With Facebook Audience Insights, you can see a wealth of information about the people on Facebook and who like your Facebook Page.
Facebook provides this data to advertisers so we can make better ads that resonate with our audiences. Not only does this help make our campaigns more profitable, it also helps ensure people see the content most relevant to them and therefore improving the overall user experience on Facebook.
By understanding how to use Facebook Audience Insights, you'll be able to make better audiences and find the gold mines hidden inside them. Having the right insights can also help prevent wasted budget on the wrong audiences.
Before diving in how to use the data, here's how to access it:
How to get to Facebook Audience Insights
To access Facebook Audience Insights, click on the main menu in the top left anywhere inside the Facebook Ads Manager. Then under the "Plan" column, choose "Audience Insights." You can also type facebook.com/ads/audience-insights in your browser to go there directly.
How to use Facebook Audience Insights
First, select your seed audience to analyze. You have two to choose from:
- Everyone on Facebook, which you can narrow down by several filters, or
- People Connected to Your Page, which shows just the data for people who like your Facebook Page(s)
Once you've selected a base audience to analyze, you can filter these down further to find useful nuggets of information.
Can you see custom audiences in Facebook Audience Insights?
No. In 2018, Facebook removed the ability to analyze custom audiences from customer data or from the Facebook Pixel due to user privacy concerns.
The basics of Facebook Audience Insights filters
After you've selected your seed audience, you can begin using the filters on the left sidebar to narrow down your seed audience to uncover data about more specific groups of people.
You can add narrow down your audience by including and/or excluding specific locations. The default location is the United States. You can exclude specific states in the United States by hovering over the dropdown arrow next to "All United States" and clicking "Exclude Locations."
If you want to look at locations other than the United States, click the "X" next the United States to remove it as a selected location. Then you can type in any new country, region, or city. You can add multiple locations to analyze more than one location at a time (for example Los Angeles and New York City).
Or if you want to see insights into the global audience of Facebook users, leave the location field blank.
Age and Gender
Under "Age and Gender" you can narrow your audience by a minimum and/or maximum age and gender.
Under "Interests" you can include the same interests that you can target when setting up Facebook Ads. So if you want to see the kinds of people who are interested in "Advertising" simply select it to apply it to your audience. You can add multiple interests, but you cannot exclude interests.
Interests are a huge part of finding gold mines in your audience insights. Facebook's algorithm attributes interests to users based on their real activity and behaviors, such as the pages they like, the content they engage with, and the ads they click on.
Although you selected your seed audience upon loading Audience Insights, you can modify it under "Connections" if you wish. You're able to select the individual page if you have multiple and you can also exclude another one of your pages.
Advanced Facebook Audiences Insights Filters
By clicking "Advanced" at the bottom of the filter sidebar, you'll uncover several advanced filters to narrow down your audience for analysis.
I won't go through each one individually as you're not likely to use most of them. The most frequently used are "Relationship Status," "Job titles" (especially for B2B), "Parents," and "Life Events."
Depending on your product/service these filters could actually be staples of your targeting for most of your advertising on Facebook. If not, you could still use these filters to creative messaging on your ads that can still relate to your product/service.
After using the basic and advanced filters to create an audience, it's time to learn how to analyze it and get insights!
How to Analyze Facebook Audience Insights
To make things simple, we’ll pick software as an interest and see which data we’ll be able to uncover. Keep in mind this is an example of a very generic parameter so you may want to refine it your actual use. Looking towards the top of Facebook's Audience Insight tool, you'll see four tabs: Demographics, Page Likes, Location, and Activity. We'll start with demographics.
Note: if you apply too many layers and have fewer than 1,000 people in the seed audience, Facebook may fail to show any data. On the other hand, broadening the audience (like we did as an example) may lead to irrelevant suggestions. All in all, keep your seed balanced for best results.
The Demographics tab encompasses data on age, gender, relationships, education, and job titles. In our case, over half of Facebook users who showed interest in software are currently married and have a college degree.
Note: The darker blue bars represent your selected audience. The light grey bars behind the darker blue represent the global Facebook audience so you can see where your audience over or under indexes compared to all users.
This list is sorted in descending order of how much your selected audience over indexes compared to all Facebook users. It is not by default sorted by most popular job titles, which is why seeing "Farming, Fishing and Forestry" at the top is confusing at first.
If you click on the "Selected Audience" column header, you can sort by most popular job titles.
One of the more interesting things to look at in Facebook Audience Insights is the Page Likes tab. It shows you the most relevant pages and categories of pages based on pages liked by your selected audience.
Under the Affinity column, Facebook tell us "how likely your audience is to like a given page compared to everyone on Facebook.” In smaller audiences, this data will be more useful and I'll show you a few ways you can use these insights for Facebook campaign ideas below.
The other key metric here is Relevance. Facebook defines Relevance as “the Pages that are the most likely to be relevant to your audiences based on affinity, Page size, and the number of people in your audience who already like that Page.”
It’s worth mentioning that not every interest from this list is available for targeting. To check whether it’s eligible, put it into the Interests field in the sidebar. If it’s not found, you won’t be able to target this interest.
Within the Location tab, you get an overview of top cities, countries, and languages for your selected audience. Since we limited the location to the US only, there isn't much useful data for us here. No surprises in the language zone either: 91% US English and 6% Spanish.
The "Activity" tab gives us insights into users’ activity and behaviors in our selected audience. These are displayed in two sections: Frequency of Activities and Device Users.
Frequency of Activities reveals average comments made, posts liked, posts shared, promotions redeemed, and ads clicked in the last 30 days. In our software audience, people have liked 23 posts and clicked 29 ads in the past 30 days, which is a healthy amount of activity.
Device Users may be crucial to know for your targeting, even more so with web-based products or services. It also includes two options: "All Devices Used" and "Primary Device" so you can see which device they use Facebook most on.
Because you can split your target audience when making ads by mobile, desktop, and platform, this could be insightful for planning your next campaign.
In our audience interested in software, it will be very important to make ads optimized for mobile for both iOS and Android. Not only would we need to take this into consideration for our ad creatives, but also the landing pages if the campaign requires it.
How to save audiences in Facebook Audience Insights
You can save your audiences with filters for future reference and for use as audiences in ad sets directly from Facebook Audience Insights.
To save your current audience, click on Save in the top bar inside Facebook Audience Insights, choose a name for your audience, and confirm.
If you make edits to an audience that you've already saved, click Save As under the More dropdown menu to save this audience as a new audience without overwriting the original.
How to open an audience in Facebook Audience Insights
To open a previously saved audience, click Open in the top bar inside Facebook Audience Insights, and choose from one of your saved audiences to open. You can open an audience to analyze or make an edit and save it again.
How to use a saved audiences from Facebook Audience Insights in an ad campaign
You can use the current audience you have open in Facebook Audience Insights as an audience for an ad set by clicking the green button at the top right that says Create Ad.
The Facebook Ads Manager will open the campaign creator. You can create a new campaign here or use an existing campaign. Once you configure the campaign settings and move to the ad set, Facebook will automatically populate your saved audience from Facebook Audience Insights as the audience for the ad set.
From here, you can create the rest of your ad set and ads, but remember, once you go live, no changes in the audience configuration are possible.
What to do with all these Facebook Audience Insights
1. Improve the profile of your buyer personas
Buyer personas are representations of the ideal persona your customer is and hopes to become. With data from Facebook Audience Insights, you can supplement your current buyer personas with demographic and interest data.
With improved buyer personas, not only will your overall messaging and approaches work better on Facebook ads, but they can also be applied to marketing messaging across all your channels.
It's an essential item to your digital ad launch checklist that shouldn't be overlooked.
2. Use interests the people connected to your page have as new cold audiences for Facebook ads
After you load or open the audience of people connected to your page, go back to the Page Likes tab. There you’ll see the top page your connections have an affinity towards. What you're looking for here is other brands that your connections like that you can tie in some way to your content and ads.
Let's take a B2B example and the account I'm working on is an email marketing SaaS tool. Here's a few ideas:
- I can pick out brands here that I may be able to partner with for content (e.g. interviews) to use in ads to warm up cold audiences and retarget later
- I can see if there are brands in similar fields that have a selectable interest for targeting (e.g. Business and industry > Online > Web design)
- I can go to each of their Facebook pages, look at what ads they're running, and find inspiration for ad angles and approaches I can adopt for my account
3. Segment demographic data into separate audiences
In the Demographics tab, again you can see the proportion of gender, age, relationship status, education level, and job title. What stands out here to you? Is there a particular age group that stands out? Gender? Job title?
What you can do is pick out some of the largest segments and use those segments as unique audiences with custom ad creative and messaging that speaks better to that audience segment.
In theory, this could create ads that resonate more with your audience, could achieve a higher relevancy/engagement score, and generate a higher ROAS.
You could run these tests with a low budget, use facebook ad automation to help control costs, or post them as an organic post on your page and see how they do compared to your normal posts.
4. Segment location data into separate audiences
Another group of audience segments you can create is based on location. Are there certain locations that stand out among the rest?
You can take your largest locations, whether they are cities (if your audience is big enough), states, or small countries, and create separate audiences for them. Then you can create tailor made ads for those stand out locations. By referencing your audiences' city in the ad copy or creative, your ads can stand out in the newsfeed.
5. Optimize ad campaigns based on your audiences' device usage
In the Activity tab, you can see what type of device your audience is using to access Facebook. Then make sure you select Primary Devices. You will most likely see much more users on mobile (iPhone/iPod, Android, and Mobile Web) than Computer (desktop).
If you're running ads to your website, it's crucial that your website is fast and designed well for use and conversions on mobile devices. It may be necessary to segment mobile users in an audience and make a separate landing page just for them to improve your conversion rate.
How to quickly create ad sets from your saved audiences
Like I mentioned before, you can create a Facebook campaign and ad set from the current audience you have open in Facebook Audience Insights. If you have a lot of saved audiences you want to make ad sets for, you'd have to do it one by one. If you want a faster way, our Facebook ad tool, Revealbot, can help you do this much faster.
Revealbot is a Facebook ad automation tool and it can help you save time and effort when running Facebook campaigns. One of our features relevant to today's topic is Bulk Creation, which lets you quickly create lots of campaigns and ad sets. And when creating those ad sets at bulk, you can simply choose the audiences you saved in Facebook Audience Insights. Here's how:
In Revealbot, choose Bulk Creation and configure your campaign and budget settings. On the Targeting step of the Bulk Creation workflow, you'll then see all your saved audiences from Facebook Audience Insights inside Revealbot.
During this step, you can simply check each audience you want to create an ad set for in one swift action. On top of that, you can split each audience for further segmentation based on interests, demographics, locations, and more - all automatically. For example, if you have a saved audience of people interested in Web Design, you can split that saved audience by the top locations all done for you.
Want to learn more about automating Facebook ads? Check out our Facebook ad automation guide.
How to include Audience Insights into your routine
Keep in mind that while products don’t change overnight, you need to keep an eye out for new refined segments and tailor your customer personas to the real picture. Audiences do evolve, and so does product perception. Because of this, Facebook Audience Insights is not merely a tool to help with ad targeting but a powerful analytics tool to verify your hypotheses.
Always plan and check insights before you create a new campaign and make this a part of your standard workflow. I would say to look at Audience Insights every two weeks, play with filters, and you may find some new opportunities.