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BizReport : Advertising : August 22, 2011


Flaws found in Facebook zip code targeting

Facebook has a bit more work to do before its zip code ad targeting tool can be relied upon to provide accurate audience estimates, according to recent reports.

by Helen Leggatt

Zip code targeting has long been used by direct marketers, allowing them to pick up on specific demographics by areas within cities. Earlier this month Facebook brought this targeting tool to its advertisers.

However, as a report on ClickZ reveals, the accuracy of Facebook's zip code targeting is somewhat suspect. Results of tests run by XA.net CEO Rob Leathern were presented during an SES session in San Francisco last week and showed inaccuracies in Facebook's estimated audience numbers for specific postcodes when compared to census data.

According to ClickZ, "In the case of at least one Zip code (94566), Facebook's user estimates are grossly inflated compared to the U.S. Census count. Facebook pegs its audience at 808,000 for that Pleasanton postal zone, whereas census data puts it at 41,000."

As Inside Facebook's Matt McGee points out, there is a disclaimer when choosing zip codes that the audience estimates may not be accurate. Having picked three zip codes to target McGee also observed, based on his knowledge of the zip code area, that Facebook's estimates appeared grossly overestimated.

Tags: ad targeting, Facebook, online advertising, social advertising, social network, zip code targeting










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