Facebook's ad engine is easy to use, but difficult to master. Here's a few 'secret' features which may surprise even an experienced Facebook marketer.

Facebook is good at secrets. Often it rolls out functionality without telling anyone but its closest partners. Then the new functionality slowly leaks into the Power Editor ad platform

And it takes even longer for new stuff to get into their consumer-grade ad interface.

Seems that Facebook doesn't want to confuse the newbies ;-)

Keeping up

And knowing these hidden features is what makes our job interesting, and our skills scarce. But over the years the features in the ad platform have grown so vast that it's even hard for the pros to keep up.  

So we tend to stick to what we know and risk missing the exciting, new analytics that are made available periodically.

Well, I recently took a new look at Facebook's ad platform and discovered that they can now answer some questions that I think about every day: 

  • What do my customers use more - mobile or desktop?
  • Who is clicking on my ads more - guys or gals?
  • And how many of my customers drive pickup trucks?

(OK, maybe I don't often think about the last one - but it's good to know that I could find that out, if I ever needed to!)

The secrets

Now, I'm sure that some of you may use these features already and, if so, please share your secrets in the comments. I'd love to see them!

So here are my top three Facebook advertising 'secrets':

1) Facebook will tell you a lot about the people on your email list

The feature: Audience Insights

I've written before about Facebook's custom audiences - a feature which lets you upload your customers' emails and create a target audience on the platform - but what I didn't cover is the 'secret' Audience Insights feature in the Ads Manager.

How it works

If your custom audience is larger than 1,000 (and lookalike's don't count, sadly) then Facebook can tell you great things like:

  • Whether they typically use mobile or desktop to access Facebook.
  • How frequently they liked and commented on posts - and, more importantly, clicked on ads.
  • How old they are.
  • Whether they graduated college.
  • And their relationship status (just in case you're curious...)

Of course they aren't going to tell you such things on a user-by-user basis, but with some segmenting, you should be able to get some really useful, non-obvious info about your customers. 

And this info makes it so much easier when trying to engage them with relevant content in your posts and advertising. 

2) If your audience is in the USA, they will tell you a lot more about them

The feature: Audience Insights++

Some time ago, Facebook partnered with some other personal data aggregators - Datalogix, Epsilon and Acxiom - and linked Facebook data with partners' data on the backend.

Facebook has now made its partners' info available for advertisers - but only for people in their target audience who are based in the US. 

So, included in Audience Insights are the 'secret' sections that only apply to your customers who are in the US.

How it works

Again, as above, you need an audience of 1,000 people (all based in the US) to get this feature.  Once you do, though, the list of what you can find out about your customers is astounding. For example you can find out:

  • Their income bracket,
  • Household size,
  • Online spending habits,
  • And, yes, what type of car they drive.

And though this info is extensive, it's surely just a taster of what's available from these companies - should you have a large budget to spend on audience research.

3) And they will tell you even MORE about people who see your ads.

The feature: Facebook Ads Reporting

When you're viewing your ad data, it's tempting to just make a list of the data points you need - impressions, clicks, etc. - and use the column selector to build your report. Then run it against your campaigns on a daily basis to guage performance. I mean, what else do you need to know? 

Well you're missing out on the fact that Facebook records data about the people who saw your ads so they can tell you, afterwards, who saw them, where they were shown, and what the users did after seeing your ads.

Awesome, right?  This feature is called a 'dimension' - and with this 'secret' feature, you can unleash the real power of Facebook Ads Reporting tool. 

How it works

First, go into the Facebook Reports screen in Ad manager.

There, you click on Edit Columns (as you would to configure a report) and then click on Data Breakdowns.

Here you can select any of the following to add as a new breakdown, or dimension to your report.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Age and Gender
  • Country
  • Placement - was it on news feed, right hand, or mobile
  • Cross-Device - What was the impression device vs. the conversion device
  • Destination

What does it do?

Well have a look at this campaign.  It ran for a week and we got 445,574 people seeing the ad - and 927 clicks. 

But now I want to know how many were male - and how many female.  I go back to my column editor, click into Data Breakdowns, and select Gender.  

Here is the result:

Cool!  I now know that more guys than gals saw my ad - and far more fellas clicked as well.  And I can do the same for where they saw the ad

Ahh thought so - there are a lot of mobile clicks. As I pointed out in a previous article, mobile ads are the source of a lot of clicks - but not a lot of conversions.  So, this is really useful info to know when trying to assess whether a campaign was successful. 

So...

Well hopefully this short tour of Facebook's secret features was enlightening - but I hope even more that it encourages you to find other useful, but not-so-obvious features of this and other ad platforms.   

I think it's through using these ad tools to their fullest that allows us - the serious digital marketers - to distinguish ourselves from the mass of people who dabble in online advertising through the simple ad tool.  Peasants!

And so finally, I also hope is that Facebook keeps these features 'secret' for as long as possible. ;-)

Jeff Rajeck

Published 13 October, 2014 by Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck is the APAC Research Analyst for Econsultancy . You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.  

203 more posts from this author

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Marketing Bees

Interesting post Jeff, it's always good to find out something new :)

over 3 years ago

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SEO Take Over SK

Great tips for facebook marketing. Nowadays as SEO is getting tougher need a new lead generation force other than Google.

over 3 years ago

Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck, Research Analyst at EconsultancySmall Business

Glad you enjoyed it. It's very easy to get into a 'digital marketing rut' when you just don't have time to explore the platform as much as you'd like.

I was particularly pleased when I found out that you can split up the click audience *after* the campaign had run (point 3).

over 3 years ago

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Moodkids

Hi Jeff,
Does this only work for US pages?
We have a mainly Dutch community (8000+) on /moodkidsNL but I don't see the things you mention on my ads manager.
I'm wondering if Facebook thinks that I'm good enough for paying for adds but not good enough for insights?
Maike - Moodkids

over 3 years ago

Jeff Rajeck

Jeff Rajeck, Research Analyst at EconsultancySmall Business

Hmmm - according to a Facebook update in May of this year this functionality should be available globally... Do you at least see the reporting feature?

https://www.facebook.com/business/news/audience-insights

over 3 years ago

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corporate video production company sydney

very interesting, there is allot to learn about online marketing strategies.

over 3 years ago

pk vaish

pk vaish, MD at Livelink New Media

Great article! Supports our recent intro to Facebook marketing http://www.livelinknewmedia.com/blog/what-you%E2%80%99re-missing-facebook-marketing really well.

over 3 years ago

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CuCo

Such a great insight into the ever changing social media.

about 3 years ago

Verity Kennard

Verity Kennard, Content Marketing Intern at StitcherAds

Great round-up Jeff! The analytical tool will certainly give immediate insight into the details of an ad campaign so tweaks can be made to target the right audiences. We've blogged about a similar topic here https://stitcherads.com/top-tip-facebook-advertising-automate-automate-automate/ which I hope others using Facebook Ads for their Christmas marketing strategy will find useful.

Verity
StitcherAds

about 3 years ago

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Andy Tran, Marketer at Vietsisters

I usually get recommend that the advertisements which appeared in the newsfeed get more clicks and conversions, so I usually remove the ads on the right side. So what is the truth?

about 3 years ago

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