Agents: Facebook’s Segmentation Abilities Are Impressive

Facebook may be flawed (elections, fake news), but its segmentation is a masterful piece of work by well-trained marketers. Facebook uses a sophisticated segmentation approach to build its formidable targeting capabilities.

While most digital marketers are obsessing over communications, exclusively tactical decisions (such as ‘how do I live stream myself to millennials connecting my VR headset with my 3D printer?’) and micro-metrics like CPM and CTR, Facebook is building the fastest-growing digital business in the world on the basis of doing good basic segmentation and then offering it to clients who are increasingly unable to do any of this themselves because a) they do not know how to do it or b) they don’t think such things are important any more in the overly tactical world of modern marketing.

Facebook, we doff our marketing caps in your general direction and offer our congratulations.

Facebook’s approach is what we call hybrid segmentation. It uses multiple data sources drawn from a combination of different types of consumer data to build its picture of the market. There is a combination of general attitudinal data (e.g., supporting sports organizations), behavioral data (e.g., buying tickets to a golf tournament) and demographic data (e.g., 65% male). The Facebook team started with the attitude clusters, then moved onto behavioral indexing and then finally looked for demographic distinctions from the general marketing mean, and then made up a bunch of stereotypical ideas about what this ‘segment’ would probably want.

That ability to slice, dice and then target down to the individual level is supremely useful when it comes to designing messages that will press the right buttons when families are considering a golf boarding academy or camp experience.

We also get another massive advantage with this segmentation. We can reach everyone.

Their expertise in segmentation is going to make Facebook even stronger and more dominant next year.