Did you know that Facebook Ads can be used as a market research tool for your business?
What are Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads are paid ads that Facebook users create. The ads show up on the right hand side of Facebook pages and advertise a product, service, special, event or ask people to like a Facebook page to hopefully generate business for the ad’s creator.
The ads are targeted meaning they only display on people’s Facebook pages and other pages they visit when the information they’ve given about themselves (i.e. likes, interests, activities, opinions, age, gender, etc.) match the ads’ specified audience characteristics.
For example, if your ads’ specified characteristics are for people who are female, between the ages of 50 to 65, like football or croquet and live in Vancouver, BC then your ads would only show to an audience with these characteristics.
Facebook Ads as a Market Research Tool
Besides ad creation, Facebook Ads can also be used as a market research tool by entering characteristics of audience(s) that you think would be interested in your product or service as you create your Facebook Ad.
For example, say you’re a coffee shop. Students maybe one of your audiences. You can create a Facebook ad targeting them by entering the characteristics that typically describe them: female or male, 16 to 27 age range, likes snowboarding, environmentally conscious, lives in the city where your coffee shop is, etc.
Facebook Ads then shows you the number of Facebook users who fit those characteristics that it will display your ad to. As this number is based on over a billion Facebook users, it’s a good estimate of how many potential student customers there are in your coffee shop’s area. Just rinse and repeat for other audiences who you think “fit” your coffee shop, such as business people, retirees or moms, etc. to get their numbers.
Used in this way, Facebook Ads can be your own free market research firm If you really know the characteristics of your audiences. Facebook Ads can research your present market(s) and explore new ones. It can show you how many potential customers there are for by a given city, age group, gender, interests, etc. for you. It can also show you if there are enough customers with the characteristics you specify for a product or service that you’re thinking of introducing.
Using Facebook Ads is free; you pay only when your created ads goes live. In order to use it though, you first need to setup a Facebook page for your business. Setting up your Facebook business page is also free (opens in a new window).
Facebook Ads’ Choose Your Audience Section
Once you’ve created your Facebook business page, just click on Create an ad at the bottom of your business page and play around with the Choose Your Audience Section (in the middle of the page) and watch the Audience Count change as you specify your target audience’s characteristics. For example, here is a screen shot of the tool with some basic targeting criteria selected and its corresponding count (highlighted):
Of course Facebook Ads’ purpose is to create ads, but as you’ve seen from above, it’s also a great marketing tool for your business.
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