How to validate your PR audience targeting with Facebook Graph Search

What’s the first, most dangerous mistake that any PR or marketing campaign can make?

Not knowing who the audience is.

This is a mistake I’ve seen all too frequently – we rush to begin work on our ad campaign or our PR campaign without a deep understanding of who it is we’re trying to reach, when we could save ourselves considerable time and money by identifying the target audiences first based on who we already know. For example…

  • What job titles do they have?
  • Where do they work and live?
  • What publications do they read?

An incredible amount of this information is discoverable with minimal effort using Facebook’s Graph Search. Here’s an example using SHIFT Communications. Let’s say we’ve got a list of three publications we want to validate as good targets for our audience: Forbes Magazine, Sports Illustrated, and Better Homes & Gardens. In Facebook’s Graph Search, we’d type in people who liked SHIFT Communications and each of these three publications.

Here’s Better Homes & Gardens and SHIFT:

(1) People who like Better Homes and Gardens and SHIFT Communications

Four pages of results there.

Meanwhile, SHIFT and Forbes nets a whopping 31 pages of results:

(1) People who like SHIFT Communications and Forbes

And SHIFT and Sports Illustrated:

(1) People who like Sports Illustrated | and SHIFT Communications

A scant 2 1/2 pages.

Thus, if we were deciding on an outlet to focus on for our PR efforts, Forbes would be the clear winner from just this basic Graph Search data. If we wanted to dig in even deeper, we could look at the job titles and places of employment for each of these publications’ audiences to see which was a better fit for our PR and marketing needs, especially if the results were close and we had limited budget to work with.

Try this out the next time you’re thinking about which publications to target, which audiences you have, and where you want to earn placements, try this simple set of searches and see if you’re on target or not!

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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Posted on July 1, 2013 in Advertising, Facebook, Marketing, Public Relations, Social Media, Strategy

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change. Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim. He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast. Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.
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