How to improve your Facebook ads with audience targeting


When it comes to a Facebook ads campaign, it’s essential that you know who your customers are. Not only the ones you already know about – y’know, the ones that pop into your shop on a weekly basis or are regulars on your website or social media pages – but also the ones you haven’t got yet.

No, you don’t need Mystic Meg on the case. Facebook can help you find and target that ‘unknown’ audience, and is a whole lot less elusive or ambiguous about the whole thing too.

What is Facebook ad targeting?

Comparative to females optimistically searching for that ‘tall, dark and handsome’ man on the streets around them, Facebook will search in every corner of its digi-world to find people that are the perfect fit for your business as a customer. However, Facebook has a lot more success.

Thanks to its varied selection of targeting options, Facebook will help you find the people you are looking for. All you’ve got to do is tell it who your ideal customer persona is, with as much detail as possible. Move over, Mystic Meg.


How it works

Facebook is jam-packed full of data – and that data is only growing and growing. With over a billion users and a global average of 20+ minutes usage a day, the site has details that are useful – in fact, CRUCIAL – to your company.

After setting up the images and text for your campaign, you will see the vast selection of targeting options that Facebook offers, all to make sure you connect with the right customers for you.

You can play around with options like age, gender, location, relationship status, education or workplace, listed interests, and activities, and you can also delve a lot deeper than that.

We’ve mentioned before that Facebook is a clever, clever place. So clever in fact, that it knows (and protects) information like a person’s tendency to use their phone over a laptop to search the internet; whether someone has just returned from travelling or is about to go; and even someone’s exact postcode.

So, now you get why knowing your target audience is so important in creating a successful Facebook Ad campaign.

Get your targeting strategy in place

Why should you do it?

You wouldn’t go to a one-plate maximum buffet and fill your plate with foods you don’t like, so why waste your budget on people that aren’t relevant to your business?

What you want to do is to make the most of your money and pick your favourites out of Facebook’s buffet of customer data. That way, you’ll fill up on benefits such as:

  • Increased relevance of your ad or business to its audience
  • Ability to deliver specific messages to specific people
  • Allows you to develop your buying personas more and more
  • More value from your advert spend by only reaching the people that matter to you

How do you know who to target?

Given the wide range of options available to you for Facebook ad targeting, this is your chance to get clever and creative. The more clever and creative you are, the more value you can get from your ad.

The aim of the game is to find the exact people you want to connect with; your ideal customer persona or personas. Once you’ve got your Facebook audience sorted, you can nurture them, and build loyalty and engagement between them.

So, where to start? One of the first, and most obvious, things to do is to play around with Facebook’s demographic and segmentation tools to build your advert’s audience, which includes the simple things like:

Location:  Using this tool, you can target your advert to people that live or work in your area or within a certain radius of your area. You can even target people on a mobile phone within a radius of your location, which is a great way for a bakery to get their irresistible cookie deal out there, or a car-cleaning service to shout about their amazing offers to both locals and to passersby or visitors.

Interests:  There are millions of groups and pages available on Facebook for users to join or ‘like’ that both helps them build up their profile, and helps businesses like you discover those with relevant interests. For example, if you’d like to promote a new haircare product, you can target those who have ‘liked’ haircare brands such as L’Oreal or TRESemmé.

Life events:  Facebook Ad targeting also allows you to zone in on Life Events that could be relevant to your business or promotion. This gives you a chance to target people at specific times of their life, where they could benefit from what you offer. For instance, those that are ‘Just Engaged’ will be more interested in wedding deals than those who are ‘Just Married’.

But you don’t have to stick to just one specification. You have the option to overlay additional targeting preferences to create your ideal customer personas. This means you can focus, not just on people within a 5-mile radius of your business, but those within that group who are aged between 18 and 25 and have an interest in both rock climbing and cupcake making… if that’s your thing.


Your new best friend: Custom Audiences

On top of those segmentation tools, Facebook also offers a genius – and incredibly helpful – tool called Custom Audiences which you can get by setting up Facebook Power Editor.

It makes your ad campaign even smarter and even more effective, providing you with the competitive advantage of totally unique data.

How do you work Custom Audiences on Facebook?

Within Facebook Adverts Manager, go to the Audiences tab on the left-hand side of the page, click Create Audience, and then go to Customer List. Here, you will see various options to choose from: Customer List, Website Traffic, and App Activity.

By using email addresses or phone numbers you’ve already obtained, Facebook user IDs collected from your mobile app, or mobile advertiser IDs (users of your mobile app), you can custom-build and enhance your campaign to be more precise in who sees it. Done properly, this can ultimately lead to more click-throughs and successful rates.

After uploading and finalising your target groups, you can save them to reuse or duplicate the audience for a repeated or new campaign. If you’d like to create a new target group from scratch, this is easily done in the Audiences section.

What can you do with it?

Once you’ve grasped the basics of Custom Audiences, the potential of your ad campaign can increase dramatically, with the ultimate goal being to attain more loyal customers in your client base.

The combination of Facebook’s segmentation tools and Custom Audiences makes sure that the right message is getting to the right people. It allows you to tailor your ads, so you can do things like:

  • Connect with people that regularly visit your website or blog
  • Reach the users who haven’t opened your emails (using data from MailChimp)
  • Remind your audience to complete an action, eg. the check-out process
  • Generate competition entries with existing customers or mailing list members
  • Exclude audiences to prevent converted customers from seeing your ads

The relevancy of your advert is crucial to higher success rates, particularly for small or start-up businesses, which is why it’s more than worthwhile getting to know the tools that Facebook has on offer and using them properly.


How to test what works, and what doesn’t

Facebook Power Editor also offers A/B testing or split testing for your ad campaigns, to help you see what works best. Whether you split the audience for your ad or you create two different versions of it, you can test their performance to discover what is most efficient for you and your brand.

By using split testing, you aren’t putting all your eggs in one basket, which is particularly good for businesses that are just starting to use Facebook for advertising. These tests allow you to track, optimise and transfer your budget into something that is proven to work, making it cost-effective and useful for building future campaigns too.

Avoid those costly mistakes

Facebook has all the functions you need to have a successful ad campaign, without it costing the earth. Marketers overspend when they target too broadly, don’t apply custom audiences, don’t have a strategy in place, and don’t test their ads.

These are all costly mistakes that needn’t happen – you just have to understand how to use Facebook’s handy tools to your advantage.

If you, like many others, don’t have the time or the sources to learn the ropes of Facebook advertising, we can help you. Find out more about our social media solutions or get in touch with our friendly team on 08450 304444.


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