Advertisers are inundated with ways to target Facebook users, from age to gender to interests. But it’s usually up to advertisers to find that special blend of reach and targeting to get in front of the right users. SocialCode, one of Facebook's Strategic Preferred Marketing Developers, thinks it can crack the code. The social marketing firm is rolling out the ability to create influencer segments that can then be targeted with ads, so that an auto advertiser doesn’t need to run ads against the thousands of Facebook users interested in cars but can instead zero in on the hundred who are most likely to write car-related posts that get traction with their friends.
“It’s about finding the people that are really the viral accelerant for a brand,” said SocialCode CIO Addie Conner.
SocialCode has already compiled segments of social influencers based on the content they publish to their News Feeds and spliced them into vertical-specific categories like auto, consumer electronics, fashion, health and beauty, food and beverage, retail and travel. Those segments then become a broad category target that advertisers can use in running their Facebook campaigns, and SocialCode can take into account variables such as how recently someone has proven themselves an influencer on a given topic and their rate of influence.
Conner said the social influencer targeting could be particularly valuable to brands still looking to build out their Facebook community. As opposed to focusing primarily on people most likely to "like" a brand’s page but not necessarily anything further, “let’s build up the most qualified fan base possible of people most likely to engage and have publishing power,” she said.
In addition to the established industry influencer segments, SocialCode can build custom influencer segments for brands. For example, the upcoming film Jack Reacher, starring Tom Cruise, could run ads targeting users deemed influential on the actor. SocialCode could pool people deemed influential on Top Gun, Mission: Impossible and even Katie Holmes for the film to advertise against. It could also pick out users whose posts often feature videos and generate the most plays. The film could then aim its campaign at those influencer segments and trust those targets to propagate the message to their followers.
By finding the users more likely to spread the word with the most impact—helping the platform do what it was built to do, as Conner put it—advertisers can squeeze most cost efficiencies out of their ad campaigns. In testing Social Influencer Targeting, SocialCode found beta advertisers reap three times higher clickthrough rates at half the cost per fan.
SocialCode is also rolling out a tool for brands to figure out what their existing most influential fans look like and then porting those profiles into new ad targets. The Social Influencer Profiling feature uses SocialCode’s Community Optics technology to pick out the demographic and psychographic characteristics of a brand’s most active fans—such as TV shows or charities they like—and create lookalike audience models for the brand to aim ads at prospective new fans.