At conferences I am often asked if Facebook advertisers can target status updates. I know, I know, there is no way to specifically target users’ status updates with Facebook Ads. However, understanding how Facebook graphs users’ status updates, in transient waves, can be very powerful.
As I write I’m about to leave LAX for a little R&R and business in the land down under. I let my friends know, by FB status update, that I am about to depart on the 10:40PM flight to Sydney, Australia.
Sure enough, within about 4 minutes a couple of friends hopped on into my red-numbered world to comment on my status update.
I clicked on Rob’s comment and was taken to the status update thread, where the comments were occurring. 3 out of the 6 ads on the right hand sidebar were all about Australia.
Wow! Now that’s some really serious targeting might. The ads appeared under a different sponsored heading moniker. Instead of reading, “Sponsored,” the heading of the ads column read, “Related Ads.” This is the first time I ever recall being targeted with ads about Australia. I would notice something like that because I pay serious attention to how I’m targeted. I also change out my interests and other attributes that I know effect things, just to feel out FB’s social graph targeting.
What’s super interesting is that the next 14 times time I revisited the thread detail page; the ads had nothing to do with Australia.
The effect of such status update motivated ads is truly transient in nature seems to only occur sometimes, when a user visits a themed thread. The fourteenth time into the thread, the Australia ads showed up again. Cool!
Think of how powerful this transient targeting can be for marketers, who understand that users can be fingered in the heat of a thread at the first moments of interest, friend’s engagement and if they keep coming back for more. Keep this transient targeting hack in mind, oh marketers, as you brainstorm about the demographic segments in your FB campaigns. Think about the heat of thread engagement amongst like minded community members and leverage it to the hilt.