A blog about Facebook marketing

Explaining conjunctive targeting on Facebook and why you should use it

Wednesday, December 17, 2014 Sven Hamberg

As we’ve shown before, the fact that Facebook offers astonishing opportunities for advertisers to reach their specific target audience is no news to any online advertiser. In this post I’ll dive into a rather unutilised Facebook advertising feature called Conjunctive targeting (sometimes referred to as AND targeting) and show you how it can be used to improve the performance of your advertising campaigns.

Say you’re advertising for a high-end hamburger sports bar and restaurant in Boston that only shows ice hockey. You know that your best customers tend to be males in their twenties to thirties so they are the people you want to reach. I'm guessing your Facebook audience setup would look something like this:

  • Location: Living in Boston
  • Age: 20-40
  • Gender: Male
  • Interests: Ice Hockey, Hamburgers

What’s wrong with this setup? At first glance it might seem like it’s perfect, your Facebook ads are reaching Bostonian males within your age range who like ice hockey and hamburgers, right? Wrong.

You’re reaching Bostonian males within your age range who like ice hockey OR hamburgers. This is a problem since the whole ice hockey experience is very much at the centre of what you do, so just reaching people who like burgers doesn’t cut it, and neither does reaching only hockey fans (because you make your money from people buying your awesome burgers).

Actual Facebook audience

You want the intersection of the two groups - people who like both ice hockey and burgers.

Desired Facebook audience

Facebook’s targeting is built so that any interests you select are in an OR relation with each other by default. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a problem, but for some cases it completely ruins your setup and has you spending your budget on reaching a lot of people that just aren’t relevant to your business. This goes for any other targeting criteria too, and can often make sense when the intersection isn’t important.

Fortunately, there is a way around this: Conjunctive targeting on Facebook. With this feature you are free to choose whether you want an AND or an OR relation between different targeting categories. Some have a natural OR relation and thus doesn’t have the AND relation. Take location as an example; it wouldn’t make sense to build a target audience to reach people who live in San Diego AND Kuala Lumpur, but you might want to reach people who live in either one of these places.

Interests on the other hand can be very useful to specify with an AND relation, like shown in the sports bar example above. This of course also goes for other categories, like behaviours. If you for example are looking for early users of your new app for simple bookkeeping, you’d probably be able to find your audience by combining the behaviours Small business owners with Technology early adopters. Either one of these (the OR case) doesn’t make sense, and just targeting small business owners might lead to an inefficient spending of your budget.

Hope this short run down of conjunctive targeting was useful to you, and please let us know if you have any experiences from using it by commenting below!

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