Build Your Skills: Facebook Audience Insights for Local Marketers

Say you’re launching a new, local business focused solely on women’s outdoor supplies. It would be nice to know how many women interested in hiking live near your store, right? With Facebook’s Audience Insights, you can not just find where your ideal audience lives, but also what they like and what they’ve already bought.

Here is the audience data Facebook’s Audience Insights tool allows businesses to explore, via the Audience Insights page:

  • Demographics: Age and gender, lifestyle, education, relationship status, job role, and household size
  • Page likes: The top Pages people like in different categories, like women’s apparel or sports
  • Location and language: Where do people live, and what languages do they speak
  • Facebook usage: How frequently are people in your target audience logging onto Facebook and what device(s) they are using when they log on
  • Purchases activity: Past purchase behavior (i.e. heavy buyers of women’s apparel) and purchase methods (i.e., in-store, online)

However, if you’re a local marketer who is new to Audience Insights, all that data might seem a bit overwhelming. Here’s a quick walk-through to get you started:

Using Facebook Audience Insights

Step 1:  Log Into Facebook from Your Brand Account

The first step for toward gaining audience insights is choosing which audience you’d like to see: people connected to your page, Facebook’s entire audience, or a custom audience.


If you’re hoping for more information about your existing customers, choose “people connected to your page” However, if you’re looking for insights into your customers’ broader interests or hoping to use demographic data to target a new audience, seeing data for Facebook users outside your social sphere is oftentimes incredibly helpful.

It’s also possible to use a custom audience if you’re already using Facebook Custom Audiences. To use Custom Audiences, you’ll need to upload a list of email addresses; Facebook then matches the address to accounts. Using custom audiences can give excellent new insights into your existing customers’ demographics, location, and interests.  

Step 2: Select Segment Parameters

After you select your audience, you’ll narrow your scope further. First, by location. Facebook’s default location is the U.S., but you can alter this by typing a new country in the location box and choosing from the drop-down menu. If you don’t want to include the U.S., just hover over the word and click X to remove it.

Local businesses can narrow their search to a specific town or even neighborhood, in some cases. Leaving the location box blank allows you to look at demographics across the entire world. From there, you can further narrow your audience based on age and gender.

The next step is to segment audiences based on interest. For example, if you’re looking to target women in Los Angeles ages 18-25 interested in hiking, typing “hiking” into the search box gives many different search results, including pages related to hiking.


Step 3: Interact with Audience Data

As you narrow down your audience, demographic data will appear to the right of the search boxes. Audience Insights provides a look at your target audiences’ relationship status, education level, and common job titles. Page likes, location, and activity are also available to all Facebook Audience Insights users.

The page likes section is split into two parts. The first shows the pages your selected audience already likes.


The second shows the pages they would probably be more open to liking than the average Facebook user.


The location tab allows you to see your selected audiences’ top cities, top countries, and top languages. If you have narrowed your search to a single country, the results will remain within that country. For those who have searched for audiences within a specific region, this data can tell you if your Facebook page is reaching local audiences.


The final tab shows user activity in two sections. The first is based on frequency: how often your audience is liking pages, commenting, sharing, redeeming promotions, and clicking. For example, Los Angeles women hikers comment on posts a lot more than they redeem promotional offers. The second section lets you know which device your audience is using to access Facebook. According to our test segment, female hikers don’t seem to be particularly interested in iPads. 


Step 4: Save

After you’ve segmented your audience, you can save the insights by clicking the “Save” button at the top of the page and giving your audience a name. The data will then be stored in Power Editor and can be selected for use in future campaigns.

Step 5: Build Your Ad

Once you’ve seen your audience demographics, studied their likes, and gotten some information about the devices they’re using, it’s time to build an ad. Click on the green “Create Ad” button at the top left of the screen to get started.

Best Practices with Facebook Audience Insights

Keep up with your audiences: So once you’ve saved a few audiences, you can just set it and forget it, right? Not so fast. Audiences change over time, and while, right now, your audience is very likely to be watching This Is Us on Tuesday nights, that won’t necessarily be the case a month from now. It’s best to check in on your saved audiences every couple of weeks.

Search for new potential: While it’s always a good idea to know your typical customer, Facebook Audience Insights offers a glimpse into literally billions of people’s interests. Keep an open mind as you’re playing with audience segments; you could potentially unlock a whole new customer base.

Don’t be afraid to get specific: On the other hand, marketing your products or services to people who will probably never be interested in is a pretty big waste of precious ad spend. Try to be as specific as possible when narrowing down audience interests. For example, targeting scuba divers with ads for bikinis probably won’t work even though fans of both generally like the beach.

Use that data elsewhere: And once you’ve used Facebook Audience Insights to target your fans on social media, don’t stop there. Use these insights in all of your marketing campaigns. Knowing your customer before he or she ever walks through the door is a powerful tool to have in your belt.  

One Response to “Build Your Skills: Facebook Audience Insights for Local Marketers”

  1. Nathan Jones says:

    Nice post! Facebook insights gives us a better understanding of what our customers want from our page and business in general. It’s an excellent way tracking the growth of our page and determine how successful our facebook marketing efforts are. By monitoring the data, we can learn how to improve our page most effectively and determine if we are on the right track.Thank you for sharing!

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