Facebook recently released yet another update to its digital marketing platform. The most recent addition, called Detailed Targeting, allows marketers to combine AND, OR, and EXCLUSION targeting to either narrow in on a very specific audience, or expand to a large, but still targeted audience. Some are referring to it as Flex Targeting because of the extensive flexibility it gives marketers in reaching the audience they want. Here is a link to Facebook’s description of the tool: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/182371508761821, as well as a recent Digital Marketer article, which may help clarify the use for Detailed Targeting (referred to here as Flex Targeting): http://www.digitalmarketer.com/facebook-flex-targeting/.
As for its use in higher education, here are a couple ideas you might want to consider as you begin to use Detailed Targeting in Facebook:
- Require that prospects have more than one specified interest to be included in a target. Let’s say your department offers a Master’s in Public Health and you’re trying to attract people who may also be considering an MBA. You can now target people who have an interest in both health care AND business. Before now, you could only require one of these interests or target them in separate ad sets.
- Expand a particular target without losing relevance. Because budgets and targeting are determined at the ad set level in Facebook — and because budgets have required minimums — creating several ad sets that target niche audiences can be quite expensive. With Detailed Targeting, you can combine more than one set of targeting parameters into one ad set. For instance, if you offer a Project Management certificate program for people who have either a particular job title or a bachelor’s degree, you may want to specify that your target audience must have an interest in project management AND either have graduated from college or have a particular job title. This approach captures all relevant audience members in one ad set.
- Exclude particular audiences. This tool is particularly useful for schools who are marketing a degree-completion program — which is only relevant for prospects who don’t already have a degree, but who may already have some college credits. Using the associate’s degree or some college targeting options makes sense, but these parameters often limit the size of the audience, and may miss people who haven’t indicated their level of education on Facebook. As an alternative, EXCLUDING people who have a college degree or an advanced degree delivers a larger audience, and ensures that your marketing is not missing its core audience.
There are, of course, many other relevant use cases for higher education, and we encourage you to explore them. Facebook is quickly becoming one of the more powerful tools available for higher education marketing. Are you taking full advantage of it?