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How to select your Facebook Ads Targeting

How to select your Facebook Ads Targeting

When it comes to running a seamless advertising campaign, it’s important to get your targeting right. It’s the difference between putting your business in front of an audience that’s ready to buy and will develop a life-long relationship with your brand, and missing your target completely. 

Here’s everything you need to know on how to select your Facebook ads targeting.

Things to know before getting started

Before we get started, it’s important to keep in mind that this is intended as a solid foundation for you to start launching new ads, but it will never replace decisions made based on data and learnings acquired by managing your account on a daily basis. 

If you’re struggling with your ad campaign or just getting started? This is the guideline for you. But if things are pretty okay in your ad account, our rule of thumb is to keep it SIMPLE. Don’t try this overhaul unless absolutely necessary. 

You’ll also need to have a good understanding of the three major targeting options:

  • Core audiences

Core audiences are intended for targeting a group of people that most likely haven’t heard of your business yet. 

Location: Target based on locations

Demographics: Target based on their demographics

Interests: Target based on what they’re most likely interested in 

Behavior: Target based on overall online behaviors (not just behavior on your site)

Connection: Target based on certain relationships with your pages

  • Custom audiences

This is an audience designed for you to target a group of people that already know of you/your business.

Contact lists: Target people that match your customer contact list (phone or email addresses)

App users: Target people who use your App

Site visitors: Target people who have already visited your website

Engagement on Facebook: Target people that engage with your content on Facebook

  • Lookalike audiences

If you want to target a group of people that most likely haven’t been to your business yet, yet share very similar characteristics with your customer audience or a segment of your audience? A lookalike is for you. 

Define your audience

Now that we’ve covered the basics of Facebook audiences, it’s time to dig into defining your audience.

Defining your Facebook audience

Defining your core audience:

Pick one of the following options, depending on what is available to you. You can, of course, opt to use a combination:

Option 1: Use existing customer avatars (best)

These personas should have been created specifically for your business and match the product, service, or offer you will be promoting on your ads. 

On Ads Manager, under detailed targeting, explore interests, behaviors or demographics that would match the ones of your customer avatar. Remember to make sure the audience size isn’t too broad, or too narrow. 

Option 2: Use industry reports or competitive data (good)

There are a few ways you can gather this data. By using Similar Web (free, no email required) to insert your URL and analyze accordingly. This will give you relevant interests, behaviors or demographics. Or, use industry reports or market research you already have from your own data to narrow down relevant interests, behaviors, demographics. 

Option 3: Target competitors or pages with complementary services/products (not ideal, specifically in the long run)

If you do not have any of the options above, or want to diversify your traffic or test new audiences – you can target competitors or brands that offer supplementary products/services.

Defining your custom audience

This audience depends largely on what it is that your ad will be promoting. As a rule of thumb, however, you want to start targeting people that are as close to your ad’s conversion goal as possible. 

For example: if your ad is going to push users to purchase a product from your store? You may want to target people that have been to the checkout but have not completed the purchase. 

Ideally, your custom audience should have at least 1000 people, so if your site does not get a lot of traffic, you may need to get a little broader with your custom audience. 

For example: if only 100 people have visited your checkout page but didn’t purchase? You may want to also add users that have viewed the sales page but didn’t purchase, or engaged with your Facebook, etc. 

Keep in mind that your ability to target certain audiences will depend on how granular your tracking is. For example, if you want to deliver an ad to people that have submitted a form on your site, but have not purchased? You’ll need to be tracking both form submission AND the purchase event.

Defining your lookalike audience

You can create lookalikes from any of the audiences from above (custom audiences). Generally, you’ll want to start with the most valuable audiences i.e. your best customers, and move onto others as you scale. 

A good starting point would be to go from the top to bottom of this list:

  • Best customers
  • All customers
  • Add to carts
  • Best leads
  • All leads
  • Checkout/pricing page views
  • > 2 pages viewed
  • Page views

Start by selecting the smallest lookalike percentage possible (1%) and only increase it if you have already found that audience to be successful and you want to try and scale it without moving to a different one. 

But after you’ve defined your initial lookalike audience – don’t forget to use targeting layers and check for audience overlap. 

Use targeting layers

When building your Facebook ads targeting, be sure to select the correct locations and demographics. This includes location and language but, in terms of age and gender, only select these if you have substantial data that indicates you should include that segment. When unsure? It’s best to leave the audience wide enough. 

As you can see below, for this Australian fashion brand, we narrowed our audience down to women only, to correlate with the collection available. 

using targeting layers on facebook example

If you don’t want to show your ad to an audience that already took your desired action? Make sure to exclude that segment from your audience. 

And if your audience is too wide, it’s a good idea to narrow it down a bit too.

Check for audience overlap

One of the last things you’ll need to do to tighten your Facebook ads targeting is to check for audience overlap. 

In Ads Manager, click on the “all tools” sidebar and select “Audiences”. 

Select the audience you’ll be analyzing, then click “Show Audience Overlap”. You’ll receive a report that will tell you what the overlap percentage is across your audiences.

checking your facebook audience

Keep in mind that if your audience is smaller than 10k, you won’t be able to analyze the audience. 

If you’re seeing a high overlap percentage across your audience? You might want to consolidate the overlap audience to a single audience, or refine it in a way that reduces the overlap percentage across them.

checking for audience overlap in Facebook ads

In the above case, where overlap should not be a problem, it’s unlikely that overlap will notably affect your account. If it’s hard to avoid? It might not be worth getting too concerned about this overlap.

And that’s it for selecting your Facebook Ads Targeting! This’ll help you build a seamless advertising structure, that you can flesh out as needed. Keep in mind: if you keep it simple from the start, it makes it easier than ever to see what works, and what doesn’t. 

If you’re looking for more ways to max out your marketing? Check out our Learning Lab today for more free resources you’ll LOVE!

And don’t forget to jump into our free Ecommerce Advice group. It’s an amazing community where you can gain insight into what we’re doing behind-the-scenes at McKee Creative, plus every month a lucky member will receive a free growth checklist, tailored to your brand.

Book a free strategy call today

We look after everything from single ad copy to full campaigns, and we make sure to tailor all our approaches to your individual brand’s needs and tone. 

Book in today to have a chat with our team of experts: https://go.oncehub.com/JoanneMcKee

“Had the pleasure to work with Jo on 3 in depth creative projects with strict timelines. It was refreshing to see a professional actually know what they are talking about and execute with laser precision. We’ve worked on projects with Jo’s team from full blown branding and marketing audits (she crushed it), 20+ page website builds (looks beautiful), and implemented a really strategic digital advertising game plan inside Facebook and Instagram and is crushing it. I look forward to working with Jo on many more projects.” – Travis Eubanks, Digital Marketer