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How to Win More Customers with Facebook Partner Categories

In April, Facebook introduced partner categories which leverages users’ online purchasing histories and location to customize ads. It allows marketers to target ads across specific audience segments with third party data from Acxiom, Epsilon and Datalogix.

Facebook recently doubled the number of partner categories available to more than 1,000. Partner category data includes how many people in a category and the purchasing history that includes them in that group. It also includes how often a product is bought in a year and details on where the information was acquired. Talk about getting specific!

Here’s what Facebook has to say about them: “Partner categories are targeting clusters created by our 3rd party data providers. It is a packaged targeting option to reach the kinds of people advertisers want to find on Facebook, based on these people’s off-Facebook activity. These categories are most similar to Broad Categories but are defined by partner data matching.”

Partner categories are an extension of Nanigans’ targeting best practices. They give us some amazingly specific targeting options, such as people with a certain home value, who drive a particular vehicle, or who buy men’s denim. This kind of data kind of boggles the mind right? Think of the possibilities! However, as Facebook marketing professionals we have to constantly adapt to marketing changes, fatigued audiences, and the competition. And we couldn’t start using these new targeting options without asking ourselves if partner categories really pay off?

When we applied partner categories to our existing ecommerce campaigns, we initially found them to be expensive and not necessarily giving us better performance than our keyword sets. So our ecommerce team went back to the drawing board and came up with another idea altogether-–can we use partner categories with our existing keywords?

Partner categories hold invaluable users, but to keep costs down and performance in check, we have found that layering keywords underneath them yields the best results. For example, if you are marketing a female focused ecommerce site, you may want to target Partner Category: Fashionistas, but then layer keywords underneath it. Those keywords might include your competitors, or particular brands you carry, or even blogs you know your average customer reads…the possibilities are endless. And when you break these out you can easily use Ad Engine data to compare their performance and judge what is working, what is not, and more importantly, where to go next.

The time worn advertisers’ motto of “right person, right place right time” holds with partners categories, allowing Facebook advertisers to more narrowly target their ads with the result that fewer and fewer impressions are wasted. Those who target more will end up winning more inventory than those who target less because they’ll be able to value it at a higher rate.

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