Up until the beginning of the year, companies were advertising within Facebook to Jersey and Guernsey users without any problem. Suddenly, after Facebook introduced changes to its advertising platform, the number of users it believed present in the islands fell dramatically from tens of thousands to just over two thousand! This meant it was no longer possible to graphically target adverts to people in one or both of the islands, click throughs plummeted as adverts no longer displayed to their true target audience.
While there still doesn’t seem to be a way of correctly geo-targeting Facebook ads to Jersey inhabitants (please share if you know a way!), there is a workaround. It isn’t as convenient or effective, but it will get your ads to the people that matter until Facebook rectifies the situation. I’m not a Facebook advertiser myself, but some of my clients are, and I need to thank the people behind Jersey Voucher for sharing this specific tip!
Targeting users by Interests rather than Geographic location
The workaround involves targeting user’s Interests rather than location. Experimentation has shown that there are a number of types of interest that Jersey residents are likely to have. Interests are not just what the user has directly specified in the interest field on their profile, as Facebook Help explains:
“Precise Interest targeting lets you define your ideal audience by what they are interested in, using terms people have shared in their Facebook profiles. These may be drawn from their listed interests, activities, education and job titles, pages they like or groups to which they belong.”
Before selecting the specific interests we need to select a geographic target group of the United Kingdom and Jersey. From the results achieved it is obvious that Facebook is placing the lost Channel Island users into the United Kingdom group, so include this alongside the depleted Jersey location.
To select interests that Jersey people might like (and non-Jersey residents will not) it is best to think about events, companies, and products specific to the island. In my quick experiment I came up with the following list: Quids in, Jersey Live Festival, Jersey Telecom, Channel 103 FM and well Jersey! While I accept that not every user returned from this list will be living on the island, a high percentage should be. If you make the associated Facebook advert obviously Jersey by displaying a local image or mentioning Jersey in the ad text then this should lower the number of non-locals clicking on it and wasting your advertising budget.
It was estimated back in March that 51% of the UK population hold a Facebook account, so extrapolating this we can estimate 45,000 users in Jersey. While the figure I came up with of 30,920 users from targeting locals by Interests, still falls short of this figure, it’s a big improvement on the 1,340 users when selecting Jersey as a geographic location alone. I imagine there are also many other interests that can be found to increase this figure, although you’ll to balance the number of users with the likelihood of them being based in Jersey.
Please let me know in the comments below how you get on with using this technique and if you find any ways of developing and enhancing it further.