Reaching The Right Audience Through Facebook Ads

More than any other element, targeting is what sets Facebook advertising apart from other channels. Anything that a user inputs into his or her Facebook profile is targetable: age, gender, relationship status, location, interests, level of education, and more.

These capabilities allow you to reach customers at a much deeper and more customized level. Instead of waiting for your customers to come to you, you can bring highly relevant content to them.

Don’t Oversimplify

Overlooking or oversimplifying your targeting approach limits the kind of success you can have. The abundance of targeting capabilities on Facebook is only what you make of it. The more you are willing to delve in and test, and the more information you can learn, the more aptly targeted your ads, and the better they will perform.

So with all the possibilities, where does one begin? As with creative, research plays an important part in determining what targeting should be used. Knowing exactly what you are promoting is essential. Think about the product or brand and who uses it. What else are these people interested in? Where do they live? Do they have children, and are they married? This type of exploration helps clarify how you’re going to reach your audience.

Although testing is extremely important, it’s also important to think about testing strategically. It’s not feasible, nor is it useful, to try everything at once. Rather, a successful ad campaign will lay out objectives for learning and design a targeting strategy around those goals.

Identify What You Want To Learn

So, decide in advance what you want to know. Don’t forget that each additional targeting parameter you layer on reduces the number of people you can reach. It’s key to be aware of this reach via the Facebook Ads Creator and make sure the targeting you want to test is actually viable.

Once you’ve decided on your strategy, you can start to execute. Start with the basics: age and gender. Every campaign should isolate males and females, and at least some age breakouts as well.

Unless you’re working with a very small target age range, it may not be possible to test individual ages, so bucket ages into groups of five to ten years. That way, you’ll see what is performing best, and can still key in on a particular age group later on.

The next targeting element to add is keywords. On Facebook, these keywords map to interests in a user’s profile and usually generate the most interesting data. Keyword performance can fluctuate wildly. Males and females may not differ too greatly, but users interested in home decor magazines will likely perform differently than users interested in extreme political movements. This is where research comes in: know your audience and cater to them.

At the same time, don’t get boxed in. Begin with broad keywords that will hit large populations on Facebook. You can than isolate and hone in on top performers, and you may discover something about your customers that you didn’t expect.

Interests Can Be Proxies For Other Things

Keywords can also be effective proxies for other parameters that aren’t available on Facebook. For example, if you’re looking for users with a high household income, you can proxy by using luxury car keywords or executive-level job titles.

Facebook allows you to target users based on their country, state, city, or ZIP code, so you can get extremely specific. If what you’re advertising is only relevant in a certain area of the world or country, you need to target your ads to the right population and reach only those users who are actually able to use or  purchase what you’re promoting.

For a national campaign, geo targeting can also be a great way to find out where your customers live.

Beyond these “standard” targeting options, there are more that can even further distinguish your target user. A campaign for a diaper brand would benefit from targeting married users, so take advantage of the relationship status option.

Be Creative When Thinking Of Ways To Find Your People

If you’re trying to reach business owners, try users who graduated from college with a major in finance or marketing. You can target users on their actual birthdays with special offers or coupons. Designate a workplace to reach users who are employed by a specific company. And there’s Facebook connections targeting, allowing you to reach users who are already connected to a specific Facebook page, or their friends.

So, there’s a lot to think about. Here are some final tips.

  • Don’t wait for your audience to find you; find them first. Hit them with ads so relevant and specifically tailored to them that they will have to click.
  • Take advantage of the options that Facebook offers! Don’t be afraid to experiment and test.
  • Keep reach in mind. If you layer on every type of possible targeting, you’re going to reach a point where the ads you’ve made are no longer viable.
  • Every campaign is different. What works on one campaign will probably not work on another, so don’t be complacent.

Remember, your goal is to reach users that will genuinely be interested in what you’re advertising. So go find them!

Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.

Related Topics: Channel: Social Media Marketing | Facebook | Facebook Marketing Column | Facebook: Advertising | Facebook: Marketing | Social Media Marketing: Advertising


About The Author: is Advertising Team Lead at SocialCode, a full-service social media agency. She has two years of experience in social media marketing and is responsible for the development, implementation, management, and optimization of ad campaigns for leading global brands on both Facebook and Twitter.


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