Understanding Facebook Advert Audiences

By James Dempster / 05 Mar 2019

Marketing and PR professional James Dempster explains how to use Facebook audiences.

With more than 52% of consumers searching online for information about treatment options, and 21% using social media to research health concerns or healthcare providers, there has never been a better time to adopt digital marketing strategies to support business growth.1

For aesthetic clinics looking to attract new patients and raise the profile of their business, Facebook advertising can be extremely fruitful, whilst delivering excellent return on investment. In this article, I’ll explore how to get the most out of your Facebook audiences and teach you how to monitor your success. With more than two billion active users on Facebook daily, and an average use time of 35 minutes per user, Facebook advertising is a fantastic way to reach new patients, customers and new employees.2

What is a Facebook audience?

As you may know if you are involved with your clinic’s marketing, Facebook advertising allows you to choose and target who sees your advertisements. The ‘target’, ‘ideal patient’ or ‘market’ that you want to advertise to is called an ‘audience’ on Facebook. As well as targeting users by location, age and sex, Facebook also enables you to target by interest, behaviour and engagement. There are three audience selection tools that Facebook offers to help you find the people who are right for your business – core audiences, custom audiences and lookalike audiences.3 These audiences can be advertised to via Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Messenger, or through mobile apps with Audience Network. Audience Network is a way for advertisers to extend their campaigns beyond Facebook and into other mobile apps.4 Whilst it may seem like there are a lot of decisions to make around how to create your audience, it’s important to spend time ensuring that you get it right. After all, you don’t want to waste your budget targeting someone that has no interest in aesthetics and will be unlikely to convert into a new patient.

Core audiences

Core audiences allows you to target adverts using Facebook data.5,6 This data is collected by Facebook every time you consent to share your data. Facebook sweeps your Facebook profile, your recent activity, and any changes to build a profile of you, what you’re interested in and what you’ve engaged with recently.7 Building a core audience lets you build an audience based around the following options:

• Location: reach people in the cities and towns where you want to do business. You can either choose everyone in a location, only people who live in a particular location, new residents who have updated their location recently or visitors who have checked into or been tagged in another place.

 Demographics: create your audience based on age, gender, education, relationship status, job title and more.

• Behaviour: choose people based on their prior purchase history, their device usage (desktop, tablet or mobile), and other activities such as the browser they’re using.

• Connections: reach people who are connected to your Facebook page or event and have either ‘liked’ or ‘followed’ your page or are ‘interested’ or ‘going’ to your events. You can also exclude them to ensure you’re reaching a new audience.

• Interests: target your adverts to people who are already engaged in your sector.

Custom audiences

Facebook custom audiences are built from patient data that you have and supply to Facebook. Custom audiences can be built with three key sets of data: contact lists, website visitors and app users. Uploading this data to Facebook will allow you to create a potential audience based on people that have already shown an interest in your business. You can upload the data you collect from your own business to Facebook via a .csv file, but only if your patient has explicitly said that they are happy for their data to be used in this way.8 It is worth noting that although Facebook states that 100 people is the minimum audience size to target Facebook users, we would recommend an audience size of at least 1,000 for it to be truly effective. Custom audiences also allow you to use data from those who have visited your website, commonly known as remarketing. Whilst there is a common misconception that since GDPR remarketing isn’t allowed, so long as you have a robust cookie policy (you often see these pop up on websites), remarketing is allowed.9 This is a great way of connecting with people who have already shown interest in your website, but have not necessarily gone on to book a treatment with you. In order to set this up, you will have had to install a Facebook pixel on your website. A Facebook pixel is a piece of code that’s placed on your website that enables Facebook to gather the data of people who have visited your website.10,11 The pixel only tracks users that have opted in to allow cookies to be collected, so be mindful that it won’t track everyone. In order to create a pixel, if you don’t have one already, you’ll need to follow Facebook’s instructions or ask your digital marketing team for help.10,11

Lookalike audiences

Facebook’s lookalike audience function is a fantastic way to reach an audience that you are currently not engaged with, but who will very likely be interested in what you have to offer. A ‘lookalike’ audience is just that, an audience that quite literally ‘looks like’ another particular audience that you decide upon. This function takes on board information about the demographics and behaviours of your existing patient base, and Facebook will then automatically identify similar qualities of your chosen group and class this audience as ‘lookalikes’.12 For example, a very effective way of employing lookalike audiences within your Facebook advertising campaign is to create a custom audience (explained above) based on your most valuable patients, also known as a value-based lookalike. These could be the patients who booked three or more treatments in the last six months, for instance. You could upload their details on Facebook and create a ‘lookalike’ audience based on this information. As a result, Facebook’s algorithm will start looking for users with interests and behaviours similar to the ones of your most loyal patients, who in turn are more likely to become loyal patients themselves. Essentially, you can create a lookalike audience from any audience you create on Facebook, making it easier for you to test varying adverts and offers based on a user’s previous habits.

How should I monitor the success of Facebook advertising?

Once you’ve spent time creating audiences, you need to make sure they’re working for you. If they aren’t, you need to be able to adapt and change it to get the best value for money, and importantly, get new patients through your doors. Once your adverts are up and running for at least seven to 10 days, you can begin to gather some insight into whether or not they’re working for your business. It’s important to understand what ‘good’ looks like, so here are my tips:

1. Concentrate on the advert’s objective – is it delivering the leads you want? (if leads are the main objective).

2. Look at interactions (likes, comments, shares) over the reach (how many people have seen the add). Interactions show that your advert is resonating with your chosen audience.

3. Relevancy score – does Facebook deem your advert to be relevant to your audience?

4. Frequency – you don’t want to bombard your audience. We suggest aiming for each advert to be shown no more than three times throughout the campaign.

5. Cost per result – is it financially viable for the ads to continue? For example, if you make £20 per procedure and convert one in five appointments to a procedure, you’ll need to ensure that your cost per lead is £4 or less.

If you’re not seeing the engagement you expected, it could be that your target audience is too narrow and so is reducing the chances of spending your budget. This varies by case, but measure against your own results. If not enough people are reacting to the advert, try expanding the amount of people seeing it. Measuring success will depend on what your goal is, but let’s say it’s that you want to promote a new service your clinic offers. You’ll expect to see clicks through to your website from the advert, the users may spend significant time on the page, and then if there’s a relevant enquiry form on the site that you’re directing people to, you’ll want to see an increase in completed forms. This can all be tracked through Google Analytics so you can ensure that your adverts are delivering the traffic and interaction you expect.13 If you’re not seeing the uplift in enquiries that you’re expecting, you can optimise your Facebook adverts and improve their performance with A/B tests. This essentially means that you can show two or more versions of an ad to similar audiences to see which one performs better. This is great if you want to test a few different audiences to see which one is more engaged. Each group will have identical ad sets except one variable, in this case, the chosen audience. This will then be measured against your campaign objectives and once complete, Facebook will notify you of the winning strategy.

Start engaging

Whether you’re looking to promote a new treatment your clinic offers, you’re opening a new practice and want to increase footfall, or you want to encourage people to engage with your social channels, Facebook advertising is a great way to do this. It can allow you to reach out to your current patients who may not have engaged with you in a while, or it can help you find whole new audiences. You don’t need to be a marketing expert to see brilliant results from Facebook advertising. As long as you’re carefully choosing your audience and monitoring your adverts, you’ll soon be able to make tweaks and amends that will propel your adverts to the next level.

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