You might already know that Facebook ad targeting is the most critical success factor for Facebook ads.
But the question is:
How do you get your targeting right (and get sales from it)?
For Facebook ads to work, you need to stop using the same targeting tactics as everyone else, know WHO your buyers are…and understand what type of Facebook Ad will do well.
This guide covers everything you need to master Facebook ad targeting.
Don't Have Time To Read It Right Now?
I’ll send you the PDF version to read later.
What are the 2 most critical factors for Facebook ad targeting?
But get them wrong…and you’re in for a hard time.
Facebook’s detailed targeting is a feature that helps you look for and narrow your targeted audiences on Facebook.
Get this right and you’ll be tapping into a group of people highly interested in your offering.
Detailed targeting is one of the most popular features used for targeted Facebook advertising. So it’s important you know how to maximise it’s potential to get the most from any advertising campaign.
Important! Most marketers don’t realise the big flaw with detailed targeting. I’ll explain why and how to fix it in Chapter 4.
There are 3 main categories to detailed targeting.
1. Demographics: This is where you can target people based on traits such as age, gender, relationship status, education, job title and more.
Quick example: You might only want to target women if you sell women’s shoes.
2. Interests: Interest-based targeting is where you target people interested in specific topics closely related to your offering. Things such as hobbies, favourite entertainment, activities and more.
Quick example: If you sell high-end real-estate then you might want to target people interested in property investment or high-end fashion brands.
3. Behaviours: Behavioural targeting lets you find people based on things like purchase history, mobile vs desktop users and travel history.
Quick example: If your customers are business owners then you might target people who travel frequently (go on business trips).
A Custom audience is a group of people on Facebook who’ve engaged with your company in some way (signed up to your email list, visited your website, existing customers etc..).
Here’s the thing about custom audiences…
When you do it right, they work exceptionally well.
In fact, you should always be looking to create custom audiences for any Facebook campaign.
Facebook collects thousands of data points about its 2 billion active users. All of this data allows Facebook to map out detailed buyer personas for its entire user base.
Not only is Facebook collecting data when you’re on Facebook, but it also tracks interactions with other websites, apps and purchases from 3rd parties.
With Facebook having so much data about its users, you can use this information to target highly interested ‘custom audiences’ with surgical-like precision.
Option A: Use Existing Customer Data
If you collect any kind of customer data (email lists, phone numbers, names etc..) then this method is one of the best Facebook targeting options in your arsenal.
You can upload the customer data directly into Facebook and create a new custom audience. The more data points you can supply Facebook, the higher quality this audience will be.
But what if you don’t have a good-sized email list…or any customer data to use?
Option B: Use Your Websites Traffic
This method lets you target people based on how they’ve interacted with your site.
Let’s say you want to target ‘hesitant buyers’ who’ve visited your order page or spent a significant amount of time on your site but haven’t made a purchase yet.
You can create a custom audience that includes people who visit specific pages or spend X amount of time on a page and exclude anyone who’s already purchased (for example, visited your thankyou page).
Creating a custom audience based on your most likely buyers can generate some great results, once you’ve figured this part out, it’s time to scale your Facebook ad targeting with lookalike audiences.
More info: For an in-depth guide on preparing and uploading your custom audiences into Facebook, check out their official guide here.
A lookalike audience is a collection of people who share similar qualities (or look like) the people currently engaging with your business.
For example: You might have an email list of 500 customers (this would be used to create a custom audience on Facebook). You could then get Facebook to create a lookalike audience of 100,000 people who ‘look like’ your current customers.
If you’re ready to grow, creating lookalike audiences is an incredibly powerful tool for targeting potential customers at scale.
You don’t have to be a marketing genius to create high-quality lookalike audiences.
Follow the following steps to quickly tap into a highly targeted group of potential customers for your business.
Please note: The steps listed already assume you have a Facebook Ad account set up and the Facebook pixel installed on your site. If you haven’t set this up yet, you can find instructions for ad account set-up and for connecting the Facebook pixel.
Step 1: Log into your Facebook Ads Manager and select Audiences
You’ll find audiences in the drop-down menu when you click on Business Manager at the top left-hand side of the screen.
You’ll find create audience in the top left hand corner of your screen. Select lookalike audience, which will allow us to set up a campaign that reaches people who ‘look like’ your custom audience.
You have some options here, but for this lookalike audience, we’re going to focus on website traffic so that we’re reaching the people who visit your site.
Additionally, choose a geographic location you want to target and an audience size with 1 representing those who most closely represent my website visitors.
Congrats! You’ve just created your targeted lookalike audience!
There are 2 types of marketers advertising on Facebook.
Those who know how to target buyers.
Those who hope their Facebook Ads work.
In this chapter I’ll show you how to easily target your buyers on Facebook.
Let’s dive in.
First off, when I say ‘buyers’ I’m talking about people who’ll actually buy from you, putting money into your bank account.
We’re not interested in getting more likes or shares at this stage. It’s all about targeting individuals who buy.
Finding buyers on Facebook is easier said than done because most businesses have more than ONE type of buyer.
Think about it…
Let’s say you own fitness gym and you want to sell more gym memberships.
Who are your buyers?
At this point, most people sit down and map out a semi-fictional ‘customer avatar’ that says something like:
“Fitness fanatic Felicity is a 24-year-old single female who enjoys keeping fit. She’s busy balancing work, family and social life.”
The problem with this is you’re limiting yourself to a narrow segment of Facebook’s massive audience.
It’s true your buyer could be fitness fanatical Felicity, but it might also be Ben the 25-year-old bachelor who wants to get in shape for summer or…Susan, the 63-year-old retiree, wishing to lead a more active lifestyle.
Here’s the thing…
You want to create Facebook ads that appeal to ALL your buyers, not a narrow segment based on a fictitious customer avatar.
So, the question is:
How do you appeal to all your buyers on Facebook in one go?
To do this you need to take a value first approach to Facebook ad targeting which I cover below.
When you build Facebook targeted advertising campaigns, it can be tempting to focus on the largest audiences who seem interested in your offering.
Now, this isn’t a bad strategy but…there’s a better way.
The key to appealing to your Facebook target market is to focus on their shared values.
Take any business and look closely at their customer base. You’ll notice they’re a diverse group of people, but they do share some common traits.
And it’s these common traits (or values) you want to identify and build your Facebook targeting around.
Here’s a simple example: I run a marketing agency and my target customers are business owners.
Business owners come in all shapes and sizes so for me, creating a ‘made up’ customer avatar doesn’t cut it.
But…what I do know is business owners share some common traits, they want to grow their business, they want more sales, to have more freedom and are up to date with the latest business and technology trends.
So, step 1 is you need to figure out what the common traits are of your customers. And don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be perfect.
Just list out the top 3-4 common traits that your customers share. Once you’ve identified these, you’re already ahead of most marketers trying to target their customers on Facebook.
Now, it’s time to write your ad copy that appeals directly to your buyers and that’s what chapter 3 covers.
You could spend days (even weeks) trying to create effective Facebook Ads without any success.
You could create successful Facebook ads in minutes using a couple of simple techniques.
This chapter explains how.
Imagine if you knew which Facebook Ads have already proven successful in your industry.
You can and it’s easy to find out.
One of my favourite tools for doing this is AdEspresso’s ad example tool which helps you find Facebook ads in your niche that have already proven successful. Their tool shows you the engagement level (comments, likes and shares) of each Ad so you can quickly identify which Ads have proven successful.
The ads with the most comments, likes and shares have resonated with the target audience giving you a good indication of what type of Ads perform well.
Now, all you need to do is select the high engagement ads and re-purpose (don’t copy word-for-word) them to fit your brand and offer.
This step alone will save you a ton of time creating ads and removes a lot of the guesswork wondering if an Ad works.
Facebook lets you see which ads your competitors are actively running on Facebook.
And Chances are any ads your competitors have active on Facebook, it means they’re working and you there is a simple way to find them.
Visit your competitors Facebook page and you will see the “info and ads tab” You can quickly see what kind of ads are working in your industry and skip a lot of costs involved with testing and research
If your competitors running these ads it’s because they’re working.
Pro tip: To get even more insight, don’t be afraid to step outside the box on this. I’m talking about also checking out what thought leaders in your industry are doing and closely related industries. You might be surprised just how many great ideas you can pick up from other industries.
Facebook hides thousands of highly-targeted audiences from you.
Here’s how to avoid it (and reduce your ad costs) on Facebook.
Back in the good old days, Facebook had a lot more targeting options available for marketers to use.
Over-time, and as Facebook grew in popularity as an advertising platform, it had to ‘dummy-proof’ itself so anybody could easily market their products and services on the platform. As a result, the Facebook ads manager became more simplified and the detailed targeting tool reduced down to a mere 25 similar interests or less.
Not only that, Facebook now show every single person the SAME similar interests.
Here’s the problem with this:
These 25 similar interest groups have become extremely competitive because everybody fights for the same Ad space. You end up having to spend more to get your ads in front of these saturated audiences.
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could avoid this and get an unfair advantage over your competitors?
You’re in luck!
I’ve built a unique tool for discovering highly-targeted, hidden audiences on Facebook.
And don’t worry, it’s 100% FREE to use (no restrictions).
It’s called Facebook Ad Interest Hunter and what it does is uncover hidden audiences that your competitors don’t know about.
Here’s how it works:
Say you run an online camping store selling all kinds of camping and outdoor equipment and you decide to advertise your products on Facebook.
You’ll probably start by targeting people interested in “Camping” or “Outdoor recreation” as a starting point.
And 9 times out of 10 you’ll use the detailed targeting tool inside Facebook Ads manager to discover new audiences to target.
As you now know…
Facebook only shows you 25 similar interests related to the keyword “camping” meaning you’ll be fighting for the same ad space as everybody else in the camping niche. Ultimately it’ll drive your ad costs up due to the excessive competition.
But…what if you use Facebook Ad Interest Hunter?
Look at the image above.
Facebook Ad Hunter shows you an incredible 237 similar audiences related to camping…beats 25 right?
Now: One thing to keep in mind is not all of the interests will be 100% relevant but you’ll definitely find some untapped audiences using this tool.
Under the Camping interest I quickly found an audience of 75,000 people interested in Gold Canyon, Arizona.
A quick search on Google for ‘Gold Canyon Arizona’ brought up lots of articles and I was able confirm that Gold Canyon is a hotspot for campers.
If I was selling camping and outdoor gear, this could make a great target audience that most Facebook marketers wouldn’t know about!
With that said…there are even more ninja tactics you can use to target highly interested audiences on Facebook.
I’ll cover them in the next chapter.
What separates success from failure when advertising on Facebook?
Your ability to target the right audience with surgical like precision.
Get this right and your ad spend will go down, conversions up…and you’ll be one happy camper.
Here are some advanced targeting tips you can use right away:
Google Trends: One of my favourite Facebook targeting tips is to use Google Trends for finding new audiences and locations to target.
Just like Facebook, Google has an incredible amount of data on its users and you can tap into this information to learn more about your audiences behaviours, interests and motivations.
Let’s say you sell protein powder and you know a large percentage of your customers are interested in ‘Weight Training’.
Not only is Google trends great for geotargeting but…you can also use it to find new audiences because it shows you related topics to your keyword.
For example, the image below shows your related topics to the search term ‘weightlifting’.
Google Analytics is an amazing marketing tool and you can use it to improve your targeting on Facebook.
The data collected from Google Analytics gives you incredible insights into the demographics, interests and geographic locations of your audience.
And best of all…
This information is based on your actual website visitors (your warmest targets). These people have already interacted with your brand so you can quickly see what other topics they’re interested in.
I like to use Google analytics data to get a deeper insight into WHO my audience is, identify trends…and correlate any similar interests they might share. I then use this data to narrow my Facebook audience for improved Facebook ad targeting.
If you’ve already read chapter 1 of this guide, you’ll know a high-quality lookalike audience gets results.
With a lookalike audience, you’re able to target hundreds of thousands of people who ‘look like’ your existing customers. But…you can take this a step further by combining hidden audiences (see Chapter 4) with lookalike audiences.
Now it’s just a matter of split testing different interests to see which combinations yield the best results.
For example: If you ran a fitness gym and had access to 500 customer emails, you could:
This is a simple, yet advanced strategy for targeting your potential customers on Facebook and it works super well.
Ready for another ninja tactic successful businesses are using to make thousands of sales every single day?
Read the next chapter.
Facebook retargeting isn’t hard.
The truth is…
You don’t need to be a marketing guru to pull off a successful retargeting campaign.
And since Facebook retargeting is one of the BEST ways to get sales, I’ll walk you through how to set one up (Quickly and Successfully).
Let’s get started.
Please note: The steps listed already assume you have a Facebook Ad account set up and the Facebook pixel installed on your site. If you haven’t set this up yet, here’s the instructions for ad account set-up and for connecting the Facebook pixel.
You can see the audience tab by opening the menu found in the top left-hand corner of your Ads manager account.
It will be under Assets -> Audiences.
The custom audience option lets you create a specific audience to target. It could be based on past customers or people who’ve spent time on your website.
You have a few options to choose from when setting up a custom audience which I explain in detail here. For this example, we’re going to focus on retargeting people who have visited your website.
When you select a custom audience based on your website’s traffic, Facebook gives you some helpful options so you can segment your traffic like so:
You can see from the image above I’m targeting website visitors who’ve visited my blog AND my Facebook tool. I know that these people are highly engaged with my site’s content.
It’s no secret companies are spending millions of dollars retargeting people on Facebook. It’s because retartgeting works exceptionally well for increasing sales in a cost-effective way.
To get the most out of your retargeting campaign, I’ve listed some of my favourite tips here:
Hesitant buyers are people who’ve spent time browsing your site but haven’t committed to purchasing from you yet. A good percentage of these people only require a small push to get them to buy.
To target hesitant buyers, create retargeting campaigns aimed at people spending a lot of time on your site and also people who’ve visited your FAQ, pricing, cart and checkout pages but did not purchase.
Ad fatigue is a part of Facebook’s algorithm that works to reduce your ads performance over time. No matter how great your retargeting campaign performs, eventually it will succumb to Ad fatigue. Here are some useful tips to avoid Ad fatigue:
Remember: Your retargeted audience is already aware of your company. They just need a little incentive to buy from you.
For example: If you run an e-commerce store use a carousel ad to feature specific items and highlight the fact they’re on sale for a limited time.
If you sell a service run a carousel ad and feature some client testimonials.
Here are a few little-known Facebook ad hacks you can implement in minutes to boost your conversions.
Use these ad hacks to get an edge over your competitors.
It’s no secret that social proof is one of the key factors for influencing your customer’s purchase behaviour.
The bottom line…
An ad with more comments, likes and shares will perform better than an Ad with little to none of these.
For example: Look closely at these 2 Facebook ads…
Both of these ads have similar images, ad copy and are trying to get you to sign up for a gym membership.
But…Imagine if you were a potential customer looking for a gym. Which ad would grab your attention?
It’s the second Ad because it has so much social proof (comments, likes and shares) you think to yourself, “Wow, look how many people like this gym, it must be pretty good.” So you click on the Ad to find out what all the fuss is.
It gets better…
Social proof eases the minds of hesitant buyers who wouldn’t look twice at an ad with no social proof. Thoughts like “Nobody’s interested in this product, it must not be any good” are eradicated with social proof.
Run your ad in cheaper countries first to build up the social proof. It will cost a lot less money and once you’ve built up a decent amount of social proof, simply move the ad into your actual target market.
Here’s a comparison of an ad with the same targeting parameters and budget ($10 per day), just targeting different locations.
You can clearly see that Brazil and Mexico offer a higher number of results for the same price.
It’s always a smart idea to run multiple versions of the same ad.
Here’s a simple example:
Let’s say you run a Gym and you want to encourage new people to sign up as members.
You might set up two ads the same but have them each target a different interest – one targets bodybuilding and the other Arnold Schwarzenegger. You’d then run the ads on a small budget to see which ad gets the most attention.
You can only imagine just how many different test possibilities come up (different images, ad copy, targeting etc..)
Even though you’re running these ‘test’ ad on a small budget, chances are you’ll have lots of them and the costs start to add up.
Testing all these parameters to find the best performing factors can start to add up
Run your test ads in countries like South Africa, India and Brazil can be a lot more cost effective while you’re figuring out which targeting works best. Once you’ve figured it out, you can then run your ad back in your target country knowing that it will yield the best performance.
Targeting less competitive audiences overseas also has the bonus of getting you a few extra social shares to start building up your social proof.
One thing I like to do to increase conversions on Facebook is to build a simple landing page with my offer and use Google Ads to drive traffic to it.
I then create a custom audience on Facebook based on people who visited the landing page but didn’t convert and re-target these people again on Facebook.
When you get this right, it can be highly effective as you’re now targeting people who you know are interested in your offering.
So that’s my ultimate guide to Facebook ad targeting.
What did you think about the guide…
…or did I miss something important?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.