Facebook Partner Category Targeting & Retargeting & Action Spec Targeting, Oh My


Raise your hand if you’re a marketer who doesn’t care about targeting the ‘right’ audience, at the ‘right’ time, with the ‘right’ message. Yep, that’s what I thought. Every marketer is under a fixed budget and that money has to be spent in a manner that will efficiently and effectively fulfill the goals of the campaign and the overarching organization.

Well, here comes Facebook to save the day. In this post, I will tell you about three targeting methods that help advertisers choose the ‘right’ audience. Facebook definitely has the right stuff, baby!


Partner Category Targeting

For a while now, advertisers have been able to target Facebook users based on geography, age, gender, and specified interests. Facebook is taking targeting to a whole new level by offering Partner Category Targeting. With this option, advertisers can target their audience based on data compiled from Acxiom, Datalogix and Epsilon- experienced data management companies.

For example: Just as car dealerships send mailers to “pre-qualified” individuals based on their credit score, you can do the same. Ok, you can’t get credit score, but you can target people who are likely to purchase a certain make/model, or have ads trigger for users who are high spenders or young/hip moms. Are you a cable company looking to target satellite TV clients? Perhaps you’re interested in users who donate to world relief causes. Facebook’s got you covered!

All partner data is privacy protected- meaning that you won’t know the identities of your target audience. You will only see the size of the audience. Overlay targeting to get a super refined audience, but keep in mind, that this will limit the reach of your audience. If at first you don’t succeed, there are enough options to try, try again.

Facebook Retargeting in Users’ News Feed

Have you ever been to a web site and soon after you start seeing ads for that company follow you around the web? Perhaps the ad you saw even featured the exact blouse or set of golf clubs you were looking at. Did it creep-you-out or did you find it completely timely and relevant? This is called site retargeting and advertisers are experiencing great success with this method of targeting.

How does this tie in to Facebook, you ask? Well, in an earlier post, Justin talked about how Facebook Site Retargeting had become a reality. At the time of his post, ads were only displayed on the right side of the Facebook page. Now site retargeting ads can show within the user’s News Feed.


We love this new targeting option because it’s more than just an ad. In addition to the 25 character headline and 90 character body copy, advertisers get 500 characters for the message copy. This is five times the content available for the right-side ads.

Does it work? It sure does. Advertisers are seeing click through rates 20 to 40 times higher than the right-side Facebook Retargeting ads. No, that’s not a typo!

Action Spec Targeting

Lastly, I want to touch on an announcement made this week about a new method of Facebook targeting, Action Spec Targeting, whereby advertisers will be able to trigger ads based on the recency of user activity. Advertisers are able to target users based on a certain action they performed, such as checking-in to their store, listening to music, or engaging with a specific app. On the flip side, advertisers can also target users who did not perform a specific action.

“Action Spec Targeting” has just been released in beta and only available to Preferred Marketing Developers using Facebook’s Ads APIs. There are limitations to this beta and, like other betas, you can expect it to evolve as Facebook perfects the tool.

In closing, please note that the Facebook Partner Categories are only available for Facebook Power Editor advertisers and the Facebook Retargeting is available through third party platforms, such as AdRoll. Interested in learning more? Or want to share your success stories on Facebook Targeting? Comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

About The Author

Direct Online Marketing is a Top 200 Premier Google Partner in the Managed Agency Program. Expertise in online marketing from our agency has been featured in publications like CIO and Search Engine Roundtable. Sign up for our newsletter to join 1700+ marketing pros, founders, and VPs looking for the latest insights on growing their businesses confidently online.

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