Facebook Ads 101: Use Facebook targeting to your benefit

    Facebook Ads 101: Use Facebook targeting to your benefit

    In the previous episode we discovered the first step in setting Facebook ads – choosing the ad objective. It’s now time to choose who will you target your ads to. Facebook is one of the few online marketing sources that enables you to reach any audience you want. Remember, Facebook collects so much data, that it’s able to show your ad to virtually anybody. This second post will explain the basic and slightly more advanced ways of targeting your ads.

    When choosing your ad objective, you will probably notice such a view:


    As you see, I choose “Clicks to Website” objective and Facebook immediately asked me to choose which URL I wish to promote. I can add a Campaign Name – Facebook “campaign” is the first, top, level of Facebook Ads. The next step is to create your Ad Set – this is where you choose your audience, schedule the ad and choose the budget for it.

    Choosing your ad set

    This step is the first example of targeting on Facebook – choosing the basic demographics and behaviours of your desired audience.

    Begin to include Facebook users that come from a particular country, city, state, zip code or address. You can also “Exclude” particular locations by just selecting this option in the Location box.

    Facebook has recently released another cool feature – what if you want to reach people who are in the area but live somewhere else? Or only people who live in a particular city? Then you might select any of the options given:

    Location targeting

    Next, choose the age of your target audience and gender. You might also want to display your ad only to people that selected their Facebook account in specific language. More Demographics makes it really, really cool. Here, you can choose between people’s relationship statuses, education level, generation millennial or even life events such as… being in a long distance relationship or just getting a new job. Yep, that’s all the information we give voluntarily to Facebook.

    More demographic options

    Selecting any of the options shows you the count of how many people you can possibly reach. Well, seems like 2,441,243 people in the Netherlands got a new job in the last 6 months. Targeting by Interests works in the same way – just start typing in, and Facebook will fill it for you showing the count next to it. You will be surprised to see what interests people have, e.g. “Infant Bodysuit”.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 20.48.06

    You can also target people who follow your competitor’s pages, e.g. I can set my ad to followers of Social Media Examiner.

    Social Media Examiner

    Behaviours allow you to e.g. choose particular technology users, e.g. mobile users per brand or operating system. Remember, you don’t need to choose this option.

    Choosing which Facebook pages, apps or events you want to target in Connections tab allows you to specify if you want to target your followers already, or just their friends, or exclude all of them. Targeting people who have just been to your event is also a smart idea to test.

    Target by connections

    So this is the basic way to choose the audience for your ads. Use all the information that you’ve gathered about your target audiences and try it out on Facebook. Do you sell fitness clothing for pregnant women? Choose women in particular age range that are expecting. Experiment. Choose different audiences, interests or even devices they use. It’s not about pouring large budgets here – Facebook allows you to test, try and most of all, learn more about your customers on Facebook. Start with as little as 1 dollar and see for yourself! For those who want to get more advanced with targeting, Facebook just rolled out two options – Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences. You can re-target customers who have visited your website or subscribed to your newsletter. All of that is now possible and you might want to learn more about those solutions. The next blog post will explain Facebook Custom Audiences – stay tuned!