Advertising on Facebook is a great way to reach a lot of people.
It is the No. 1 social media network, after all, reaching about 59 percent of the world’s social networking population.
But just like with any advertising, Facebook ads are only as effective as your audience targeting. And while Facebook offers many ways to reach the audience most likely to engage with your ad, the strategy falls on you.
But the work is worth it. Facebook ads reach about 2.14 billion people. In addition, the average Facebook user clicks on 12 ads per month.
Check out our six tips to boost your Facebook marketing overall.
The following are seven tips to better target your ideal audience with Facebook ads so that you can boost your results and avoid burning ad dollars.
Start with the basics
When you’re creating Facebook ads, the first thing Facebook asks you to do is choose your target market by:
These are a great start, but they’re still just the beginning. Leaving your audience demographics at these three parameters is far too broad to ensure effective targeting (and results). When the audience is too large, the performance of your Facebook ads suffers.
Of course, on the flip side, you don’t want to ignore these selections either. Be sure that you’re selecting a geographic area that makes sense and an age range that you’ve thought through. For example, just because everyone between the ages of 18 and 65 could use your product and/or service doesn’t mean that’s who you should be targeting.
When it comes to gender, maybe your ad could appeal to either choice. However, it’s always worth considering tailoring your ad creative to each and running two different ads that are that much more specific. In other words, don’t be afraid to think outside the box as you drill down into the most specific message for the most specific target audience.
Identify your audience’s interests
Facebook offers thousands of interests to choose from when narrowing your target audience for your Facebook ad.
It’s easy to get lost in the weeds.
We recommend brainstorming specific topics and even people whom only the most avid fans you’re looking for would be interested in. For example, let’s say you’re looking to target people who like boxing. George Foreman is a popular boxer, but many people know who he is (and may only like him for his grills). You’d fare far better with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez as an interest to get to avid boxing fans.
Once you have some key interests identified, you can go into the ad settings and click on the “Interests” section. Take note that as you type in interests, Facebook will auto-populate some suggestions for you as well. You’ll see a description of the interest and how many people on the platform currently have it.
Definitely select multiple interests. Again, going too broad won’t help your Facebook ad or your advertising goals.
If you’re only looking to target one interest, be sure to cross that with additional demographic filters so that you’re narrowing your audience as much as possible.
Find who is already looking to buy your product (or service)
Facebook collects a lot of data, so the platform generally knows if you’ve been searching online to potentially buy something.
There’s a lot of potential for audience targeting there since about 73 percent of consumers research a product online before making a purchase.
So, even if these consumers haven’t heard of your business before but are searching on your competitors’ websites, you have the opportunity to target them with your Facebook ads (and hopefully convince them to purchase from you, not your competitors).
To do this, there is a “Behaviors” section in the Facebook ad settings.
There are many folders to choose from (and even more sub-folders within those), including “purchase behavior.”
We recommend browsing through the available behaviors to choose what is most applicable to the type of person you’re hoping to reach.
Get creative with your demographics
Filter by income level
Facebook has shifted how you can target your audience by income level, but it’s still an option (and definitely an option you should consider).
By clicking on the “Demographics” section in your ad settings, you’ll now see options tied to “top percentage” based on household income. Of course this data is inferred by Facebook through publicly available data, but narrowing your audience by general income level can also help boost your ad performance (particularly if you’re seeking individuals with more disposable income).
Look for your target audience’s profession
When thinking about your target audience’s interests and behaviors, you likely have an idea of ideal professions or workplaces for that potential customer.
Navigate to “work” within the “Demographics” section of your ad audience settings to make your targeting selections.
You can select by “Employers,” “Industries,” “Job Titles” and so on.
Choose an education level
Whether it relates to the product and/or service you’re selling or just the type of voice and message you’re using in your Facebook ad, you can filter by education level.
You’ll find the education-level filters under the “Demographics” section.
In addition, you can narrow your audience down by “field of study,” “school attended” or “undergrad years.”
Know that about 82 percent of college graduates are on Facebook.
The great thing about the Facebook ad parent filter in audience targeting is that not only can you target parents, but you can target them with children of a certain age.
This is important because how you might connect with a parent of a toddler is a bit different that what you might say to a parent of an older teenager.
You’ll find “All Parents” under the “Demographics” section and can narrow your search from there using the options within it.
Life events can be an effective targeting filter
Whether someone just began a new relationship, is coming up on an anniversary, started a new job, have a birthday coming, know someone with a birthday coming up (and so on), these are pivotal life events where you can get your message to key potential customers at just the right moment.
There are a number of “Life Event” filters under the “Demographics” section that you can choose from.
Likely, one of these could inspire an all-new ad for you to create.
Think outside the box with behaviors
Narrow down with politics
Depending on the goal of your Facebook ad, finding those who are likely to engage with political content could be ideal.
You can find the “Politics” filter under the “Behaviors” section.
Looking for gamers?
If your Facebook is trying to connect with gamers, you’re in luck.
Under “Digital Activities” within the “Behaviors” section, you can filter your audience by type of gamer and more.
Filter by the device used
Whether someone is on Facebook through a mobile device or not, may or may not matter to your business.
But it definitely could if you’re promoting an app download or something else tied to a smartphone.
You can narrow this down by going to the “Behaviors” section and then “Mobile Device User” and/or “Mobile Device User/Device Use Time.”
Just keep in mind that when you’re specifically advertising to mobile users only, you want to make extra sure that your Facebook ad is eye-catching even on a small screen.
Find frequent travelers
Depending on who you’re trying to reach, traveling might be an identifying hobby or activity for them.
Whether it’s frequent travelers or simply those who commute, you can locate the “Travel” filter under the “Behaviors” section.
Not sure why you would factor in traveling unless your in the travel industry specifically? Thank about commuters. They have a lot of passive time to kill and would be a great target for the promotion of a new podcast, for example.
Remember, you’re identifying the interests, behaviors and demographics that will get you in front of the people most likely to engage with your Facebook ad and potentially convert into a customer.
Exclude whoever you don’t need to reach as well
Almost as powerful as targeting key audiences is the ability to exclude those you don’t want or need to reach as well.
This can work in a number of ways, depending on your goals. You’ll see the “Exclude” option in your ad settings.
Consider using different types of audiences
Custom Audiences on Facebook ads are an advanced feature where you can use Facebook to reach your existing contacts.
You may want to do this to reinforce your brand and brand loyalty among your customers. Of course, you can exclude your existing customers from being shown your Facebook ad as well.
Whether you have a Custom Audience to build a Lookalike Audience off of or not, you can also create one by using a Facebook tracking pixel on your website.
Either way, Facebook does the work by creating a similar audience based on the data available. You have the option to expand or shrink that audience in terms of broadening the search or not (similarity versus reach).
Want to learn more? Facebook actually offers free courses on how businesses (like yours) can best use their ad targeting options.
As you’re diving more into Facebook ads, it’s good to refresh yourself on the overall opportunities and challenges of Facebook for your business as well.
Plus, dive deeper into how to identify your target audience.
Looking to level up your digital marketing process beyond Facebook? Schedule your free demo of DailyStory today.