Facebook’s Expanding Interests: Should You Use It?

Facebook: Expanding Interests: Should You Use It?

The two things essential to the growth of every online business are firstly collecting a pool of customers and secondly retaining them. However, when you have crossed a certain level in terms of your online market share or sales, there is a need to develop even further and explore new markets. In such cases, Facebook Ads can be particularly helpful since they allow you to explore new audiences on the basis of their interests.

Before getting into the actual Facebook Interest Expansion, which is the real scope of this article, let’s first understand what Interest Targeting really is and how does it work

What is Facebook Interest Targeting?

Facebook claims that since they have a database of more than 1.8 Billion people using the platform, it becomes the ideal place to explore new audiences for businesses operating online. For this purpose, Facebook allows its Ads to be targeted on people with specific interests, behaviours, and hobbies. You can focus your Facebook marketing campaigns on people interested in a specific tv show, food channel, profession, or even a sport. This not only narrows down the pool of people to target but also helps advertisers create content that is relatable to the target audience and resonates with them on a deeper level.

‘Expand Interests’

The Expand Interests option in targeting allows Facebook to reach a broader set of people with your ad, than those already defined in the detailed targeting section. By checking the box, you let Facebook show your ad to additional people whenever it thinks it’s going to be helpful. A portion of your existing ad budget is split between the audience you have specified and the ones Facebook thinks are relevant.

Does Interest Expansion Really Work?

The whole Expanding Interests phenomenon currently seems to be more of a hit and trial method that works well in cases where your targeting abilities are weaker than those of Facebook’s algorithm, which is true in most of the cases.

The way it works is that it looks into the interests of the people currently interacting with your ads or your close competitors’ ads and then develops a focused ‘interests mix’. This can be quite helpful considering that these interests are collected from Facebook’s internal data and might include some important things you yourself would never have been able to find out.

A simple example to understand this would be that if you were running ads for a Culinary Arts program, you would most likely pick Cuisine as a target interest. However, you may not know that people with an interest in Cuisine only like eating and don’t convert. Instead, most people who like Weddings are more interested in taking a Culinary Arts program. In such a case it is highly unlikely that you will ever come across this observation but with the whole Expansion deal, you have this figured out.

Is it Worth Using?

However helpful it may seem, the ‘Expand Interests’ option still plays around with your ad budget and might even cost you more than you expected in the first place. It splits up your ad budget into two major parts, one of which goes to the interests you’ve yourself set, and the other to the ones set by Facebook. This makes it crucial to ask if the option is even worth using, or does it just rip you off without helping at all.

After a series of test experiments and case studies, AdEspresso has concluded that the Expand Interests option can be quite useful when you’re dealing with relatively smaller audiences (∼100k). However, when working with larger audiences (around a million people or more), the benefit may be lesser. A feasible solution to this dilemma would be to start without the ‘Expand Interests’ option and then monitor the frequency rate of the ads closely. If the frequency rate and CPA start to rise, you can enable the option.

All in all, there is no one hard and fast rule to whether you should or shouldn’t use the option. The key is to closely monitor your campaigns and their response both with and without expanding interests, and then take a more informed decision based on your observations.

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