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When considering a company’s marketing strategy, one of the questions to ask is: “Who are our customers?” or “To whom do we want to sell our product?”. Similarly, although usually in more detail, this needs to be determined at the operational or design level when preparing a plan for specific advertising or marketing campaigns. When advertising a product or service, it should be important to reach the most valuable target audience possible – there is, after all, only a small chance of selling children’s toys to a teenager or candy to a healthy eater. Personalized ads are also much more effective than those that target general user groups. You can learn about Facebook’s ad targeting capabilities in this article.
Facebook ad targeting
When preparing a Facebook ad campaign, we can choose from several types of ad targeting. Each of them focuses on a different attribute of users using Meta’s services. We can choose (and freely mix or exclude) the target group based on:
- Similarities to a particular user group
- Specific interaction with our website, fan page or app
Facebook audience – how to set up?
The Facebook ad campaign wizard is simple, especially if you don’t delve into the more advanced options. The same is true for the selection of the target audience. The relevant segment regarding this option can be found at the Ad Set level, just below the budget and schedule options.
In the upper part of the window, we can select the options “Create a new audience group” (which we will use especially at the beginning) or “Use a saved audience group” (I will describe the creation of new groups later).
Underneath, if you choose to create a new group, you will find basic targeting options for a set of ads. If we want to use the more advanced ones, we will have to work a little harder.
Interests, behavior, location and demographics
The most popular option, and the easiest to set up, especially if we know who our customers are or what kind of people we want to reach. Let’s assume that we are running campaigns for a store that sells baby items nationwide. So our customer will be a parent (or specifically a mother) of a certain age (we can use statistics or simply observations here) who has a child (and therefore with specific interests). We also know that our products are almost always bought by women. The options we should consider in our case, I’ll highlight with cursive
If you only sell products in Poland, you will set this country.If your store only sells products locally, you can also enter a specific city or mark on the map the area where ads will be displayed. If we do not want to display ads in a particular location or region, there is an option to exclude them. We can also indicate how the user will interact with the location from among several options:
- People who live in the location or who have recently been there.
- Persons who live in the location.
- Persons who live in the location or who have recently been there.
- Persons who have recently been to this location.
- Persons traveling to this location.
The minimum limit we can set is 13 years old, while the last threshold is 65+. In most cases, we will choose the lower limit of 18 years old, while the upper limit depends on the industry or services offered. According to statistics, Polish women give birth to their first child at an average age of 28, so in our example I would set 25 as the minimum limit, with a maximum of up to 40.
For Facebook, the choice is between “Everyone,” “Men” and “Women.” Ads for automotive or construction companies are more likely to target the men’s group, more universal products such as furniture or books target everyone, while cosmetics or baby items target the women’s group. However, if you choose to target on interests (described below), then gender selection is inadvisable – this way you reach all enthusiasts of a particular field without narrowing your audience to one gender.
Detailed targeting options – demographics, interests and behaviors.
Options that give Facebook a significant advantage over its competitors. Thanks to the collection of user data over a dozen years, each person using the portal is “pigeonholed” into appropriate categories. Facebook knows as much about us as we have told it, which is usually a lot of information. In our target groups, we can include people who fit into the given categories:
- By demographics:
- Education (level of education, fields of study, etc.).
- Financial (income – only available in some countries).
- Life events (e.g. birth of a child, moving, marriage, new job, birthday).
- Being a parent (broken down by age of child)
- Relationship status.
- Work (industries, positions).
- By interest:
- Business and industry (many industries and branches).
- Fitness and wellness (division of sports, among others).
- Hobbies and interests (among them related to art, automotive, etc.).
- Food and beverages (types of food, healthy food, specific brands).
- Family and relationships (everything about social relationships, including motherhood, weddings and friendships).
- Entertainment (leisure activities: movies, games, reading, television).
- Sports and outdoor activities (expanded option “Fitness and wellness” – here you will find more sports and activities like camping).
- Technology (interests related to technical innovations, broken down into specific systems and types of equipment).
- Purchasing and fashion (specific products, clothing, but also, for example, toys).
- By behavior:
- Digital activity (reaching people using specific devices or web browsers).
- Expats (people living in a specific country abroad).
- Purchasing habits (committed buyers).
- Travel (people who travel or have returned from travel).
- Mobile device user (by time of smartphone use).
- Other, less frequently used behaviors.
We can select demographics, interests and behaviors from a list or use a search engine. After typing in a keyword, Facebook will suggest interests that are related to the phrase. This is quite a convenience, given the number of collections Facebook offers. In addition, after hovering over a specific audience, we can see its size and a brief description.
There’s a lot of it, and there will surely be even more. The above is current as of January 2023, so if you’re reading this some time later, it’s very possible that Facebook has added new interest groups, behaviors or demographics. The principle, however, will not change – we will choose the characteristics that best fit our potential customer. Thus, for our children’s goods store, we indicated that ads would display:
- Only on the territory of Poland.
- Women between the ages of 25 and 40 who have the birth of a child on their resume (are a parent) and show interest in motherhood or children’s products.
When our campaigns have been running for a while, we should create Custom Audiences groups. These will allow us to target ads to potential customers who have interacted with any of our sources in the past. The most common use here are groups of people who have viewed our website/fan page, made a conversion or abandoned a shopping cart. The source of such people can be Facebook resources or external customer lists.
External resources include:
- Customer’s website.
- Activity in the application.
- Customer list.
- Outside activity.
Depending on the selected resource, the configuration of the custom audience group is different. Additional conditions may also be required, such as having a Facebook Pixel in the page code or uploading files with specific specifications. It is simpler to select Facebook resources as the source of users. Here we have a choice of:
- Film (e.g. users who have watched X% of the movie).
- Contact form (people who submit forms).
- Facebook page (e.g., people who left a like).
- Other, less frequently used sources.
Depending on the type of services being advertised, custom audiences will benefit in different ways. For E-commerce accounts, for example, they can be used for Facebook remarketing, when we want to offer regular customers an additional discount or when we want to reach customers who have abandoned their shopping cart in our store. If we advertise an event, people who have liked our page will be the target audience, which will bring better results than random people.
However, no matter what we want to use this targeting option for, we need to know where to find it. The first option is to expand the menu with all the tools on the left side of the screen and find the “Recipients” button in the “Advertising” section. Once here, we can easily find the blue “Create audience” button. After selecting it, we will be taken to a wizard that will first ask us about the source of the group (described above) and then, depending on our choice, guide us through the process of creating a custom audience group.
Similar audiences groups are users who share characteristics with the existing custom audiences I described earlier. Creating groups of similar audiences is the job of Facebook’s algorithms, we only need to indicate the source of the group and the location and size of the audience. If we have previously created a custom audience group “All site users,” when we select it as the source of similar audiences, Facebook will find people who have characteristics similar to users who have ever visited our site.
We determine the size of the group based on the percentage of all users. The range we can indicate is from 1% to 10%, with 1% being the people most similar to the source of the group, and 10% being a broader group that includes people who are more and less similar.
The group’s size is the most similar to the source of the group.
Similar audience targeting is used when the goal of the campaign is to attract more and more customers with specific interests. It is worth using it, especially when the number of users in custom groups is sparse and has no potential for growth.
Targeting for similar audiences is a good idea.
Hit the jackpot with the right target audience!
Contact us and experience the power of custom audience creation and precise ad targeting. Achieve maximum engagement and conversions by touching the heart of your potential customers where they are most interested.
The strongest aspect of Facebook ad targeting is the ability to select a targeted group of users based on their interests and behaviors. Other platforms, such as Google, also collect similar data, of course, but Facebook seems to be the service that was created for this purpose from the beginning. When you register with Facebook, you voluntarily provide data (such as your age or place of residence), making you part of a huge database used for ad targeting. Google builds a picture of you based on your search terms and the sites you’ve visited, which makes ad targeting in Google Ads somewhat different from that on Facebook. Facebook is given everything on a platter, including by interacting with posts on a given topic or “liking” specific fanpages.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the article: targeted advertising usually brings a higher percentage of expected conversions than one that is not targeted. So it’s worth using this option, even if you’re not quite sure what kind of customer is most valuable to you. A good practice, often used by digital marketing agencies, is to create several ad groups with different target audiences. This allows us to test which audiences are most valuable to us and in the future target ads mainly to them.
Hi! I have been involved in internet marketing for almost two years. I click on the computer and spend money that is not my own in such a way that it is most profitable for the owner of that money :) Despite a relatively short presence in the marketing industry, I have dealt with the largest Polish e-commerce companies. At UpMore I am responsible for managing projects including: in Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Apple Search Ads.