Facebook yesterday unveiled a new tool designed to help marketers learn more about their target audiences. Dubbed Audience Insights, the tool gives insights about users based on their demographics, page likes, location and language, Facebook usage, and purchase activity.

This information can be viewed for three different segments of people: the general Facebook audience, people connected to your Page or event, and people in Custom Audiences you've already created (an audience made up of your current customers).

"Previously, we just had the targeting options in the 'create tool' that had an audience estimator", a Facebook spokeswoman said. "Now, with Audience Insights, these capabilities are actionable so advertisers can understand the reach of these capabilities, as well as how big the targeting groups are".

Unlike Page Insights, which looks at the interactions with your Page (likes, comments, shares, and so on), the new tool looks at trends about current or potential customers across Facebook.

The company also gives an example of how the tool can be used: suppose you want to raise awareness for your women's luxury fashion brand, and you sell your products in-store. You can use the tool to find how many people on Facebook live near your stores, their interests, their past purchase behavior, and how they tend to shop (online vs. in-store).

As far as user privacy is concerned, Facebook says the tool allows marketers to view aggregate and anonymous insights while keeping people's personal information private.

The tool is currently being rolled out within Ads Manager for all US marketers, and access outside of the US will be added in the coming months.