Market research is the cornerstone of every successful marketing campaign, whether it is digital, social or offline.

Here’s my quick and dirty guide to conducting your own market research on Facebook users.

Step 1: Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on “Advertising”.

On the following page you will see a big green button, click on it to create your advert.

Step 2: Create a dummy advert by filling in the boxes. The system will default to an existing Facebook page if you are managing one, otherwise or you can select “External URL” and then just enter a valid web address.

Step 3: Customise your parameters. You can select up to 25 different countries. Depending on the size and number of users, you may also be able to filter for individual cities.

All I’ve done in this example is search for 24-45 year old adults in the United Kingdom.

There are more parameters to choose from as you scroll to the bottom of the page. You can filter for specific interests, educational background and relationship status.

Step 4: As you fill in your parameters, you should see a box on your right hand side. The box contains a number for “Estimated Reach”. This is the number of people who fit your search criteria.

You can record and track the estimated reach on a spreadsheet over a period of time and then hopefully make sense of the data on hand.

Some key pointers:

Exact age match – As a default, Facebook performs “broad age matching” which includes people within the age range you selected as well as those who fall slightly outside of your selection. If you select the “exact age match option, Facebook will only identify those within your selected parameters.

Interests – The interests are identified through the information a person provides in their profile as well as the Pages they like, apps they use or any related profile content that they may provide.

The steps I’ve outlined above give you a quick and easy way to generate some data.  The number you come up with will only be a rough estimate since the results are contingent on how people use their profiles and how much information they provide but as demonstrated, data mining on Facebook is quite easy.

You don’t always need to spend your marketing budget on buying data from market research companies. With a little effort and a bit of keyword insight, it’s quite easy to get information on your target demographic.

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