Facebook is planning to allow pages to target their posts to new subsets of their audience, including fans of a particular age range or gender, according to a marketer who was briefed by a Facebook representative about the change.
This change, which has begun rolling out to some pages today and should be available to all pages within a few weeks, will give marketers more control over how they communicate with their audiences, and may lead to fewer unsubcribers and more People Talking About if fans start seeing more relevant content.
Age and gender join the existing targeting options of location and language, but it’s unclear whether interest-based audience segmenting will also be allowed. The social network recently announced that it is deprecating an option to publish updates to users who clicked Like buttons on Open Graph objects around the web, so this upcoming targeting option for pages could be a replacement. We’ve reached out to Facebook for more information about which additional criteria page owners will be able to select for targeting their posts.
[Update 7/31/12 11:17 a.m. PT – Facebook did not offer any details about possible targeting options coming to pages. They replied with the following statement, “We are always testing new features across the site. We have nothing further to share at this time.”]
[Update 7/31/12 11:52 a.m. PT – It seems interest-targeting will not be an option for now. Another marketer tells us these are the targeting criteria that will be available for page posts:
– interested in
– relationship status
– location (country, state, city)]
Page post targeting will only apply to News Feed distribution. All posts will remain visible from the page’s Timeline. This will allow the friends of fans who don’t meet the targeting criteria to see stories about their friends Liking or commenting on the post.
The change will benefit page owners who want additional controls to tailor messages to different subsets of their audience. If pages take advantage of the feature, users will see more relevant content. This will likely reduce the number of fans who unsubscribe to posts or unlike pages. It could also help pages increase the Talking About This metric by allowing admins to create multiple posts per day without overwhelming fans. Targeting posts by additional criteria will reduce the number of impressions per post, but feedback should increase if content is more relevant to the fans who see it.
Facebook has offered the ability to target page posts by location and language since 2009. Page owners can currently select location and language targeting options from the page post publisher by clicking the drop-down menu next
Update 7/31/12 11:52 a.m. PT – Here is an image of the new targeting feature from a guide Facebook has shared with some page owners: