Create Audience". Here we can select the country, age, gender etc for your audience. You can also include or exclude any audience from pages you own. If you have deep info on your audience, you can add it in the advanced section. Most likely you will be starting out with little information and learning as you go along so most of these sections will remain blank and we will let Facebook tell us about our audience. The part we are going to use to explore and find potential target audience is the "interest" form.
On the large right side section, the demographics tab is initially the one that is open. Here you can see the age, gender, relative percentage to rest of the Facebook users, education level, relationship status and job title of the people of Facebook. The tab we are going to be spending most of our time on is the page likes tab. This tab is the one that is going to show us what pages our typical audience likes so we can target them.
Once you run a search query and you are not sure which part of the world to target, you can check the location tab. This can help you narrow down your ads to countries and cities that hold your audience.
The activity tab shows you what your audience has done in the past 30 days and what kind of device they are using. So if you want to know how often did this audience click an ad compared to the rest of Facebook, you can take a look here. You can use the device information to run ads targeted at those devices if you wish.
Ok so now I am going to run an example search to show you how it's done but remember there are so many variations out there and this just to help you understand how this works.
Step 4: Finding audience using interests
Ok so lets say I am selling skateboards in the USA. In the create audience section select USA as the country. I am not going to touch the age or gender because I am not sure about these variables. If I was selling lets say dresses, I can go ahead and select women.
In the interests, as I start typing skateboard, I get the option of selecting skateboarding. Now here is something important that will come in handy later, I can only target my ads for options that pop up in the auto populating list in this section. So if I start typing a page name and it doesn't show up in the list as indicated by the photo below then I can't target it.
I will start off with a very broad selection of skateboarding and see what kind of information I can get about people who liked skateboarding. Now this search is a start because it's just going to guide us towards people who are interested in skateboarding. It can include anyone who has liked anything to do with skateboarding. That could someone who liked a video with skateboarding bloopers, how to make a skateboard or just a news story with skateboard in it. The people watching these videos aren't necessarily ones who are looking to purchase a skateboard. So don't make any decisions just yet. We need to dig deeper.
The above image shows the demographic details on skateboarding. I can see that there are more men interested in skateboarding than women but I feel it's not a big enough difference for me to completely eliminate women from my search. However I can see that very few grad school graduates are interested in skateboarding. Lets check out the page likes section.
Here we have a list of pages that people who like skateboarding liked. Not all of them have people interested in purchasing skateboards. Go Pro for example could have people who like photography, traveling, or other extreme sports. Vans on the other hand carries gear for skateboarding so they likely have people who are interested in skateboarding. The page likes section underneath shows vans is the most likely page that people interested in skateboarding would like compared to the rest of the people on Facebook.
The audience size for Vans shows to be around 604K, however when I try it out in an ad set, I get a much larger number in the millions and being a small business, that is too big an audience to compete with. We need to keep looking to find a more appropriate audience size. Even though the audience size for Vans is too big with, we can definitely run a search using Vans (since it is related to skateboarding) as a search term and see what other pages we get.
In the above image I am running a search for Vans since it is showing the auto-populating list. Remember to delete skateboarding so that you don't see combined results. You can run combined results later when you have exhausted your list and found your ad keywords. It may give you even more targeted pages.
Here are the results for Vans. You can see some of the same pages we had before but also some new ones. In these, Zumiez looks of interest to me because it is a skateboarding brand. It has a decent audience size and is searchable. I would definitely run an ad focused on Zumiez audience.
You can repeat this process with other pages that are skateboarding related to find audience of pages you can target. If the audience is too large but the page is very niche targeted, run a search and find more new pages to target. If the audience is too small but very targeted, you can combine them with other small audience to make one ad set. You can also play around with location and activity tabs to see if you can focus on cities or devices.
I hope that was helpful and not too confusing. I am thinking of making a You Tube Video to explain it. If that would be helpful to you, let me know in the comments.