In January, Facebook launched a new feature for Business Pages called Preferred Audience.
This feature lets you target your organic posts (i.e. not ads) so that ideally people who are more likely to be interested in your posts are the ones most likely to see them.
Pretty cool, right?
So, I’ve been testing Preferred Audience on 2 different fan pages I manage and here’s what I’ve found…
You have 2 options for how to use Preferred Audience.
- Audience Restrictions – This is not new. This limits who can see you post. So if a post is really only relevant to women who are over 35 in the US, you can restrict the post so that a 24-year-old man in Canada is not going to see the post if he visits your page. I know there are some pages where this is a useful feature. Honestly, it isn’t a feature I need, so I haven’t tried it out.
- Preferred Audience – This new feature lets you tag interests in your post to better target who will see your posts. This is what I tried out.
You can only use this when you are uploading directly to Facebook, not through a 3rd party app.
Since I use Post Planner for almost all my scheduling, I couldn’t use this on every post.
So, I only tried it on a few.
According to Facebook, if your Page has more than 5,000 likes, the Audience Optimization features will be automatically turned on. You can begin adding tags to your posts.
To turn on the Audience Optimization tool, follow these steps:
- Go to your Page.
- Click ‘Settings’ in the top right hand corner.
- Click ‘General’ in the tab column on the left side of the page.
- Find the row labeled ‘Audience Optimization for Posts’ in the middle of the page and click ‘Edit.’.
- Check off the box that that allows you to begin using the feature.
Here’s how you use it…
A few things to note on targeting…
- Facebook recommends posting 6-16 interest tags with both broad and specific terms.
- Targeting will be just like with Facebook Ads – You can only target a page or an interest if it has a large following.
- For more tips on targeting, CLICK HERE to check out this article on Facebook.
Here’s how I tried Preferred Audience…
On Kare’s High Frequency Wellness
Kare’s High Frequency Wellness is a health and wellness focused page where we share about my family’s business – a Micronized Purple Rice. The page is all about natural health, whole foods, and alternative medicine.
(For those of you wondering, Kare is my mom.)
With any page I manage, I am always aiming to reach 10% of the fans of my page. Reach is calculated as how many different people see a given post in their news feed.
At the time, Kare’s High Frequency Wellness had about 33,000 fans, so, I was looking for a reach of 3,300 for any given post.
We do a weekly Testimonial Tuesday post, where we share someone’s story with the Purple Rice.
I always upload these directly to Facebook, and they are posted weekly, so I figured they’d make a pretty good test.
In Dottie’s Testimonial Tuesday, she talks about how our product helped with her symptoms from Polio and Gerd.
So, I chose to target:
- Alternative medicine
- Wellness (alternative medicine)
- Deepak Chopra
- End polio now
- Gastresophageal reflux disease awareness
And here were the results…
Dottie’s Testimonial Tuesday had a reach of 3,300 as shown in yellow.
Here’s the interesting thing…
“In tests, we’ve seen that organic reach stays about the same while engagement goes up. Interest tags help Facebook better match content with audiences, prioritizing posts on particular topics for the users who are most likely to be interested in those topics. Interest tags don’t limit a post’s distribution — they just help it reach the most relevant subset of an audience.”
When you compare Dottie’s Testimonial Tuesday with these untargeted ones, the reach is about the same, and so is the engagement – shown in blue and pink.
On Jenn Possick…
Then I tested a few times when posting to my own Facebook Business Page.
My page has about 12,000 fans so I’m aiming for 1,200 in reach.
Below is a comparison between the reach of my last 2 blog posts – one using Preferred Audience, the other without.
Now, to be honest, my reach could definitely be better with both of these.
The interesting thing is with sharing the blog posts, I always send these out to everyone on my email list first, so most people who read my blog, probably get to it through the emails, not Facebook, which ultimately may make the reach a little lower. (Though, having lower reach on these definitely bugs me. A lot.)
Here’s the blog post with targeting in the middle.
So, you can see the reach was 504 – not great. You can also see the post right after it was a dismal 62 and the post right before was actually on track with 1,200 in reach.
For targeting, I used:
- Network marketing
- Network Marketing Pro
- Multi-level marketing
- Internet marketing
- Direct selling
Here’s my non-targeted blog post.
With my non-targeted post, my reach and engagement were definitely lower. So, in this case, the Preferred Audience targeting seemed to have an slight impact on both the reach and the engagement.
Honestly, the jury is still out. At this point, I’m not sure how much Preferred Audience makes a difference. Sometimes it seems to help, sometimes not so much.
I do wonder if, like what happens so often when running a Facebook Ad, the issue is with the targeting.
For myself, I’m not going to stop using Post Planner to schedule posts just so I can just the Preferred Audience tool. But, I will still keep using it and see if I can figure out better targeting when I am uploading a post directly to Facebook.