The Data in the Details: Choosing an Audience for Facebook Ad Targeting (Step 2)

[Facebook Advertising Series #2] Next, we examine how to target the right kinds of people for an ad campaign. We will also discuss how to analyze audience data, and consider the ways of choosing the various targeting options available for audiences on Facebook.

To record success in your ad campaign, understand the people interested in the product(s) or services you offer – essentially your customers.

Don’t worry; Facebook’s utilizes a vast array of tools to help you with you with your audience analysis decision making.

How to Analyze Audience Data and Reach the Right Audience

You need to become familiar with all the tools available to you through the Facebook Business Audience Manager. To access the Audience Manager, click on the top-left menu in the Facebook Ads Manager and select “Audiences” under Assets.

Once you are in the audience manager tool, you can create new Facebook audiences and also view previously created ones. Now we will examine the types of audiences on Facebook.

There are three (3) primary audience types:

With these three groups, you can target the right audience with your Facebook ad campaign(s). Saved audiences are really your standard audience, with options to select many different aspects for targeting. Lookalike audiences are expanded versions of past or current audiences in the library. This can help you extend your reach outside of a location using an audience that is more likely to be engaged with your content. Finally, custom audiences use a variety of information to remarket to visitors based on past engagement, view, and website activity. We will explore remarketing later in this series.


Creating the Perfect Saved Audience Profiles

This type of audience is formed based on selecting users’ locations, ages, gender, languages, classes of devices, interests, demographics, and behaviors. Saved audiences can are useful when constructing a critical audience, you will use for multiple campaigns.


Targeting Based on Location

With this targeting option, you can focus on people in any place you choose, with parameters such as:

  • Country
  • State
  • Region/Province
  • Counties
  • Designated Market Area, DMA
  • City
  • Postal/Zip Code
  • Geographical Radius

Advertisers can also add a more refined search parameter, to be more specific, choosing either:

  • Everyone in this location: This is the last location a real Facebook user updated. It is the default option.
  • People who live in this area: This is set by the city on their profile or based on their IP.
  • People recently in this location: This is determined by the mobile device usage in the geographical region you selected.
  • People traveling to this area: Facebook users who have recently been to this location and at least 100 miles from their home location.

You would typically target people who live in the location, however, for certain industries, targeting people who are only visiting the area or people can be a strategic decision. Additionally, if you find the “Everyone in This Location” option is still too broad, narrowing it down to “People Who Live in The Are” can help reduce the reach and increase ad performance.


Targeting Based on Demographics

Clicking on the Demographics tab will provide you with many options to fine-tune your audience. The three primary criteria are:

  • Age: This helps you to specify the most relevant age range for those you want to reach.
  • Gender: You can specify a gender, either men or women or both.
  • Language: This is a great way to target only people who understand the language your ads will appear.


These three (3) are the primary criterion, but you can also target audience based on other demographic factors including:

  • Education – Highest level, field of study, school attended, and graduation year.
  • Financial – Household income or net worth.
  • Relationship – Who they are interested in or their current status.
  • Work – Employer, job title, or industry worked in.
  • Home – Residence type, ownership type, and household composition.
  • Ethnicity – Ethnic infinity groups (African-American, Asian-American, or Hispanic)
  • Parents – Parent types and type of mother.
  • Generation – Baby boomers, Generation X, or Millennials.
  • Life Events – Life events as confirmed by a person’s profile (i.e. New Job or Upcoming Birthday)
  • Political Views – Liberals, conservatism, and likelihood to engage in politics.

You should try to utilize the financial demographic options, especially if you are e-commerce or service driven with a select income in mind. The parenting option is especially useful for the shopping and education industries because of the data Facebook collects on motherhood and parenting. Finally, home ownership is great for industries like home construction and remodeling because you can find people who are homeowners, as opposed to renters. You can go as far to exclude people who’ve taken out a second mortgage.


Targeting Based on Interests

Interests are a powerful targeting option for ads.  Why?  

They allow you to target people with similar interests to the type of product(s) and services you are offering.  A good example is to target people interested in brands related to the product or services you offer, or your niche.

To do this, you can choose from hundreds of available interests in the menu or search for a particular interest related to your ad, and you will receive suggestions.

Examples include interests based on:

  • Business and industry.
  • Family and relationships.
  • Fitness and wellness.
  • Food and drink.
  • Hobbies and activities.
  • Shipping and fashion.
  • Sports and outdoors.


Targeting Based on Behavior

With this, you can focus people based on actions they have taken on Facebook such as anniversaries and important dates, transaction history, events, cultural affinity, and more.

They are a great way to connect with action-based audiences, though they require mastery. Examples include behaviors by:

  • Business to business.
  • Charitable donations.
  • Digital activities.
  • Job roles.
  • Mobile device usage.
  • Purchasing history behavior.
  • Residential profiles.
  • Seasons and events.

With all of these options at your disposal, how will you combine these factors to reach your ideal customer?

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