If you're thinking about setting up an ecommerce business or have one already, I'm going to show you how to sell a range of products to people you didn't even realise you could target.
This article is also useful for affiliate marketers who run paid ads or are thinking about running paid ads in the future.
What is a gift audience?
A gift audience is a group of people who would never buy your product or service for themselves, but have a friend, family member or work colleague who would be perfect for it.
For example, I have next to no interest in Mickey Mouse – as I approach my 30s it's not really a TV show I watch, nor do I collect Mickey Mouse toys. Having said that, I have two nephews who love Mickey Mouse. They watch the Clubhouse TV show almost every day, sleep in Mickey Mouse pyjamas and have a bunch of Mickey Mouse toys.
With Christmas just around the corner, I need to buy them some gifts. If I were served a Mickey Mouse advert on Facebook telling me:
“This Mickey Mouse play set is 40% off – the perfect Christmas gift for your child, nephew or niece.”
I'd really be tempted to buy it.
A gift audience is someone who is willing to buy a product for someone else. They are extremely valuable to target around the Christmas holidays, and if you know how to use Facebook ads (I'll give examples below), you can start a business around them all year round.
What can you sell to gift audiences?
You can sell them pretty much anything; however, unless you're a Facebook ad genius, chances are you'll fail most of the time if you don't pick your products correctly.
Here are some items that you should consider targeting to gift audiences when starting out:
- Items that can be personalised (mugs, pens, hats)
- Drink glasses
- Homemade bracelets (with their name)
The reason I like these items is because you don't need to hold any stock (meaning you can set up your business very cheaply). Using Shopify or Alibaba you can use the dropshipping method of personalising and shipping your orders.
Once you start to see a good volume of sales, then you can decide to hold stock and scale to reduce costs.
How to target gift audiences on Facebook
The easiest and most effective way to target gift audiences is through Facebook advertising. You can try free methods such as posting on forums and deal websites as they can be quite successful, but they are much harder to scale.
Once you find an advert that works on Facebook, you can simply increase the budget and scale it with minimal effort.
When setting up an advert on Facebook you have some interesting targeting options, such as people with friends with upcoming birthdays.
To this gift audience group you could serve generic presents that work well as gifts, like a t-shirt saying “40 is the new 25”, which some people may find funny.
Another angle is to include the user's location and mention the place they were born: “Born in NYC – 1987”.
These are just simple ideas that can work extremely well once you master your creatives. You can see from the image above that you can also target the following friends:
- Newly engaged
- Those who have recently moved
These are huge life moments where people typically celebrate by buying a gift.
You can take this one step further by targeting a demographic with an interest. For example, you can target someone whose friend has an upcoming birthday, supports Manchester United football club and lives in Manchester.
To this audience you could sell gifts relating to Manchester United, or you could target NBA teams, the UFC – literally anything.
Just be careful that whatever gift you're selling doesn't infringe on anyone's copyright.
Target people over the age of 30
People who buy others gifts need to have a disposable income and well-paying jobs. For that reason, avoid targeting students or anyone under the age of 30. On Facebook you can actually segment by age, income and job title, so consider using them when targeting your audience.
Have you ever thought about using gift audiences to reach new customers?