[Secret Revealed] Unearth Lost Facebook Targeting | Psychographic Hot House

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In recent iterations of Facebook’s targeting tool, precise interests and long-tail “keywords” have become more and more elusive, replaced by behaviors (third-party targeting) and categories, which at times can be ambiguous or (WAY) too broad. In this edition of the Psychographic Targeting Hot House, aimClear’s Senior Creative Strategist, Merry Morud, reveals how to dig up more precise targeting variables like a dog seeking a long-lost buried bone. Just as a dog’s acute senses help it unearth buried treasure, this seven-year Facebook targeting veteran has a sixth sense for excavating more targeting than most.

While Facebook doesn’t necessarily use “keywords” per se, for the sake of simplicity, in this post, we’ll use the term “keyword” to describe targeting variables such as interests/job titles/categories/workplaces and so on.

Facebook Jumped The Shark On Drop-down Suggestions?

In some accounts, Facebook has rolled up: demographics (family status, employers, job titles and more), interests and behaviors. This is likely a sign of things to come for the targeting tool down the road. No matter the structure and status of your ads account, this tactic works — even for LinkedIn.

Since this has occurred, we’ve seen Facebook’s drop-down suggestions jump the shark a bit…

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As Facebook steers advertisers towards category targeting, the following skills will become even more important for social PPC marketers to master.

Social Synonym And Keyword Variations

The first place to start when expanding beyond Facebook’s drop-down suggestions is to seek out social synonyms and keyword permutations.

Nurse > Nursing > RN > LPN
Attorney > Lawyer > Esq. > Public Defender
Engineer > Engineering > EDA

For this case study, we’ll be seeking engineers within the Job Titles targeting parameter. This can either be found via More Demographics > Work > Job Titles, or in newer iterations of the targeting tool, under the Behaviors/Interests box > Demographics > Work > Job Titles and search.

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Searching for “Engineers” (surprisingly) brings up few results. : Five to be exact.

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You don’t have to be a genius to know there are (WAY) more iterations and types of engineers than Facebook dishes up, so you have to dig a bit… then a bit more. Here’s how:

Keyword Stemming To Alpha Patterns

The easiest, quickest way to expand on root keywords is to use an alpha pattern. This is simply the practice of using <root keyword> (space) a; <root keyword> (space) b; <root keyword> (space) c; and so on. For speed and efficiency, there’s no need to hop around the keyword going through the alphabet A to Z. Rather, start down your keyboard’s home row: A, S, D, F, G… you get the idea.

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Keyword Stemming to Keyword Footprint

As you stem with alpha patterns, keep mental notes of footprints you may notice. For engineers, it may be stemming from “engineer s” and spotting “software” to searching for “engineer software.”

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Other common job title footprints are:

  • Senior
  • VP
  • President or Pres
  • Chief
  • Analyst
  • Specialist
  • Manager
  • Coordinator
  • Associate

This, of course, can map to precise interests, workplaces and beyond.

Reverse Keyword + Footprint Input

Once you’ve tapped out the relative suggestions from your keyword and footprint stemming, try reversing the input from “engineer software” to “software engineer.”

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Or another example for nurses: “registered nurse” to “nurse registered.”

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Often this will yield a few additional results, if not many. (Trust us, you’d be surprised…)

Keyword Stemming To Keyword Footprint AND Alpha Patterns

Myriad targeting possibilities abound in Facebook, and there are often even more targeting results to be uncovered when combining the tactics above. Often the secondary keyword footprint is so rich, social marketers can add the alpha pattern tactic to the footprint.

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As you can see, discovering variables in Facebook targeting isn’t necessarily as easy as typing in a box and selecting interests/categories/job titles and so on.

Our pattern at aimClear is often: Keyword >> Keyword + alpha pattern >> Keyword + footprint >> Keyword + footprint + alpha.

While this may seem cumbersome, sage psychographic targeting tacticians can complete this in mere minutes, if not seconds, depending on the depth of targeting available. That is not to say that EVERY keyword permutation/interest/job title will exist in Facebook as a targeting variable. There are times it’s just not there.

Now, dear marketers, you have the know-how to really drill down to targeting in Facebook when  drop-down options can be slim or disappointingly irrelevant.

Happy targeting!

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