RottenNeighbor featured in Google’s Top 5 Trends

RottenNeighbor climbed into the top 5 Google Hot Trends today and caused a huge surge of traffic on the site. Since its launch, RottenNeighbor.com has averaged several hundred thousand hits per day and been featured in over 200 media outlets courtesy of the Associated Press. Read more


The web I want for my kids

Volunteering as a mentor at CoderDojo to teach young people, including my own kids, how to write software.
Last week, I published an opinion piece on CNN featuring my thoughts on what is wrong with the web and how we might fix it.
In short, I really miss some things about the original web, and don't want my kids to grow up being exploited by mega-corporations.
I am hopeful that increased regulation and decentralized web applications may fix some of the web's current problems. While some problems are really difficult to fix, at the very least, my kids will have more options to choose from when it comes to their data privacy and overall experience on the web.
You can read the first few paragraphs below, and view the whole article on CNN.
I still remember the feeling in the year 2000 when a group of five friends and I shared a modem connection at the University of Antwerp. I used it to create an online message board so we could chat back and forth about mostly mundane things. The modem was slow by today's standards, but the newness of it all was an adrenaline rush. Little did I know that message board would change my life.
In time, I turned this internal message board into a public news and discussion site, where I shared my own experiences using experimental web technologies. Soon, I started hearing from people all over the world that wanted to provide suggestions on how to improve my website, but that also wanted to use my site's technology to build their own websites and experiment with emerging web technologies.
Before long, I was connected to a network of strangers who would help me build Drupal.
Source: Dries Buytaert www.buytaert.net


RottenNeighbor featured on the AP Newswire

AP Newswire featured RottenNeighbor today as a “website seemingly tailor-made for such suburban woes.” The article covered some of the most popular posts on the site, discussed changing neighborhood trends demonstrated on RottenNeighbor, and touched on the possibility of a reality show based on the site. The story was picked up by more than 200 media outlets including CNN.com. To read more on this story, click here. Read more


lite.cnn.io

This little website pulls in all the main stories from CNN and strips almost everything from the design; styles, images, fonts, ads, colors. Nada, zilch, gone. At first it looks like nothing but hypertext and it feels like an extraordinary improvement but Sam Saccone made a thread about potential improvements that the team could use to make that experience even faster such as server side rendering and replacing the React framework with something smaller, like Preact.
Either way this approach to news design is refreshing. However, I can’t find anything more about the the motivations for building this version of CNN.com besides the announcement on Twitter. It would certainly be fascinating to learn if CNN built this specifically for people caught in disastrous situations where battery life and load time might be a serious matter of life and death.
Direct Link to Article — Permalink
lite.cnn.io is a post from CSS-Tricks
Source: CssTricks


Silicon Valley’s Secret

Spoiler alert… it’s mental health, something that I document on this blog a bit.
Specifically, depression is still, unfortunately, taboo but I think things are changing. Folks like Brad Feld and Jerry Colonna and others like Rand Fishkin are going on record with being not only diagnosed with it but who are actively sharing their stories.

2 shares recently that captured my attention is Brad and Jerry going on NPR for a short but sweet interview which you can find here and also Rand who did a small segment on CNN, which you can find below:

I couldn’t find a useful embed at the time so I re-uploaded it to YouTube. The larger article is here and is also worth a read.
Very thankful for folks like this who are removing the stigma, brick by brick, and making it a much more natural and easy conversation to have. These are real challenges that people just like you and me face, every single day. It should be as easy as asking someone if they like cream and sugar with their morning black.
The post Silicon Valley’s Secret appeared first on John Saddington.
Source: https://john.do/


7 UX Design Questions We Need to Be Asking in 2017

UX design is moving into a point of real maturity now, no longer in the adolescent stage of mobile friendliness or optimising sales funnels on your website. Google even removed the “mobile friendly” label from search results last year because mobile optimization is now considered the norm, even if it still has a long way to go.
So what’s going to dominate the UX design talk throughout 2017? If mobile is old news, what comes next? Well, the web is in a state of transition where the platforms people use and they journey they take between is where we need to focus our efforts. Which means we need to be asking a completely different set of UX design questions this year as the web moves into the next stage of its evolution.
 
#1: What experience do my users want?
The brands that really make it online over the next ten years will be the ones that don’t follow the usual blueprints and best practices. Instead, they’ll be creating their own unique experiences, custom built for their users and theirs alone.
This means every brand will need to be testing and collecting data from user interactions; building their own best practices and design trends. Relying on third-party statistics as a guide to building user experiences won’t be enough anymore. Online technology is moving at such a fast pace now that waiting around for reports and studies from other sources will leave you playing catch-up – and by the time you get there they’ll have changed again already.
 
#2: Which platforms are my users most interested in?
As I mentioned in an article last week, the likes of Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft and the other key names in online tech are all releasing their own personal assistant platforms. These are designed to be a single gateway for people to access everything they need to online and the personal assistant war is about to kick off.
Early consumer stats suggest people who buy Google Home or Amazon Echo aren’t too willing to buy another device from a different supplier. They’ll be mostly locked into one device and the platforms they integrate with – which is precisely what the tech giants are fighting it out for.
 
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPfQMVf4vwQ?feature=oembed&w=1050&h=591]
 
The question for designers, developers and marketers will be which/how many platforms do they cater for? Google is the obvious choice at this stage in terms of user numbers because they already have their personal assistant device on the market and a huge userbase to attract. But what happens when Facebook and the other release their own devices and web users are potentially split between five or more platforms? Amazon’s Alexa is already winning the first round of reviews vs Google and this could be a sign of things to come if Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and the others can create similarly impressive platforms.
 
#3: What’s next after mobile optimisation?
It’s amazing how far behind many brands are when it comes to mobile optimisation, even now. We still suffer from poor loading times, responsive quirks and a bunch of sites that barely make an effort to optimise for mobile at all, but the web is already moving on from smartphones.
Screens are laborious and restrictive. Typing is a real chore on mobile screens and the notion of touch interactions is already starting to be replaced by voice technology. Apple Watch and Amazon’s Alexa both allow you to book an Uber ride without touching your phone – and this is the direction things will continue to move in.
Voice technology also has its limitations, of course, but it’s progressing nicely and we’re not far from a point where it will be easier for users to speak to devices rather than type. Which means we’ll have to optimise our experiences, content and entire online presence for voice over the coming years.
 
#4: What actions do people want to take on each platform?
We’ve talked about personal assistants already but this only one of many platforms people will be using online. Social networks aren’t suddenly going to disappear, online gaming will continue to thrive and websites, in some form or another, will still house the content people need to access online.
The question is, though, what actions will users want to take on each of these platforms and how do we cater for them? If people prefer to buy their products via Facebook do we bother with eCommerce sites anymore? If people book their flights through Google do we keep paying for display ads to show on booking websites?
 

Four key micro-moments from Google’s own guide (PDF)
 
In an omni-channel web, where people interact with brands both online and offline, we’ll need to pinpoint when, where and why users take certain actions. Google is calling this phenomenon micro-moments – small windows of opportunity where you have to catch people with the right content, in the right place, at the right time. This paints a complex map of the new consumer journey people are taking but it also presents a wider range of opoprtunities to capture leads – as long as you’re quick and relevant enough to be there when it matters.
 
#6: What chatbot experience do people want?
Chatbots are going to kick off this year and designers have to figure out what kind of conversations people want to have. Or, more to the point, what do users turn to chatbots for and how can the technology make completing these tasks easier?
As Mark Wilson puts it in his own article on UX challenges of 2017, “Do I really need to have a five-minute fake texting conversation to get three news headlines that I could have skimmed in seconds?”
This sums up the current state of chatbot design quite nicely. While Siri, Cortana and various other platforms can charm us with their witty responses, what kind of tasks are they actually making easier to complete?
In some cases, chatbots are making the buying process more streamlined but most of them don’t. In which case you have to question the point of building one in the first place. Are we really expecting people to make small talk with a machine while they buy their groceries online? People don’t even like talking to human checkout staff at the supermarket for crying out loud.
Progress is happening, though. One 14-year-old made headlines last week for building “the best Facebook Messenger chatbot”. Yes, that’s a pretty subjective claim but the author, Dave Lee, calls out the usual standard for chatbots – and gets it spot on.
“Other chatbots are a lesser experience of something else,” he says in the article. “The CNN news chatbot, for example, is worse at giving you the news than any of CNN’s other products. And popular weather bot Poncho, while cute and well-branded, has a habit of telling me it’s about to rain five minutes after water started falling on my head.”
So what impresses David so much about this 14-year-old’s chatbot? It’s the simplicity of the task it helps users achieve – organizing homework and other tasks – without unnecessary fuss. There’s no small talk, just organization and the little bot even knows when to keep quiet during school holidays.
 
#7: What will content look like by 2018?
This is one of the most important questions for designers, developers and marketers alike, but first we need to rethink our idea of what content actually means. Does a conversation with a chatbot count as content? Does a push notification on mobile count as content? Or how about the price tag people see when they walk into your store after seeing your promotional email?
The answer to all of these questions is yes, of course, but the point is this: content will become increasingly fragmented across a wider range of interactions, multiple devices and platforms – both online and offline.
The challenge at this point is predicting how these snippets of content will integrate with each device/platform and how we need to format everything. Google, Alexa and the other leading platforms will need to pull snippets of content from various parts of the web – it could be your website, a local listing directory site or any other third-party source. Either way, you’ll need to have the relevant piece of content sitting in the right place, otherwise you won’t be discoverable.
Rich snippets will only become more important as Google and co. need contextual information about your content but the format you publish in could change as well. Who’s to say podcasts won’t be the new blog posts in a voice-orientated web or that won’t be hosting landing pages on third-party sites for our PPC ads if that’s where users prefer to go?
 
UX design questions
Looking back at the last five years or so of UX design, you have to realise how two-dimensional things have been for us until now. Sure, mobile optimisation was a challenge but it was nothing compared to the shift in technology we’re experiencing now – and things have only just started.
The journey people take between first showing an interest in a product or service and actually buying it is becoming more complex. This makes the notion of UX design and everything that follows a much more involved process – one we have to analyse at a growing number of smaller interactions between brands and users. It’s a notion that raises many questions and the brands that come up with answers quickest will be the ones that win big in an omni-channel web.
The post 7 UX Design Questions We Need to Be Asking in 2017 appeared first on Web Designer Hub.
Source: http://www.webdesignerhub.com


The 15 Strangest Targeting Categories on Facebook

There are tons of “legit” targeting categories on Facebook: number of people interested in fitness, shopping, sports. etc. Have you ever taken a minute to look at all of Facebook’s ad categories, though? I mean, really look?
Well, we did, and we weren’t disappointed. We actually found some pretty interesting categories!

Some of them are hyper-specific, such as people interested in scooters. Some of them are a little unexpected, like the 17 million people categorized as being in long distance relationships. As quirky as these examples are, the awesome thing about Facebook’s ad categories are their potential to target very unique groups of people.
So without further ado, here’s some of what we found.

A New Take on Demographics
1. Friends of Newly Engaged
Looking at all of the people using Facebook in the States, would you believe that there are 21 million people who are newly engaged in the last six months? Super targeted, right? But companies like Groupon are all over demographics like this.

Even though their business is built on offering discounted products and services, with a market as big as this one, they’re headed for major profits. This particular ad offers 40% off diamond rings but what guarantees sales is the limited time offer. With millions of people getting engaged every month, this ad puts pressure to buy now versus waiting.
2. Relationship Status → Unspecified
One of the first things new users are asked to do when the create their Facebook profile is to input their relationship status. This is a gold mine for businesses targeting specific audiences based on their relationship status. For instance, online dating has grown to include services for widowers.
Of all the relationship categories Facebook offers, “unspecified” is the largest. The total number of users flagged as unspecified is astounding: 1 billion!
3. Likelihood to Engage in Politics
With politics being such a hot button issue today, Facebook hasn’t wasted any time in identifying people who are likely to be more engaged than others. Eight million people have been identified, making this a lucrative category for political ad campaigns. Popular news outlets like CNN can tailor their ads to audiences primed to engage.

4. Housemate-based Households

This is another very specialized target group. It takes into consideration the extent to which households have changed over the last 50 years. Millennials likely make up most of this category. And with 300 million people in it, it’s quickly gaining on traditional family-based households.
5. Friends of Recently Moved

This is a very interesting category. Who knew this was something Facebook tracked? Surprisingly, it’s the second largest group in the “Friends of” category. It trails only after friends with birthdays in 7-30 days.
Finding Common Interests
6. People Interested in Puzzle Video Games

You can find this one in Interests > Entertainment > Games. Who knew puzzle video games were even a thing? Apparently, over 220 million users did. They are puzzle video game aficionados and have liked pages related to this niche.
Check out this ad from the Fairy Mix Community that targets players interested in games based on matching objects.

7. People Interested in Network Storage

This is a sub-section of the computers category. At first glance, we might be quick to write this one off, but 29 million people have shown an interest in it. This bodes well for targeting those with interest in tech products.
8. People Interested in Ecotourism

You can find this category in Hobbies and Activities > Travel. You might not think it’s worth targeting such a specialized group, but advertisers would otherwise miss out on 187 million interested users.
9. People Interested in Reading
With an increasing amount of reading being done online, it’s astonishing and reassuring that this is such a massive category. There are millions of users within each group.
Companies like Lost My Name are tapping into this market. They offer unique books where each story centers around a child’s name. Every page offers up a letter that eventually spells the full name.

10. People Interested in Fatherhood

Whether it’s a blog or new fad, there’s an overwhelming amount of information about motherhood out there. You don’t tend to hear as much about fatherhood, however. You might be surprised to know that there are over 220 million users interested in this topic.
Here’s an interesting ad from Upworthy about fathers and their contemporary roles. It taps into the large interest in the subject of fatherhood while grabbing attention with a cliffhanger – why are millennials struggling to be the dads “they thought they’d be?”

Understanding User Behaviors
11. Family Members of Expats
 

Over 100 thousand people make up this group. Not a very big group compared to others we found, but companies like InterNations have found the perfect niche to tap into. They help people create a network where they can connect with other expats. Their ad taps into familiar tactics from ad psychology, by showing four smiling faces that will be sure to grab attention.

12. People Who Follow Fall Football

While a category for football or sports isn’t strange, one that caters specifically to people based on the number of football teams they follow is pretty new.
13. Internet Browser Preferences

This is another surprising category, but one that provides lots of value. Potential ads could look at expanding browser support by targeting people who use certain browsers extensions. As Chrome grows, it could target Internet Explorer users by touting its enhanced features and benefits.
14. Primary Email Domain Used
 

Advertisers can filter their targets by their primary email domain name. This is super helpful if you’ve already identified that people using different email domains act differently, or if you want to tap into features associated with a specific company.
15. Photo Uploading

With over 91 million users in this category, it’s interesting to see how advertisers are taking advantage of social media.
Slurpee Australia launched a campaign that encouraged customers to upload pictures of themselves with the drink. It was a fun, targeted campaign that helped them boost their brand awareness.

What Do These Categories Tell Us?
When it comes to using Facebook ads, you need to take advantage of Facebook’s powerful targeting ability to find and capitalize on your audience.
Brian Balfour, Founder and CEO of Reforge, puts it this way, “this new way of advertising, directly integrated into the core visual of the user experience, has allowed to make a fantastic increase in terms of click-throughs.”
He continues, “giving a sure visibility to the message; native ads can make you get an excellent performance if your targeting plan is well done.”
In order to increase conversions and build meaningful growth, you have to take the audience you’ve targeted and create buyer personas to develop messages that speak to them. This helps with understanding them and developing messages that speak to them.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who you target, as long as you give them what they want.
What This Means For Your Next Ad Campaign
As Facebook has shown us, lots of data mean there’s potential for lots of “weird data”. But even though we found examples of some pretty strange targeting options, there’s a place for each and every one of them when you understand the social data of your audience.
Be as specific in your targeting as you want, as long as you’re really digging into an audience that will respond to your product. Also, feel free to experiment with audiences — chances are there’s a campaign with your name on it waiting to be explored.
When you think outside the targeting box, you can add value to your business by tapping into niches that might otherwise get overlooked.
Source: https://adespresso.com/feed/


State of the Web 2016

Since starting at Viget over four years ago, I’ve had the opportunity to share a ‘State of the Web’ presentation at many of our quarterly ‘Third Third Thursday’ (TTT) events. These talks offer the chance to explore and share key trends in our industry, and they’re just one of the ways Viget works to stay ahead of the curve.

You can watch the Fall 2016 presentation below, or keep scrolling to read the highlights:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmGnukeyXt4]

Mobile Growth

It should come as no surprise that mobile traffic is the present and the future. According to some sources, mobile traffic has already surpassed desktop worldwide. This holiday season, comScore predicts that retailers will see three times more traffic from mobile than from desktop.

While this growth is obvious even in the U.S., it’s especially prominent in middle and low-income nations. Nigeria, South Africa, Indonesia and India see mobile account for over 66% of their internet usage.

At Viget, some of our clients serve local, U.S.-heavy audiences while others are international brands serving users around the globe. While knowledge of general global trends are invaluable, we’ve found that every one of our clients’ sites exhibits a unique audience footprint.

The chart below compares the mobile share of traffic from a handful of our clients to the global average.

While we have some clients with mobile traffic nearing 80% during peak seasons, other clients (particularly those with a heavy B2B focus) have not yet surpassed 15%.

Given that wide disparity, it’s imperative that we evaluate each new project with fresh eyes and tailor our approach to their unique audience and needs, rather than prescribing an approach based on general heuristics.

Browser Usage

Like the growth of mobile (and very much related), browser usage has continued to shift in recent years away from older, desktop-only browsers such as Internet Explorer toward Chrome and Safari.

Just this year, StatCounter reported that Google’s Chrome browser reached a 50% usage rate worldwide for the first time, due in large part to the prevalence of Android devices across the globe.

But like mobile usage, every client’s use-cases are unique. We see marked differences in browser usage across even recent clients. The Bronx Zoo sees an especially high share of traffic from Safari, largely due it traffic volumes from iOS devices, while JUST Capital’s largely corporate audience exhibits a higher-than-average share of Internet Explorer traffic. In contrast, Viget’s especially tech-savvy audience tends to favor Chrome and Firefox over Internet Explorer.

Online Behavior

As internet access has changed, so to has our behavior online. We’re spending twice as much time online as we were five years ago, and in the past year, 1 out of every 5 online minutes was spent on a social network (typically via mobile devices). Despite constant predictions of its impending demise, Facebook remains the clear monster in this space. It has the largest reach and highest monthly engagement rates, even among millennials.

This level of engagement has far-reaching effects. Pew recently reported that more web users get politics news from Facebook than from traditional sources such as CNN, Fox News or NBC News, a fact that may have even had implications on our recent election.

Mobile News

As more people turn to their mobile devices and their social feeds for real-world news, it’s no surprise that social media companies have taken notice. Just last year, Facebook released Instant Articles, a publishing format that improves content load-times on mobile devices. Under Instant Articles, content is hosted on Facebook and can load up to 10 times faster than a typical site.

Under similar pressure to capture the attention of mobile users, Apple and Google have both released similar publishing platforms in the months following. Data suggests these platforms are performing well for publishers, drawing larger audiences and offering faster user experiences, at the expense of certain branding and content control.

At Viget, we need to understand the implications these developments have on our work and on our clients’ success, and we also care about the impact these new platforms may have on the web at large.

The Awl’s John Herrmann paints a pretty dystopian picture of one possible scenario: “A new generation of artists and creative people ceding the still-fresh dream of direct compensation and independence to mediated advertising arrangements with accidentally enormous middlemen apps that have no special interest in publishing beyond value extraction through advertising is the early internet utopian’s worst-case scenario .”

While we’re not quite so jaded yet, it’s important for us to recognize and follow the potential concerns surrounding these new development.

Summary

The web continues to change and evolve. Mobile traffic continues to rise and users are shifting toward more modern browsers. While these general trends hold true across most clients, it’s important that we evaluate each new project independently to identify the unique audience and needs of its specific users.

Separately, the shifting web has led large companies such as Facebook, Apple and Google to develop new platforms that allow them to better serve (and monetize) the growing mobile majority.

Viget continues to monitor, evaluate and act on the fast-moving trends we see across the web and are excited to see it grow and change in the years to come. Have you seen these trends in your own work? Are there other shifts we should be paying attention to? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


Source: VigetInspire


How to Find New Facebook Ad Audiences (Without Custom Audiences)

AdWords has intent. But Facebook ads have custom audiences.
These are people who’ve already looked at your website. Viewed your products and services. Subscribed to your newsletter. Or purchased previously.
And you can segment or target each specifically with a campaign that perfectly matches their interests, personalities, fears or motivations.

Audience targeting is easy when you’re dealing with a pre-built custom audience full of people who already know all about you. Clicks, leads, and conversions are easy.
But what if you’re starting from scratch? What if you can’t rely on custom audiences to bring in ‘top of the funnel’ people?
Here are three steps to get started.

Why Custom Audiences Convert Best
The best Facebook ad will suffer when targeting the wrong audience. Improve the targeting, and even an average-to-middling quality ad will perform better.
The fastest, easiest, most powerful method of audience targeting is to use custom audiences.
These are tailor made, pre-built audiences full of people who already know who you are, have checked out your stuff, and have possibly even purchased from you in the past. They’re your past website visitors (over the past 30-60 days). They’re people who’ve viewed a specific product page. They’re email addresses from your newsletter. They’re customer phone numbers from your database.
If you’ve got this data to work with, you’re gold. You can (and should) rely heavily on custom audiences as much as possible in the ‘middle’ and ‘bottom’ of your marketing funnel to target the best audience (and thus, reap the lowest Cost Per Clicks and Cost Per Leads).
Don’t take my word for it.
When Facebook introduced their Relevance Score, AdEspresso ran a test using the exact same advertisement to two different audiences.
The first audience, below, was generic. Targeting was off, as you can see by the dismal 2.9 Relevance Score.

(image source)
As a result, website clicks were costing $0.142 a piece.
Now contrast that with the same ad (and same budget), but shown to a custom audience (comprised of website visitors from the past 90 days).

(image source)
Relevance Score is up dramatically to 8.0 Comments, Likes, Clicks and Shares are also WAY up too.
But the best part? The Cost Per Click has fallen to only $0.03.
(Yes. That’s three pennies. Which is like basically free.)
That’s why message match matters in online advertising. Especially on Facebook where audience targeting can mean all the difference between campaigns that convert from those that don’t.
All of this sounds great. But here’s the problem… What if you don’t have a custom audience to rely on? They’re the perfect solution to nurturing and closing existing customers. But they can’t help you attract, acquire, or bring in fresh meat.
What if you’re starting up a new site? Launching a new business? Introducing a new product or service to a different vertical? You gotta start from scratch. And you ain’t gonna have no past visitors, newsletter leads, or customer database to rely on.
You should watch this webinar for more (which informs the points made in this post). But here’s the CliffsNotes version.
Step #1. Start by Finding Your Audience Demographics
The best audiences should understand the problem you solve. They’re knowledgeable (to a point) about their pain points and how to fix them. And they should be informed by basic information that you already have.
This all goes back to the fundamentals. The basics and the boring stuff, like buyer personas. The Marketing 101 stuff like demographics, psychographics, and other important stuff that defines who we are and why we do what we do (or don’t).

(image source)
This sounds trite. Whenever the phrase ‘buyer personas’ pops up in a blog post, all I hear is “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah”, too. But it’s impossible to get audience targeting right without taking into account the differences between these people, the value propositions, and the stuff they care about.
The easiest place to start – unsurprisingly – is your own Facebook Audience Insights.
Let’s check out one client example:

96% of their fans are women. Almost all of them are located in the U.S., with a majority in the South West (with a few large cities sprinkled in).
Boom. Done. And it took all of ~1 minute to find.
Google Analytics will also provide a Demographic Overview (located under the Audience section) which can complement similar data.
This, along with any other secondary research (like association or research reports) can help you start building out different customer segments and personas that will eventually guide your Facebook ad audience targeting for different campaigns.

That’s a good start. But you’re gonna need to know a little more information first in order to create successful ads later on.
These are the main problems and pain points, along with how you can help or overcome these challenges in someone’s daily life.

Where do you get this stuff? From your customers. (Hey, Brad, you mean, we actually have to talk to people to do marketing?!) Yes! So go outside. Attend an event. Pick up a phone. 
Fire up SurveyMonkey, Google or Gravity Forms. There’s also the Hotjars and Qualaroos of the world if you want to get fancy. But you don’t have to. People won’t hesitate to talk about themselves or bitch about what’s preventing them from accomplishing XYZ.
You just gotta ask.
Step #2. Begin Interests Research
If, like me, you’re looking for the fastest (read: laziest) way to target a new audience, you probably just select a few competitors or blogs at random. That’s OK to get started. But more than likely, you’re going to need a tiny bit more effort to get a large enough sample to start with (read on to find out the magic range).
So, how?
You can start by searching directly on Facebook. For example, a query like: “Pages similar to HubSpot” will give you a list of similar brands (which are also influenced by your social graph).

You can also spy on what interests these pages have previously ‘liked’ to get a better understanding of related topics as well.
From there, head over to the Google.
Right now we’re looking for ‘top of the funnel’ audiences to start targeting. That means you need to keep ‘searching intent’ in the back of your mind while pulling up example interests from a search engine. For example, “organic skin care blog” is great for opening up your potential audience to the widest amount possible, while “organic face cream” is a specific query that contains more purchasing intent.
Amazon is another perfect place to start. A query like “men’s chukka boot” will instantly provide a bunch of top brands that you can go back to Facebook and search for (selecting their name as a new interest and targeting all those who like them).

Beyond competitors and alternatives, is an information source. These are the places you just uncovered in the last step, where these segments and personas get their news and information from. 
Specifically, these are typically individual influencers, media, blogs, or some variation of all three (like Tim Ferriss / Four Hour Work Week). And like the crazy, polarizing difference between Fox News and CNN, each caters to their own specific type of audience. In the business world, that translates into Bloomberg = old baby boomer dudes and Wired = tech-savvy Gen X/Y.
Let’s use this example now that we’ll carry over into the next step. We’ll select a few media properties to find relatively tech-savvy, educated, business owners.

We’re off to a good start.
The 720,000 audience size falls in the suggested range of around 500,000 thousand to a million users. (Generally speaking, the bigger the budget the larger the audience. And vice versa. So if your budget is under $200, target 100,000-200,000 range instead.)
The reason for these size ranges is that Facebook needs enough space to find the cheapest ad most likely to convert users.
Only problem?
Right now it’s a little vague and generic. We might be targeting a certain kind of person (demographics), but we haven’t really taken into account what these specific people might be interested in (psychographics, et al.)
So we need to refine it a bit, by including and excluding other criteria.
Here’s how.
Step #3. Interests Intersection & Exclusion
People who eat at Michelin starred restaurants aren’t coupon clippers.
They’re mutually exclusive because these people know they’re gonna drop at LEAST $75-100 per person before even stepping foot inside. The mere mention of that price per check makes your average Groupon buyer weak in the knees and break out into a cold sweat.
That’s the Catch-22 of targeting people in the ‘top of the funnel’.
You want to keep the audience size big enough to give yourself a fighting chance. Without enough reach, you will never scale a profitable business.
BUT…
You also want to target specific people who aren’t going to balk at your offerings or price point too. Otherwise, you’ll pay for a ton of useless, low-value clicks.
The solution is through interests intersection (or exclusions). Here’s what I mean:
Earlier, we started with a good (albeit, overly generic) audience based on a few different media properties. Let’s be a little more specific though to make sure we’re only getting targeted people.
So let’s add another interest that segments this initial audience by other criteria (like what they might do for a living).

Now we’re targeting relatively tech savvy, educated consultants. But our audience has dipped below the ~500,000 minimum. So let’s add a few more related interests that are similar (like trainers or coaches) and keep ‘any of the above’ selected so that ALL potential people are included.
But wait a second, because this might open the door to some people with conflicting interests.
For example, if we’re trying to sell marketing-related products and services, other marketers most likely aren’t gonna buy this stuff.  (And if they are, they should probably have different messaging to say the least.)
So while we’re adding additional interests, let’s also add a few exclusions to make sure these people with conflicting interests don’t slip through the cracks.
Here’s the result:

Perfect. We’ve managed to segment our audience much better through interests intersection, and then reduced the chances for wasting ad spend on people who’re unqualified or uninterested.
Optional Step: Advanced Targeting
Advanced targeting can help you further refine the audience selection if you have a very niche product, service or business. For example, these are advanced behaviors or criteria like relationship status, income, net worth, etc. So if you’re selling investment services to accredited investors, targeting based on income or net worth is perfect.
The only problem?
People don’t always willingly provide this data to Facebook. So, in many cases, they’re relying on third party sources to help supplement their information.
The result is that it will reduce your reach a lot. For example, if we just went into behaviors and tried to select a specific industry or vertical, it would bring our audience size down tremendously (to an almost uselessly low range).

You can, however, use some of these advanced options to come up with creative workarounds. For example, you might not have a lot of data on income or net worth, but if someone went to Harvard then it might be a safe bet they’re close.
Conclusion
Facebook’s custom audiences give you one of the most powerful targeting options for any advertising medium.
You can target people who are brand aware, all the way to past leads and customers who’ve already paid you big bucks in the past.
The problem is, that in the beginning you don’t have access to these people. You don’t have the website visits, lead email addresses or customer ID’s to put your Facebook targeting on autopilot. Instead, when you’re creating a new business, expanding your product offering or entering new markets, you have to start from scratch.
You need to target a larger ‘top of the funnel’ audience that’s both broad enough to give you enough potential customers, while specific enough to rule out those who’ll never buy from you in the first place.
It’s a delicate balancing act. But using demographics and psychographics can give you an idea of which interests to start targeting. And using interests intersection with exclusions can help you sift the gold from the rubble.
Source: https://adespresso.com/feed/


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Since Pixeldust launched Rottenneighbor.com last October, it has seen over 10 million page views and also been featured on Good Morning America, the Today Show, Yahoo, CNN, MSN and Google.

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