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


Keep in Touch

Want fresh perspective on communications trends & strategy? Sign up for the SHIFT/ahead newsletter.

Ready to shift ahead?

Let's talk