88 - Tip Tuesday Navigating Facebook Ads and Facebook Data with Mason Pelt

Instead of show notes this week, Mason was kind enough to write-up what he discussed, along with images!

Facebook offers a lot of powerful tools for market research. You have audience insights that rival nearly any tool in the industry for consumer analytics, and can use graph search to spy on competitors. But, if you get creative, the Facebook Ads Manager can up your competitor analysis to James Bond levels.

I’m going to walk you over a fictitious example. Let’s say I have an idea for a new company that will offer hot air balloon rides over DFW airport. (I didn’t say my idea was good.) So, naturally, before I look into those pesky FAA guidelines and Federal Laws with those men in suits who don’t like people hovering over airports, I start my analysis of prospective customers. I’m a startup. I have to move fast and break things.

Make Some Lists

I like to use a Google spreadsheet to keep a list of companies, interests and events that are similar to my idea. Let’s start by making some basic lists. I search the internet to find:

Competitors - I seem to have no direct competitors (maybe because of the aforementioned men in suits). There are, luckily, a few indirect competitors offering hot air balloon rides in the DFW area. These are worth noting, because their customers could someday become mine. Mine! All mine! Bwahahaha!

Topical Interests - Hot air balloons is an interest on Facebook, but we’re in out-of-the-box mode. I need to think way more than that… The movie, “Up,” comes to mind, but I’m not sure those people will buy what I offer. So, I’m going to use my old friend Google (or Bing or DuckDuckgo.com). Hey, look! There are hot air balloon festivals in Dallas. Let’s add those to the list and see if I can target them on Facebook.

Similar Interests - This can be nearly anything. Maybe people who like aerial photography would like hot air balloons for the great vantage point. People who like skydiving may want to try this. You know what? Tom Petty Fans... My customers will be fans of, ”Free Fallin’.” And, since John Mayer did a cover of that song, I’ll throw in his fans for good measure.

I now have a list of all the ideas I came up with and spaces to list the number of people interested.

So, with this lovely little list complete, it’s time to start mining data. Keep in mind, since Facebook requires 10,000 unique interactions a month to become available for ads targeting, you may want to stick with larger companies and interests, then target down to your needed geographic area.

Now for Data Mining

First, I’m going to make an ad just for data mining. I recommend using Facebook Power Editor, because of the power. Facebook.com/ads/manage/powereditor . Now, make a new Ad Set, because Facebook ad targeting is controlled at the ad set level.


Using an obvious interest (hot air ballooning), I’m fairly certain that is everyone in the US who had some interaction on Facebook having to with hot air ballooning, in the last month.

By changing gender from “all” to “men,” and then to “women,” I can see a breakdown of this interest by gender.


You can see over 60% of those interested are female, with 86,000 women and only 52,000 men. This may be worth noting. But, since I don’t have a national product, let’s take a look at the DFW area.


When I changed the location to Dallas +25 miles, I went from 140,000 people in my target audience to 2,200. Now, let’s try doing some breakdowns based on age range.


By adjusting age, you can learn a lot as well. For instance, of the 2,200 people in DFW in my interest target, 1,340 are over 47 years old.


Of those over 47, 880, or slightly over 65%, are women.

With two larger interests, you can also find affinities. For instance, how many people like both Jack and Coke? I really wanted to use Crown Royal Whisky and Royal Crown Cola as an example, but those targets were too small for an affinity analysis.


To explain this would mean another blog post about “and vs. or” targeting. In this case, we are targeting 19,400,000 people in the US who like Jack Daniel’s or Coca-Cola. But with the magic of math, we can find how many people like both Jack and Coke.


Here comes math... 16,000,000 + 6,200,000 = 22,200,000. 22,200,000 - 19,400,000 = 2,800,000 Class, there are 2,800,000 fans who like both Jack Daniels and Coca-Cola.

Everything is manual, so this method of competitive analysis is a lot of work and is time-consuming. However, there is a lot of power in spying on your competitors and as many consumer institutions as you can generate.

You can find Mason at MasonPelt.com


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