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The ANDs and ORs of Facebook Targeting

Published: July 8, 2013

Author: Molly Shotwell

Today’s post is by Zach Greenberger, CEO of adMixt.
Recently Facebook released a number of new targeting features giving marketers greater access to specific audiences. In addition to Lookalike Audiences and Partner Categories (written about here and here), Facebook also introduced the ability to combine targeting categories conjunctively.
This new capability, called “Conjunctive AND Targeting”, lets marketers narrow their targets and reach the intersection of two groups. To fully understand how this is valuable, it’s helpful to look at how Facebook targeting works.
Facebook offers a number of targeting categories: Age, Gender, Location, Likes & Interests, Workplace, and many more. As you add more categories to your target, your audience gets smaller. This is because Facebook is giving you the intersection between categories. Your ad is targeting based on Age AND Gender AND Location.
and targeting
But for the categories that allow you to enter multiple values, Facebook is increasing your audience size. This is because Facebook is giving you the aggregate within each category. Your ad is targeting people who live in Los Angeles, CA, OR New York, NY.
or targeting
In summary, the more categories you add, the smaller your audience gets, but the more values within each category you add, the larger your audience gets.
That’s where “Conjunctive And Targeting” comes in. Facebook now lets us narrow our audience to the intersection of multiple values within the same category. The feature applies to Broad Category Targets, Custom Audiences, Lookalike Audiences, and Partner Categories.
Let’s say you’re promoting your new Food-centric Photo Sharing application. You want to build a qualified target, but you want to reach a lot of people. Before conjunctive targeting, if you user Broad Categories to target users in “Photo Uploading” and “Food & Dining”, you’d be reaching about 74,000,000 people in the US. That’s a lot of people, and you can’t be sure the people interested in Food & Dining have ever uploaded a photo.
food or photo
By using “Conjunctive AND Targeting”, we see there are 5,400,000 users in both categories. This is a much more qualified target for your application.
food and photo
Combining the data within Facebook’s new Partner Categories, we couple Facebook’s social data with relevant offline data. For example, if you run a fashion e-commerce site, now you can target users who have an Upscale Department Store Credit Card AND purchase Women’s Apparel AND who engage with Fashion brands on Facebook (840,000 users).
fashion and targeting
Reaching the right audience is like running a scientific experiment. We need to isolate our conditions into many experiments and observe the results of each. Facebook’s targeting tools give us the best ability to segment our audiences of any network online. “Conjunctive AND Targeting” is another valuable tool in this effort, making Facebook the best source of inventory for performance marketing.
“Conjunctive AND Targeting” is available in Facebook’s Ads API. If you need this advanced targeting for your business, you would likely benefit from engaging a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer. To find a PMD, contact adMixt or visit the Facebook PMD Center.
Zach Greenberger admixt Zach Greenberger is the Founder and CEO of adMixt, a Facebook Preferred Marketing Developer focused on performance marketing. 

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