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Facebook Ad Targeting: Find Customers Like a Marketing Eagle Eye

Think about your target audience. Describe them.

  • How old are they?
  • What do they like and dislike?
  • Where do they live?
  • What’s their occupation?
  • What’s their gender?
  • How much discretionary income do they have?
  • What’s their personality like?

Congratulations! Once you’ve finished answering questions like these (and others), you’ll have built your target market. However, that target audience you’ve identified likely makes up less than 1% of Facebook’s users.

With over 2.80 billion monthly active users on the platform, you have to master Facebook ad targeting to ensure your hard-earned marketing budget doesn’t get wasted on the 99% of other uninterested buyers milling about. That’s easier said than done—and that’s why we’ve built this quick guide to help you learn all the top Facebook targeting options you can use to find customers like a marketing sniper.

Don’t Skip Through the Targeting Setup

This is a rookie mistake most new ad-makers make the first time around. When you reach the targeting portion of the Facebook ads setup process, take your time—targeting is where the magic happens.

It’ll take time and research to narrow down your targeting, but it’s hours well spent. Here’s what you get the more you zero in on your target audience:

  • Save Your Budget: Spend your advertising dollars on those most likely to buy—not unconcerned Facebook users.
  • See Results Quickly: Serve your ads to users with the most potential quickly, helping you see ROI in days instead of weeks.
  • Run Perfect Ads: Use the type of ads your target audience is most likely to engage with, whether that’s videos, stories, or Messenger ads.

Without specific targeting, Facebook is a massive waste of money. Think about it.

If your typical buyer is a 21-year-old female college student who likes knitting, that’s a very specific audience—you can’t afford to waste your budget on married couples, male college students, high schoolers, or those with no interest in knitting or arts and crafts.

Don’t skip through the targeting portion of your Facebook ads setup. It might not be as fun as creating the ad copy or creative assets, but it’s arguably the most critical phase of your ad creation.

Finding Your Facebook Target Audience

The time you set aside to start creating your Facebook ads is not the time to figure out who your Facebook target audience is. Building your target market requires research and insights—not guesswork.

Use your existing customer data (whether that’s in-store data gathering or Google Analytics tracking website users) to learn who your customers are. Ideally, you’d have completed (or at least started) this research before you even launched your business—but that’s not always the case.

Learn about your ideal Facebook target audience. Figure out who they are. Don’t use Facebook ads to figure out who your audience is—there are much cheaper ways to learn those insights.

Here are a few ways you can define your target market:

  • Reference Your Competitors: Have more established competitors in your niche? Look and learn from their customers—they’ll likely be relatively similar to your own.
  • Conduct Market Research: Launch customer surveys, interviews, and focus groups to learn about your audience.
  • Use Your Social Media Data: If you’ve already built a social media following, Facebook will have gathered important insights about your followers.

If you find that your target audience is too broad, you’ll need to narrow it down into different segments.

For example, if you sell whey protein powder for women, you may have a general audience ranging from women ages 18-40 who like to exercise—but that’s a very broad audience.

Within that target market, you’ll likely have different segments, such as:

  • Female college athletes
  • Non-collegiate female athletes
  • Women looking to get fit
  • Moms who like to workout
  • Female powerlifters
  • Female yoga enthusiasts

These segments vary widely, and the ads you serve will need to be adjusted to target their specific wants and needs.

Facebook Targeting Options—Top 5 Filters in Your Arsenal

Facebook is an intelligent platform. Without touching a thing, it’ll do its best to show your ads to people who are most likely to interact or make a purchase. However, Facebook won’t know your audience as well as you do—and that’s why it’s important you get your hands dirty with the Facebook targeting options.

Here are a few of the most powerful filters you can set to determine where your ads are delivered:

1. Location

Advertise in the right spots. If you run a local business, you’ll want to focus on serving ads to buyers in your community.

However, location is important even if you run an online store. For example, if you’re targeting the surfing community, you’ll want to target your ads to coastal towns and cities next to surfing beaches. Or, if you’re targeting skiers, you’ll want to target your ads to states and cities well-known for skiing.

You may even want to advertise to people visiting a location (instead of those who live there). For example, if you run a hotel, resort, or other travel services, you’d want to target tourists and not locals—and Facebook’s geo-targeting options let you set those parameters.

2. Demographics

Demographics are one of the most basic (yet most important) data on your customers. Fortunately, they’re usually high-level data that’s easier to obtain:

  • Age: Age plays a big part in buying behavior. Even if your customers expand across a wide age range, you’ll want to serve different ads to target each segment specifically.
  • Gender: Men and women have different shopping habits—target them accordingly.
  • Languages: You may need to create different ad campaigns to target different audiences. For example, if you’re targeting customers in Miami, you might create two campaigns: one for Spanish-speaking audiences and one for English-speaking.
  • Education: Those who’ve obtained (or not obtained) a certain level of education may be more inclined to buy your products.
  • Work: Where someone works can say a lot about them—use this data to narrow down your audience.

3. Interests

You can learn a lot about your Facebook audience by looking at which pages they like. Users also add everything from hobbies to favorite movies to their profile—and you can use this data to serve them more relevant ads.

The more you know about your audience, the better. Some insights will make sense. For example, if you sell clothing for pregnant women, women who follow maternity brands will likely be attracted to your store.

Others may surprise you—like those with soccer interests who may tend to gravitate towards your skateboarding style of shoes.

Facebook doesn’t just take into account liked pages or marked interests. Facebook also analyzes the content users frequently watch, like, comment, and engage with to make assumptions about their interests. If a user is watching many backpacking videos on their feed, Facebook will likely mark that person as interested in backpacking.

4. Behavior

You can target Facebook users based on their behavior on and off the platform. For example, you can refine your audience to include those who’ve made prior purchases of specific products or downloaded your mobile app.

You could also target Facebook event creators or Facebook page admins. Insights like these could help you narrow your audience to those who run offline and online events or those who likely manage social media business accounts.

Behavioral targeting lets you refine your audience based on their mobile device usage, too. This means you could serve your ads to Android users, or you could target only tablet owners.

5. Lookalike Audiences

If you have a healthy business but aren’t exactly sure who your audience is, Facebook’s Lookalike Audience tool can help you narrow it down.

With this targeting method, you’ll enter a pool of customer data (whether from your pixel data, mobile app data, or fans of your Facebook page) that Facebook will use to create a similar audience that’ll likely be interested in your business.

This method for creating your Facebook targeting audience is quick and easy. All you need to do is upload the data from your best customers, wait for Facebook to process the data, and voilà—you now can serve ads to an audience similar to your existing customer base.

Master Facebook Ad Targeting in Weeks Instead of Years

Tired of running ads that generate little return? Facebook ad targeting can be overwhelming, and the difference between a money-making ad and a money-burning ad is sometimes just a few teeny-tiny details.

Let us help. Join our Facebook Advertising Masterclass to learn everything you need to start turning a healthy profit on Facebook.

Your instructor Nick Shackelford has spent over $100 million on Facebook ads, and he’s learned what works and what doesn’t. In this course, he shares his ad creation formulas and blueprints to help you win big on Facebook.

Ready to stop wasting your budget? Learn from a professional instead of through trial and error. Sign up for the course to learn how to master Facebook ads without wasting a dollar.

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