February 16, 2023

Audience targeting on Facebook

Audience targeting on Facebook

Facebook has become a go-to spot for digital marketers looking to increase their ROI. It's no wonder since this platform can automatically show relevant ads to millions of interested individuals worldwide.

This is all possible because of Facebook's audience targeting capability.

Unfortunately, audience targeting on Facebook can be a big struggle, especially if you don't know where to start. Yet knowing how to work around this can bring your brand closer to success. In addition, it can lead to better conversions and ROI.

In this post, we'll discuss how audience targeting works. We'll also dive into several proven tips to widen your reach on Facebook.

Let’s get started!

What is Facebook audience targeting?

Audience targeting on Facebook involves showing your ads to a select group of individuals. Usually, these people have shown prior interest in your products or pages that offer similar services.

This is a simple way of describing Facebook audience targeting. But there's more to it that needs to be discussed before you can fully grasp and execute it for your brand.

For this to be possible, you need to understand your Facebook audience.

Your Facebook audience refers to the target people your ads are intended to reach. They can either click on your page or scroll past it on their newsfeed. Of course, this would depend on how you deliver your messages and content.

You'll find three types of target audiences on Facebook:

  • Core Audiences: You can target core audiences based on specific parameters like age group, interests, location, and more.
  • Custom Audiences: You can reconnect with users who have already engaged with your page — online or offline.
  • Lookalike Audiences: You can target new individuals with similar interests to your best customers. They're users who have no clue about your business.

Facebook audience targeting enables digital marketers to define their target audience. They can control who will see their ads by:

  • Targeting Broadly: When you target broadly, you rely on Facebook's delivery system. It will show your ads to interested people — old and new. It's ideal if you're only starting out.
  • Targeting Specifically: When you target specifically, you define parameters to reach a particular set of people. It's a great strategy to get your products and services to highly qualified leads.
Facebook Audience Targeting

There are numerous approaches to help you deliver your messages to your target audience. And with audience targeting, you can do the following:

1. You can target users who are most likely to respond

Targeted ads will only appear on the news feeds of Facebook users that show interest in your products or similar pages. They're individuals who have likely searched for relevant services. So there's a higher chance they'll respond and buy from you.

2. You can optimise your ad spending

Spending on ads isn't a joke. And the sad thing about this is that paid ads don't necessarily bring positive ROI. But by targeting your audience, you'll know your ads are reaching potential customers.

3. You can pinpoint effective content

Targeted audiences can tell you the overall performance of your content. You'll see which posts — photos, videos, blog posts, and more — are effective in grabbing the attention of Facebook users.

4. You can identify valuable audiences

The best way to identify your target audience is to explore a diverse pool of individuals on Facebook. Since there are three types of targeted audiences, there's a greater chance for you to identify potential customers that don't necessarily fit the parameters you defined.

5. You can gain more conversions

If your Facebook audience shows interest in your products and services, they'll most likely buy from you. You can turn potential customers into sales.

How targeting on Facebook works

Targeting on Facebook involves tailoring your ads to a specific group of people. Then, depending on your parameters, these users may or may not turn into sales.
For instance, a company that sells laptops can promote its newest model by targeting students. This means their ads will only appear on the news feeds of Facebook users that fall under this category.

The above example is just one way of targeting your audience. In reality, there are several other ways to reach out to them.

Let's explore the primary targeting methods used by Facebook:

1. Behaviours

Facebook developed a feature known as Facebook Pixel to target potential customers based on their behaviour. It tracks their past purchases, activity, and device usage.

If you own a pastry shop, you can target users who recently viewed or searched for pastry goods like cookies, cakes, or brownies.

Site Speed

2. Demographics

You can target your audience based on age, gender, civil status, education, income, or job title. But you can see more of these demographics on Facebook. One excellent audience targeting option is ‘life events’.

If you own a toy store, you can target users under 18.

3. Engagement

Targeting people who are engaged with your posts is an excellent way to get sales. They're individuals who have liked, commented, or shared your content or followed your page.

If you own a tutorial centre, you can target users that shared, liked, or commented on your post.

4. Interests

You can target individuals based on their interests and hobbies. Facebook usually determines this based on their liked pages or frequently visited sites.

If you own a photography shop, you can target users who like photography, camera brands, or photographers.

5. Location

Facebook can target individuals based on their behaviour outside the Facebook app. It keeps track of the sites and apps you frequently or recently visited.

If you own a car dealership, you can target users that have recently gotten a car loan.

6. Partner connections

Facebook can target individuals based on their behaviour outside the Facebook app. It keeps track of the sites and apps you frequently or recently visited.

If you own a car dealership, you can target users that have recently gotten a car loan.

7. Contact lists

You can also tailor your ads to specific users who have subscribed to your email lists.

8. Site visitors

You can also target a custom audience — individuals who viewed your website.

9. Automatic optimisation

Facebook has an automated optimisation feature to make your life easier. It uses several demographics and targeting options to give you the best individuals to target on the site.

10. Layering multiple targeting attributes

There are several primary targeting methods — a consumer's behaviour, location, and demographics, to name a few. But the capabilities of Facebook audience targeting don't stop there.

You can combine different audience attributes to target the best people for your ads. This feature is known as Layering.

For instance, you can define a particular interest and age group to narrow down the size of your target audience. This way, you can be more detailed and specific with your customers.

Let's say you own a gym. You can target individuals in their mid-20s who are interested in health and fitness. Your ads should only appear to Facebook users that meet these attributes.

Note: We recommend testing multiple audience targeting attributes with various creative ads. Doing this will allow you to identify which posts capture your audience's attention best.

Tips for Facebook audience targeting in 2023

Since there are multiple targeting attributes on Facebook, many brands struggle to use them to their advantage. This is because they don't know which parameters to use and how to maximise them effectively.

But learning how to target audiences can benefit your brand, especially once you've mastered its ins and outs.
Don't fret because there are several approaches to work around this problem.

Let's take a look at these Facebook audience targeting strategies below:

1. Analyse recent purchase behaviour

Facebook collects the behaviour of its users across different websites and apps. Because of this, you can take advantage of millions of consumer data worldwide.

And using this information to target your audience on Facebook is one of the best approaches to reaching potential leads.

You can group your audience's purchase behaviour into different categories. Each category will tell you the number of Facebook users you can target per ad.

These buyer behaviour subcategories are:

  • Business Purchases;
  • Buyer Profiles;
  • Clothing;
  • Food and Drink;
  • Health and Beauty;
  • Home and Garden;
  • Household Products;
  • Kids Products:
  • Pet Products; and
  • Sports and Outdoors.

Of course, Facebook offers more categories than the ones we listed here. Regardless, you can narrow them down further to identify a more specific audience.

Let's say you chose the Buyer Profile category. Clicking this will present you with three more particular subcategories:

  • DIYers;
  • Foodies; and
  • Gamers.

Narrowing down your options lets you be more specific with the people you want your ads to reach. As a result, it allows you to optimise your ad spending and drive more potential conversions. Alternatively, you can use the audience ‘engaged shoppers’ who are individuals that clicked on an ad recently.

Purchase Behaviour

2. Advertise a life event

If you've scrolled through your Facebook feed, you may have encountered several posts about your friends' milestones. While this is a great way to memorialise your memories, Facebook uses this data to enable targeted ads.

Several common life events that people post about include the following:

  • Birthdays;
  • Graduating University;
  • Starting a New Job;
  • Buying a House or Car;
  • Getting Engaged with Your Partner;
  • Marrying Your Partner:
  • Giving Birth to Your Child; and
  • Retirement.

If you're an event planner, you can target users who are turning a year older. On the other hand, clothing stores can target users who recently started a new office job and may be looking for professional attire.

Life events

3. Use custom audiences

Custom audiences on Facebook enable you to get in touch with individuals who have already connected with you in the past. They include previous customers and users who clicked on your website or installed your app.

This type of audience strengthens your brand's visibility. It also boosts customer loyalty and satisfaction. But the best thing about this approach is that you can exclude your current follower base from your campaigns and focus on acquiring new clients.

You can build your custom audiences on Facebook:

  • From Your Customer Lists: You can upload your phone or email list to Facebook. Make sure it's in CSV or TXT format.
  • From Your Business Website: You must install Facebook Pixel on your website to keep track of ad conversions.
  • From A Mobile App: You must register your app and set up the Meta SDK to build your custom audiences.
  • From Engagements: You can group audiences based on their interactions with your content. They can be in the form of views, follows, likes, clicks, or responses.

After building your custom audiences, you can exclude them from your ad campaign. You can use other audience targeting parameters to narrow them down further.

But you can also expand your audiences to include lookalike audiences. This way, you can reach a wider pool of Facebook users but still target specific profiles.

Custom Audiences

4. Remarket from a website

You can target individuals who interacted with your products — online or offline — but never proceeded to buy them with the help of Facebook Pixel. It's a code you insert into your website's source code to work.

In return, you can collect important consumer data and keep track of conversions. You can also target your audiences and remarket your ads to Facebook users who engaged with your website in some way before.

5. Do layered targeting

You'll catch several targeting options on Facebook — consumer behaviour, demographics, location, interests, partner connections, and more. But what can you do to target a more specific group of users?

You can do layered targeting to work around Facebook's numerous targeting attributes.

Layered targeting combines different audience targeting options to help you pinpoint your best audiences. In addition, you can mix two or more attributes together to reach targeted individuals more efficiently.

For this strategy, combining three key attributes — consumer behaviour, demographics, and location — enables your ads to be more highly targeted than before.

For example, a pharmaceutical company can target users over 60 who searched for the term 'healthy living' on Facebook and are from the United Kingdom.

This strategy, alongside interactive ads, can improve your visibility to different audiences. As a result, they'll more likely avail of your products or services.

Layered Audiences

Audience targeting on Facebook is challenging, especially for newbie digital marketers. You must consider several attributes to target the best people for your ads.

This strategy is also an excellent step to optimising your ads. And using robust Facebook reporting services from third-party tools like Reporting Ninja can help you decide what's best for your brand.

Reporting Ninja provides you with a set of tools that deliver important insights, analytics, and trends about your posts and account. With its help, you can keep track of your overall performance and growth.

Sign up for a free trial today and see how you can boost your leads and conversions!

Javier Pozo