This blog was posted by Dawn James on November 19, 2014 as part of the CultureHive Digital Marketing Academy. You can find out more about the project here.

Holly was inspired to start exploring the new Facebook advertising power editor at a recent digital event hosted by The Audience Agency. I think we all suspected that the Facebook wizards are getting scarily close to being able to guess even what colour socks your wearing today (green with reindeers on?) through their ever-advancing targeting methods.

We’ve been working on setting up and improving our Facebook and YouTube advertising for a few months now so this seemed like a great next step – a tool that can create bespoke ‘lookalike’ audiences based on people who like similar pages to the Tricycle Theatre Facebook page (but not the Tricycle Theatre’s page) and based on people who visit your website. Sounds cool (if a bit scary!) huh?

We have had some good success with Facebook advertising for our current show, The House That Will Not Stand, by targeting Facebook users with an interest in the themes of the production – show is about seven ‘women of color’ in nineteenth century New Orleans. (Click here to see the trailer and read more). We used the standard Facebook advertising targeting tool to select people based on interests such as ‘black history month’ or venues programming similar productions, or BAME specialist publications such as The Voice.

Through Google Tracking Links, we can be confident that this targeted activity has been very successful because this campaign has the highest amount of sessions of any of our current campaigns. It’s great to be able to track the impact of this spend directly on Google Analytics.

So Power Editor is a development of the Facebook advertising interface that allows you to save target audiences, rather than building a new one for each advert. You can build your audiences (i.e. under 26s, parents, local etc) and save them in the Power Editor to be used consistently across multiple adverts.

We’ve successfully built and saved two new target audiences on the power editor: local parents and under 26s. The local parents audience is targeted towards our Christmas family show, Lionboy. The criteria has included interests such as theatre, parenting, family and similar children’s theatre venues like the Unicorn, Polka and the Barbican.

The under 26s target audience will be useful going forward as we are running a longer term campaign around our new, free under 26 membership scheme, Trike. Some of the criteria on this audience include age and their interest in similar venues like the National Theatre, Young Vic and Royal Court.

What we’re really interested in is the Power Editor audience that can be built around people who visit our website. This is a bit more complicated as you need to insert some code from Facebook onto your website to allow it to access this information. We’ve given this code to our web team, so we will see what results that yields when that’s all set up and we can build the audience.

I have to say though, be careful to download and upload to the Power Editor regularly! To begin with I couldn’t find how to save and upload the advert I had created for local parents, so clicked on the ‘download’ button, and managed to delete everything I’d just created! I’d recommend clicking download at the start of each Power Editor session (this will mean the Power Editor fetches the most up to date info on your ads and page) and clicking upload after you’ve finished each chunk of work, to avoid losing everything!

We’ll be monitoring the success of all these Power Editor adverts via Google campaign tracking links (which have really transformed how we’re working– read our earlier blog!).

So when you “kind of” thought that Facebook knew everything about you, but still wondered why adverts for Christmas socks were ‘coincidentally’ popping up on your feed, this will be one of the reasons why!

Dawn and Holly x

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