Facebook’s New Self-Serve Feature Gives Advertisers the Ability to Reach Specific Consumer Segments



On April 10, 2013, Facebook launched Partner Categories, a new feature that enables advertisers to target consumers based on online and offline purchasing behavior. Currently Partner Categories includes more than 500 unique targeting segments from third-party data firms Datalogix, Acxiom, and Epsilon. The functionality is currently available to all U.S.-based advertisers. Non-U.S. advertisers must be whitelisted in order to leverage Partner Categories and can target only U.S. consumers at this point.

Partner Categories comes on the heels of a flurry of targeting enhancements by Facebook intended to better equip advertisers to drive and measure business outcomes and ROI. As with Facebook’s Custom Audiences program – the ability to import customer data to inform targeting – Partner Categories will most certainly be a smart tool for advertisers looking to increase brand equity and drive sales by reaching the consumers that matter most to them. Widely accessible and requiring no minimum spend commitment, Partner Categories will no doubt benefit big and small brands alike.

How it Works

Partner Categories are integrated as targeting options within Facebook’s self-serve platform, Power Editor, as well as through select Paid Media API platforms. Advertisers looking to leverage Partner Categories as part of a media buy would simply select the specific consumer segments they want to reach, much as they would select Facebook’s native targeting segments like Age, Gender, Broad and Precise Interests, and so forth.

To further refine targeted buying, advertisers are able to pair Partner Categories with the native Facebook targeting filters as well as Custom Audiences and Look-A-Like options. For example, an advertiser might target female Yogurt buyers under age 35 by layering gender and age parameters to the “Yogurt Buyer” Partner Category segment. All in all, the ability to combine both native and third-party data gives greater depth to the advertising tool set.

Resolution POV:

These new capabilities provide three key benefits to marketers:

  1. Minimize Media Waste ─ Refining media targeting with Partner Categories will help advertisers to more precisely reach and engage the consumers that matter most to them, resulting in more efficient and effective spending.
  2. Influence Buying Behavior ─ Powered by consumer purchasing data, Partner Categories can be a potent tool for advertisers to deliver brand messages and incentives to consumers who are category buyers or in market for specific products. As such, it can be effective at driving purchase or influencing purchase decisions.
  3. Build Brand Equity ─ Partner Categories provides advertisers with additional opportunities to drive visibility of their brands and branded content to core consumer segments at scale. Coupled with the targeting flexibility of Facebook’s self-serve ads offering, Partner Categories can bolster branding efforts and brand relevancy by enabling advertisers to reach specific consumer segments with messages tailored to their precise purchasing behaviors.


Facebook’s Partner Categories demonstrates Facebook’s commitment to helping marketers better reach and engage the consumers that are most important to them. With a rich array of data-driven targeting segments at their fingertips, advertisers are now able to increase the precision and the relevancy of their ads on Facebook with relative ease and accessibility. All in all, this new opportunity should serve advertisers looking to drive sales as well as those looking to build brand health, ultimately leading to better ROI and more effective media buying.

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