Ethnic Micro-targeting on Facebook

So again I open my email to an article about the creepy way of finding Jews to market to on Facebook, this time entitled, Kosher Ham’s Jewdar Tell-All.  A while back, I commented on how I would identify people by ethnicity on Facebook, Ethnic Targeting on Facebook, and I was amused to see an article almost half a year later laying out the things that popped into my head in 10 minutes.  However, there were two things that bothered me in this article:

  1. Actually targetting Jews with an advertisement for a “Kosher Ham” business seems really bottom of the barrel, a proud Christian or Muslim wouldn’t target their fellow members of faith with an anti-Christian or anti-Muslim business, would they?
  2. They outrageously list the social groups they target, listing a few historically Jewish fraternities and leave out AEPi (Alpha Epsilon Pi), the Jewish fraternity.

In all seriousness, the point they make is that when targeting a group, you aren’t looking for 100% accuracy, just decent accuracy.  The US Jewish population is about 2%, targeting everyone looking for Jewish customers is pointless.  However, online we can develop sub groups with decent Jewish accuracy, and similar options exist for other populations.

For example, approximately 12% of New York City is Jewish, if you target people in New York City, you’ll get more non-Jews than Jews, but you are reaching 6 times more Jews than reaching just the United States.  Further, looking for keywords associated with secular Jewish culture (obviously a business making fun of Jewish dietary law as part of its snark isn’t looking for religious affiliation), you can start to reach a targeted segment.

Now, many, perhaps most Jews on Facebook won’t have ANY interests related to Jewishness on their profile, and if your goal is to reach all Jews, this will fail.  If you were running a political campaign and targeting Jews with a message, only reaching 40%-60% of the Jews on Facebook might not be enough.  However, for running a CPC campaign, it doesn’t matter what percentage of the Jews on Facebook I reach, what matters is what percentage of the people that I reach are Jewish.  Running an online small business doesn’t require “market share,” it requires reaching profitable customers.

If you only target people affiliated with ethnically aligned groups, you might find some segments that are 80% – 95% your target demographic, which means that you’ll get higher click through rates and waste fewer clicks.  People affiliated with those aligned groups, even if not of that ethnicity, might be useful to target anyway.  Someone that frequented Hillel events, even though not Jewish, is probably either a prime target for Jewish-themed T-shirts, either for themselves or as a gift, making your targeting even better.  National ad campaigns are difficult, finding potential customers for a business is much easier.

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