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Facebook Expands Ad Targeting Options

Facebook is offering an expanded range of ad options to marketers, which is great news for those working in local search. A new geography tagging system will make it possible for US companies to direct their ads exclusively to users who share their state, their city or even their ZIP code. They will also be able to exclude certain areas, such as by choosing to advertise to users in the same city but excluding the ZIP codes of areas where users do not match their target demographics.

The new targeting system allows businesses to select advertising targets using personal details such as relationship status, education and political preference; for instance, a florist in Denver can target recently-formed couples living within just a few blocks. Meanwhile, the expanded set of gender options now offered by Facebook gives advertisers an extensive set of new demographics to explore; while little research is currently available, a potentially undersupplied market offers considerable opportunity for those who are sharp about it.

Perhaps the most interesting option for marketers is the interest’s category. With users of the social media site having a vast range of things tagged as interests, it might at first seem a bit overwhelming; however, by focusing on single words it is possible to cut across a swathe of options. Focusing on the word fashion, for example, provides access to a wide range of style enthusiasts who can then be broken down by age, gender and location to identify those likely to take an interest in a promotion offered by a particular clothing store.

Interests can also be used less directly – targeting the word luxury, for example, could open up a marketplace of people likely to have an interest in buying high-end watches. This may be more effective than targeting watches directly, which may be more likely to bring up hobbyists than people with a lot of money to spend; targeting luxury watches is most likely to bring up other marketers.

Finally, by using Facebook’s partner categories, marketers can target users based on their behaviors, such as the products they buy online. This means that a furniture maker could target people who have recently bought carpets and house paint, suggesting that they have moved into new homes.

The move is likely to be popular not only with advertisers but also with users, who have frequently complained in the past about irrelevant ads.

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