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Facebook Ads’ Best Kept Secret: Occupation Targeting

Marty Weintraub
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With about 100 million users worldwide and a business-forward focus, LinkedIn Ads get all the ink when it comes to B2B social B2C targeting. However Facebook Ads, featuring an astounding 600 million-user global user base, is a formidable ecosystem for targeting professionals of all stripes. After all, those 600 million users have jobs, now don’t they? Yep, sure they do!

Occupations make for fertile marketing targets, because one can be fairly certain about which products and services a particular occupation is likely to use. For example, product Design Engineers, who work for Apple, need touchscreen components for use in iPads and long haul truck drivers need GPS equipment.

Although little has been written about it, there are many methods to target occupations in Facebook. The easiest technique is by, “Literal targeting,” which means to find the actual name of the occupation in the Facebook Ads UI.

There are a number of other methods to glean occupations by a method called, “Inferred targeting,” which means the art of identifying highly focused thematic clusters surrounding a literal target.

Literal Occupation Targeting

Facebook Ads inline help discloses that job titles are included in the Precise Interests attribute (recently renamed from, “Likes & Interests), which makes for incredibly easy pickings for targeting occupations. Surprisingly, this is one of the least known targeting techniques in the Facebook Ads industry.

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Start by typing in the word, “Manager” into the UI. Type a space and then the letters, “Marketing Marke.” That’s right. Don’t complete typing the entire word. Various partial words yield different results and can serve as a filter of sorts.

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Choose all the segments that apply, limit the targeting grid to users over 30 (for more senior managers) and, Bingo! We just just located 32,120 Facebook users who publicly disclose that they are a flavor of marketing manager. Sell them tickets to online marketing conferences, PPC, and SEO toolsets.

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Inferred Targeting

Remember that straight up job titles are not the only way to reasonably ascertain that a Facebook user is a card-carrying member of a certain occupational group. Inferred targeting means locating for natural gathering points surrounding the target. Professional and trade associations are an excellent marker for targeting family physicians.

The next screen capture illustrates users who are, “Interested” in the American Academy of Family Physicians. It’s totally reasonable to infer that these Facebook users are family doctors.

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Trade magazines and and websites are great topical hubs for inferred targeting. Search engines are your friends, when it comes finding trade publication interests to target in Facebook.

Say the marketing assignment is to sell a cool new GPS, and I want to target long haul truckers. One great method to find targetable Facebook users, is to use search and figure out where trucker types tend to congregate.

This Google SERP for the query, “Truck drivers magazine” reveals terrific information, in both the paid and organic search results.

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The first PPC advertiser, “Overdrive Magazine,” has a noticeable pool of interested Facebook users to target. Quite often, if a magazine cares enough to purchase PPC advertising, they’ve also worked to somehow connect with their audience on Facebook.

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The first organic result has a list of magazines that truckers might read. It’s pretty easy to find NextTruck, a popular site listing new and used trucks, trailers, parts, and accessories for sale by private sellers and dealers of trucks and trailers in North America.

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A quick check in the Facebook Ads UI, confirms that those interested in NextTruck are well represented and targetable using Facebook Ads.

Happy Occupation Targeting

There are dozens of methods to find social segments to target occupations in Facebook. Start with literal and then put on your creative had to find inferred targets based on how users naturally cluster around topical themes in real life.

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