By Peter Roybal, Product Manager

Today, we’re launching Audience Optimization, an organic targeting tool to help publishers reach and engage their audiences on Facebook and better understand the interests of people clicking on their posts. This tool lets you improve the relevancy of your post by indicating who is most likely to engage with it, which can increase engagement at both the post and Page level.

Audience Optimization gives you the following three features:

  • Preferred audience – Allows publishers to add interest tags to content to help Facebook connect people with the topics and subtopics that are most likely to engage them. Rather than limit the audience that sees a post in News Feed, these tags prioritize, uniquely for each person, the topics that are most likely to interest them.
  • Audience restrictions – Gives publishers the option to limit the visibility of certain posts across Facebook by specifying which audiences would not find a post relevant, based on their location, language, age or gender. This is an existing feature that can be used alongside preferred audience options.
  • Audience insights – Gives publishers visibility into the performance of their content, down to the post level with breakdowns by interest tag. This is in addition to the existing Page insights product. Once a post is published, insights for the preferred audience can help publishers understand how different subsets of people are responding by showing reach and engagement metrics for each interest tag.


We wanted to see how the tool worked in practice, so we asked some publishers to give it a try.


1780064_10151938867086006_1282841025_oAfter testing Audience Optimization for three months, Bleacher Report said they were impressed with the “considerable” lift in engagement. Across their wide range of news, features and game coverage, posts using interest tags saw increases in clicks, likes, comments and shares.


TNYTimes logo lockup finalAudience Optimization was also successful for The New York Times. They said, “Our stories generally find a wide audience on Facebook, but some stories can take off thanks to especially strong engagement from niche Facebook communities such as TV show fans, sports fans, etc. The vibrant discussions taking place on some of these posts suggests that this new tagging feature is helping to attract the readers who are most passionate about specific topics.”


Entertainment publisher MTV also joined the beta and said the tags “did a great job at picking apart the massive entertainment audience and identifying which segments were most responsive to which kinds of stories.”


Read more about how they’re using the Audience Optimization tool on our Best Practices page.

The variety and amount of content available to people is growing, so having more information about who is likely to be interested in your content helps us get your posts to the people who will care about them most. We heard feedback from media publishers that they were looking for products to help them better target their posts, so we worked to improve the suite of Publisher Tools we launched last year and are replacing Interest Targeting with Audience Optimization. Unlike the Interest Targeting feature that preceded it, the tags in Audience Optimization help a post reach the most relevant subset of a publisher’s audience without restricting reach.

Getting started is easy. Audience Optimization is available to all English-language Pages and accessible through the following platforms:

  • Page post composer – in your composer, use the targeting icon to add tags and restrictions.
  • Graph API – add interest tags to your posts through the Graph API
  • Third-party publishing tools  – add tags and restrictions directly to your posts in third party publisher platforms like SocialFlow and Sprinklr.
  • Instant Articles – when adding an Instant Article to your RSS feed, add tags straight to your stories.

To learn more about this feature, visit the Get Started page.

The tool is rolling out gradually to English-language Pages over the next week.