Why You Should Test Facebook’s Targeting Expansion?

Advertising on Facebook’s social media platform has proved to be quite an effective method for advertisers to reach their audience especially due to the high number of registered users. For this reason, many advertisers have turned to these social platforms as their go-to for maximum results from their ad campaigns. Facebook has also been working on improving the experience for advertisers and it launched “targeting expansion” in November 2016 to help advertisers to derive more success.

“Targeting expansion” is an ad targeting feature that the company introduced for advertisers so that they can expand their target audience if they want better results. Think of it as fine-tuning the settings so that the reach will be more effective. The company introduced the feature as part of ad campaigns that traverse various types of ads including engagement, app installs, and conversions among others.

The settings for the “targeting expansion” feature are located just under the detailed targeting section. Facebook’s idea for the feature was to make an ad campaign more visible to other people other than the already selected audience. Sometimes the best way to determine whether a feature works as well as claimed is to simply carry out a test.

Digital Marketer decided to put Facebook’s new feature to the test and the findings were rather interesting. The people behind the website launched two identical campaigns but with the “targeting expansion” box ticked on one of the campaigns to determine the effectiveness of the feature. The ad campaign was a website conversion typical to that which any website would use to attract more views. The website set aside a budget of $5000 per set and the experiment went on for 10 days.

Digital Marketer released the findings of the test revealing that things did not turn out as Facebook claims. According to the findings, the cost per lead for the set in which the target expansion box was checked higher by 25 percent. This is contrary to the social media giant’s claim that the cost when the box is ticked would come down.

According to the chart above which was published on the Digital Marketer, ticking the targeting expansion box provided less desirable results. This could be due to any number of factors such as more qualified traffic when the ad target expansion box was checked.

The results of the test do not necessarily mean that the feature is flawed or that it does not work the way Facebook intended it to work. It is important to consider that it was just a single test and thus making a final conclusion from a single test is not ideal. The results may have turned out differently under different circumstances such as a different type of ad campaign other than conversion. For those who want to stick to the findings made by Digital Marketer, leaving the targeting expansion box unchecked would be the lesson learned.

Perhaps the targeting expansion feature is best used for instances where the advertiser is looking to address a new audience. It might thus not be ideal for scaling up ads as Digital Marketer discovered through their campaign. Perhaps one of the best ways to use the box is when advertisers are trying to prevent their ads from showing up multiple times to the same user. The website reported that it is carrying out more tests to determine how to best use the feature.

Meanwhile, the results of the first test paint quite a powerful feature considering the significant differences in the outcome. This might have a huge impact on whether or not advertisers tick the target expansion box. However, Facebook has remained committed to improving the features in its services. It might turn out that the different results were due to a problem with the feature itself which means the company will most likely carry out a review and then update it so that it can achieve its purpose as initially intended.

The social media giant continues to collect data and feedback from its services including the target expansion. The company thus continues to improve its algorithms and thus the feature will most likely get better with time. In the meantime, it looks like leaving the box unchecked would be the best course of action.

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Marko Pyhajarvi

Highly experienced business author, speaker, coach and consultant living in London, UK. Addicted to endurance training and trailrunning. Live your life to the fullest.