Last week we wrote about why home performance businesses may want to use Facebook Ads, and how to get started doing so. (By the way, even if you hate Facebook, you should sign up anyway, for the good of your business.)
While we were at it, it occured to us that Facebook Ads can be a great demographic research tool. You can target your ads by state, city or zip code, by gender, by age, and by interests and activities, and with each of these changes you make, Facebook displays the number of people who will see the ad. This allows you to figure out with some degree of precision the number of people in your area that match each of these metrics -- so you can see, for example, how many people between 35 and 55 live in San Francisco and are interested in both home improvement and environmental issues.
Note that you don't even have to complete setting up an ad to do this research -- it's all part of the setup process, and you can bail at any moment. We think it's worth entering your geography and checking out who's in your neighborhood.
A Few Examples:
Check out the right hand column -- it gives an estimated number of people on Facebook who fit your metrics. So, for example, here we have 2,162,960 people in Minnesota over the age of 25.
Here we've narrowed it down a little bit -- 1,492,900 peopel over 35 in Minnesota on Facebook.
In this screenshot, we narrowed down the audience to those Minnesotans over 35 who have a self-proclaimed interest in the Environment, as visible on their Facebook profile. It narrows down the audience to around 132,480 -- significantly smaller than the screenshot above, but still a pretty good number of potential customers.
One more -- this screenshot shows the number of people over 35 who live within 10 miles of Minneapolis, are interested in the Environment, are college graduates and married. This is a pretty specific audience, but that's part of the beauty of Facebook Ads. As you can see in the right hand column, there are approximately 17,140 people in this demographic. As you can imagine, this seems like it would be a pretty good target audience for a home performance contractor in the Minneapolis region.
What To Do Now:
Of course, these are just a few examples. Try entering your city, giving a radius that roughly fits your service area (FB users within 25 miles of your city, or what have you), and playing around with the demographics to see how many people are in your service area that fit each.
If you end up setting up ads, consider too that you can tweak the language to fit the interests of the target audience. Users interested in the environment may be more inclined to click on an ad that has an environmental message ("Want to help fight climate change? Click here." "Click here to reduce your carbon footprint," "Reduce your environmental impact today," etc.). Those interested in real estate or investments may be more interested in ROI -- saving X dollars per year, adding X dollars to their home's value, etc. Consider that college grads are likely to be in a higher income bracket and thus more likely to have extra money to invest in energy efficiency improvements.
Using this tool, it's actually possible to narrow down your target audience to those Facebook users in your city who are interested in your favorite band. Just for kicks:
3,520 Facebook users within 10 miles of Minneapolis over the age of 35 who are interested in the Rolling Stones. If you only want to work with customers who like the Rolling Stones, it could be theoretically possible to do so if you live in Minneapolis. Good to know.
Long story short:
- marital status
All of these, and more, are demographic metrics that exist on Facebook, and that you can check out in Facebook Ads' targeting tool. Ads, consequently, are an easy way to figure out the characteristics of the people in your area, and to adjust your marketing messaging accordingly.
We would throw out the caveat that these numbers only pertain to registered Facebook users. Obviously, that's not everyone, but with Facebook growing at the rate that it is (already over 900 million users and growing), it's a pretty big chunk of the population.
We suggest giving this tool a try, if just for kicks; and be sure to let us know in the comments if you find anything surprising!