New #FB Profiles Means Better Targeting for Marketers

A week or so ago, Facebook rolled out a massive user profile interface face-lift. With it came brand spakin’ new profile info fields members were encouraged to complete. The “Interests” umbrella burst open. Suddenly, Zuck & Co. wanted to learn about the “People Who Inspire You,” the “Sports You Play,” your “Favorite Teams,” and “Favorite Athletes.” While aesthetic changes in Facebook profiles may not seem relevant to marketers, the new profile elements will effect how some users self-identify and express their predilections… and thus, effecting targeting metrics. Read on to find out how.

Think back to when you created your own FB profile. As a new user, you were asked to type in interests and activities… well, gee, that’s pretty vague. You might have thought to enter “watching football” as an interest, but that’s equally vague. Facebook, in fact, did marketers a great service by rolling out the new profiles with different “interest” categories, ones that directly prompted users what specific athletes they adore, what specific teams they root for. The redesign touched more than just “Interests.” Let’s take a look at the other profile elements that got a UI makeover.

The Basics
“Relationships” have evolved to “Featured People” and, as previously referenced, expanded “Likes and Interests” into separate categories: Philosophy, Arts and Entertainment, Sports and Activities and Interests.

Basic information now asks users what languages they speak:

What opportunities lie here for marketers? Hmm. How about selling study abroad trips to Austria to kids 15-18 who live in the U.S. and speak German?

With the update to profiles, favorite quotations, political and religious views are now a part of “Philosophy.”

Note that not many people will straight-up offer their religious or political views on Facebook, but consider the psycho-graphics behind political parties and you’ve got some deep segments to dive into. Within the Philosophy section lives “People Who Inspire You,” an interest-new-kid-on-the-block. Perhaps Zuckerberg was looking for some ego stroke from hacker-geek-wannabe-millionaires here, but this section will most likely include people along the lines of “Mom” or maybe “Martin Luther King Jr.”

Media & Other Distractions
What was once simply “Likes and Interests,” which encompassed Activities, Interests, Music, Books, Movies and Television…

…now is split up between two different categories: “Arts and Entertainment” and “Activities and Interests.” The newest data field in “Arts and Entertainment” asks for users’ favorite games. The category “games” includes both traditional (board and card games… and Pogs!) as well as video games. Even friggin’ Farmville.

It’s logical to assume folks heavy into World of “War-Crack” or D&D would have listed such pasttimes under “Interests” on their Facebook Profile of yesteryear. Having this space dedicated to games opens up the targeting to people who may not have considered to list games as an interest before.

Sports… RAWR! (How was this not here before?!)
Yes, the Sports category not only asks what sports you play, but with whom (of course, to ensnare those lucky friends with yet another label from your profile) and a description.

Facebook also now explicitly asks for users’ favorite sports teams…

… as well as favorite athletes:

The thing to consider here, marketers, is if you are looking for everyone interested in hockey, be sure to include hockey teams and players.

Reach Out & Touch Someone
Contact Information has gotten even more intimate (read: creepy?). The new profiles ask for:

  • Residence
  • Room
  • School Mailbox

Holy freakin’ cow, man! Markets now potentially have inventory for Facebook users who go to the University of Madison, WI and live in Elizabeth Waters Hall.

Nosh On This
One of the biggest takeaways is this: with new profile elements comes new targeting in bigger numbers. As users are prompted to list what they like in categories, the targeting field expands tremendously. Next time you belly up to the Facebook Ad UI to create segments, ask yourself what your target demographics would enter in their profile for the following (new elements in bold):

  • Languages they speak
  • Relationship status
  • Where they work
  • What college(s) they went to
  • What religion they subscribe to
  • Their political views
  • Who Inspires them
  • What music they like
  • Their favorite books
  • Favorite movies
  • Favorite television shows
  • What games they play
  • What sports they participate in
  • Their favorite sports teams
  • Their favorite athletes
  • What they’re interested in
  • What activities they like to do
  • Neighborhoods
  • College residence halls

This new wealth of criteria and content will no doubt sweeten the inventory pot when it comes to your segments, and by extension, your ad campaigns’, estimated reach.

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