Broad vs narrow audiences: How to maximize the impact of your investment in mobile video ads on Facebook

Broad vs narrow audiences: How to maximize the impact of your investment in mobile video ads on Facebook

Auction buying through biddable systems like Facebook and Instagram deliver more precise reach within the intended audience than, for example, broadcast channels. While generally seen as a positive, sometimes this leads advertisers to narrow their targeting and to do so without any real understanding of whether that precision is worth paying for, in terms of total brand impact at a given budget level.

Facebook commissioned MetrixLab to perform a study on the impact of targeting broader audiences on Facebook and Instagram platforms with the same video ad. The purpose of the study was to quantify any potential efficiencies; to understand if there was any impact on brand metrics from targeting broader audiences; and to try and address perceptions that a video asset might not achieve as much relevance among those outside the core audience.

So, we put the idea to the test: Does increased reach efficiency really outweigh any potential reductions in brand metrics, when targeting broader audiences?

What we did

We tested 100 videos on mobile phones that ran on Facebook in five countries. They were from multiple verticals: the test was designed to provide a representative view across Facebook, rather than to give us insight on specific verticals. The categories included food, beverage, pharmaceuticals, retail, fashion, personal and baby care, and beauty.

What we learned

When using more narrow audiences, advertisers face trade-offs. For instance, we found that 66% of videos maintained or improved their performance against our quintile benchmarks when shown to a broad audience.

66% of videos maintained or improved their performance against our quintile benchmarks when shown to a broad audience

Source: Facebook

We also saw that targeting broad audiences could result in an average of 44% more incremental brand recallers, and an average of 31% more incremental purchase intenders with the same budget spend, thanks to greater reach efficiency.

44% more incremental brand recallers and an average of 31% more incremental purchase intenders

Source: Facebook

What it means

The results of the study argue for building mobile-first videos, and for bringing the branding and messaging upfront in the ad for better breakthrough. The study also concluded that any overall reduction in creative impact against broad audiences is outweighed by their reach efficiencies in an auction-based system.

Conduct your own test: try targeting more narrow and broader audiences with the same Facebook mobile video ad.

Source: Facebook-commissioned MetrixLab study of 100 UK/US/BR/ARG/MX mobile video ads that ran on Facebook in 2017, n=20,000.

For more information on this study, read the full article about why broader audiences matter in an auction-based system on Facebook’s website. Plus, learn more about what makes successful Facebook and Instagram video ads for mobile and check out our 5 tips for Instagram Stories ads, as revealed by our previous studies conducted for Facebook.