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.

Does Social Media Need New Metrics?

Media Post is asking if we need a new metric for social media, and they talked about CPSA, Cost Per Social Action.  I think this idea illustrates the danger of group think in a bubble.  Marketing departments are responsible for brand goodwill and helping generate sales, a social action isn’t inherently valuable.  Advertising paying for impressions isn’t new with the Internet, and paying for leads and sales is a form of commission sales.  The unique element of CPC is the new addition for the Web as an intermediate metric, but is no different than crediting a television campaign for each person that enters the showroom, even if sales fails to close the deal.

I find it unlikely that we will develop some intermediate metric related to something nebulous like “social action, but rather a new intermediate metric related to generating sales or retaining customers.

Ethnic Targeting on Facebook

I opened up an email entitled, “The J-Files: Jewdar Theories” on how Facebook advertisements, wondering how they are targeting Jews and other people.  Having played with Facebook’s advertising, I can state that they are not targeting by the religion field.  However, how tough is it to find Jews to target.

So I went into Ads and started typing Keywords looking for Jews… Hillel, Israel, IDF,, Jewish, Jews, etc., and quickly identified 650,000 Jews on Facebook.  Going through the Jewish Fraternities and Jewish Sororities (starting with AEPi and AEPhi) each netted 15-20k as well.  Going through the myriad of Jewish organizations and I could probably finding 1 million Jews to target.  Of those, I’d probably have 100k-200 false positives that would ignore me, and 800k-900k Jews that think I figured them out.  That’s without joining the “find 1 million supporters of Israel and X” groups and

I’m pretty certain that similar keyword searches through other ethnicities would gain similar results.  Historically black colleges for targeting, black fraternities/sororities/social organizations, Facebook groups about being Black/Hispanic (plus Latino and Latina) and proud, etc., that people join could no doubt find more people to target.

So without Facebook letting you filter on ethnicity/religious, it isn’t difficult to find 80%/90% targeted keywords, and going broadly, you could probably get plenty of 50%-70% targets (list community colleges in predominately Hispanic counties, etc.).  Can I identify 100% of the Jews/Hispanics/etc. on Facebook, absolutely not.  Can I get large groups of people with an 80%+ likelihood of an ethnic identification to target with ads, absolutely, and that’s the power of social media.