Audience Optimization: Tools to Help Facebook Page Posts Reach the Right Users

By David Cohen Comment


Facebook launched a powerful arsenal of tools to help pages ensure that their posts are being seen by the users who are most likely to engage with them.

Product manager Peter Roybal announced the launch of organic targeting tool Audience Optimization in a Facebook Media blog post, saying that the tool and its new features are available to all English-language pages, and they will automatically be turned on for pages with more than 5,000 likes.

The three main features of Audience Optimization, as described by Roybal, are:

Preferred Audience: Publishers can add interest tags to their content, and those tags help the social network prioritize the content most likely to interest users and ensure that it appears in their News Feeds.


Audience Restrictions: Publishers can determine which users would most likely not find their content relevant based on location, language, age or gender.


Audience Insights: Separate from Facebook’s already existing Page Insights, Audience Insights provides analytics for each post and breakdowns by interest tag, helping publishers determine which tactics are working and which need to be tweaked.


Facebook’s Get Started page for Audience Optimization provided the following instructions for page administrators who want to begin using the features:

  • Go to your page.
  • Click settings in the top-right-hand corner.
  • Click general in the tab column on the left side of the page.
  • Find the row labeled “Audience Optimization for Posts” in the middle of the page and click edit.
  • Check off the box that that allows you to begin using the feature.


Roybal said Audience Optimization is available via the following platforms:

  • Page post composer: In your composer, use the targeting icon to add tags and restrictions.
  • Graph API: Add interest tags to your posts through the Graph API.
  • Third-party publishing tools: Add tags and restrictions directly to your posts in third-party publisher platforms like SocialFlow and Sprinklr.
  • Instant Articles: When adding an Instant Article to your RSS feed, add tags straight to your stories.

He added:

The variety and amount of content available to people is growing, so having more information about who is likely to be interested in your content helps us get your posts to the people who will care about them most. We heard feedback from media publishers that they were looking for products to help them better target their posts, so we worked to improve the suite of Publisher Tools we launched last year and are replacing Interest Targeting with Audience Optimization. Unlike the Interest Targeting feature that preceded it, the tags in Audience Optimization help a post reach the most relevant subset of a publisher’s audience without restricting reach.

The Get Started page also includes a frequently asked questions section, and highlights include:

  • What’s in it for Facebook? This is the latest step in Facebook connecting people with the unique set of content that will inform and entertain them.
  • What are Preferred Audience interest tags based on? Preferred Audience interest tags are created from popular Facebook Open Graph pages, Facebook ads tags and other Facebook-specific data sets.
  • Does Preferred Audience limit your reach? No, it does not stop posts from appearing anywhere on Facebook.
  • How does this impact organic reach? In tests, we’ve seen that organic reach stays about the same while engagement goes up. Interest tags help Facebook better match content with audiences, prioritizing posts on particular topics for the users who are most likely to be interested in those topics. Interest tags don’t limit a post’s distribution—they just help it reach the most relevant subset of an audience.
  • Can you target people that are not fans of your page? (Can you target your post beyond people who have liked your page?) No. Posts made to your page with Preferred Audience will help improve visibility for the right segments of your page’s audience.
  • Is this News Feed targeting? Page post gating? Both? Preferred Audience does not prevent a post from appearing in the News Feeds of people who don’t have that interest—unlike its predecessor (Interest Targeting, launched in December 2014), which did remove posts from News Feed and, thus, limited reach. Instead, Preferred Audience prioritizes posts on topics to users who share those interests. Audience Restrictions, sometimes called “gating,” is designed to limit the visibility of a post everywhere on Facebook. For example, if a publisher restricts a post to age 18-plus, younger people will not be able to see the post.
  • Can I create my own custom interest tags? No. You cannot create custom tags.
  • Can I add interest tags when posting to my page from a mobile device? No. Interest tags currently must be assigned through the desktop website.
  • What happens if I want to boost a tagged post or advertise a tagged post? Do I have to use the post’s interest tags? No. The boosted post will be treated as a regular ad, and you can set up the targeting separately.

Facebook also provided a detailed best practices guide for adding interest tags, and the most prominent takeaways are:

  • Target audiences with relevant tags.
  • Tag with a mix of broad and narrow terms.
  • Think associatively about related interests.
  • Consider including organizations and brands.
  • Use tags with small audiences strategically.
  • Save locations for relevant stories.
  • Use trending memes and hashtags.

Page admins: Are you anxious to get started with Audience Optimization?