Facebook Targeting Best Practices: Creating the Audience that Will Convert

37 minutes spent on Facebook by the average US user, 12 adverts clicked per month, 7 million active advertisers… Business of Apps is sharing the preceding stats with us on Facebook usage. You already can guess that if so many advertisers prefer to invest their budget here, there should be a sound reason to do so. Thus, you also feel the need to learn Facebook targeting best practices to create high-converting audiences and consequently, ads.

Demographics, interests, behaviors, connections… Considering all the subcategories in these 4 categories, Facebook provides advertisers with around 40 targeting options.

Even if you don’t have a big customer base or have never run Facebook ads, knowing your buyer personas is enough to launch a successful, profitable campaign.

You probably know that there are two main ways of showing Facebook ads – through Facebook Ad Centre and Ads Manager. Though targeting options are the same in both cases, Ads Manager is more flexible in terms of choosing your ad type, objective, etc.

Acknowledging it, let’s switch to that tool and discover what targeting options Facebook ads offer.

Facebook targeting best practices: Start exploring the audience options

Facebook allows you to target 3 main audiences:

  1. Custom audience
  2. Lookalike audience
  3. Saved audience

Facebook Targeting Best Practices

Let’s explore them one by one.

Custom audience

facebook custom audience

A custom audience is your warm audience, aka users who have somehow shown interest in your company, product/service, or content. They might be users who have taken certain actions such as

  • watching your video,
  • following your page,
  • visiting your website,
  • interacting with your Instagram ad,
  • interacting with your product catalog, etc.

But that’s not the whole picture. For example, let’s take a closer look at the option “Website”. Facebook won’t be targeting everyone who visited your website. Instead, you can tell the system to show the ad only to visitors who

  1. visited 1 or more than 1 pages on your website,
  2. stayed more than X seconds on your website,
  3. visited specific pages on your website, etc.

Note: To retarget your website visitors, you need to create and add a Facebook pixel to your website. Follow these simple steps or contact the Andava team to get it done. Let’s continue with Facebook targeting best practices!

Targeting options Facebook ads offer, get more specific when you choose other sources as well. For example, when you choose “Video”, Facebook won’t show your ad to everyone who watched it.

The longer users watch your video, the more interested they are. And thus you can choose only users who have watched it at least for 10 seconds. The choice also depends on how long your video is.

target people who watched your video

If you want to choose the Customer list as a source, you should upload the phone numbers or email address of your customers/subscribers and Facebook will serve your ads to your target group.

The best part of this option is that you show ads to interested users who are ready to take action and move down through your sales funnel.

However, sometimes you need more than retargeting users and you want to create a lookalike audience.

Lookalike audience

A lookalike audience is created based on your Custom audience. But here’s the difference. When choosing the Customer audience option, Facebook will retarget users who have already engaged with your brand.

However, when choosing the Lookalike audience, Facebook will find and target users who are similar to users in your Custom audience.

Facebook recommends using a Custom audience with between 1,000 to 50,000 users. The quantity is necessary so Facebook finds patterns that bring two audiences together and show your ads to the most relevant group.

Your Custom audience quality matters too. If your Custom audience consists of users who are your loyal customers, your ad results will be better.

lookalike audience

Saved audience

Saved audience is your cold audience, aka people who have never heard of your company or haven’t ever interacted with it.

If you don’t have a lead/customer base and website visitors to retarget them, you should start with a Saved audience. Here you will be able to target cold audience members with extremely specific and flexible parameters:

  1. Location (target people who live in that location, have recently been in that location or are traveling to that location)
  2. Age
  3. Gender
  4. Languages
  5. Demographics (Education, Financial, Life events, Parents)
  6. Interests (Business and industry, Entertainment, Family and relationships, Fitness and wellness, Food and drink, Hobbies and activities)
  7. Behaviors (Anniversary, Mobile device user, Politics, Purchase behavior, etc)

detailed targeting

Here’s when Facebook targeting best practices get even more interesting and exciting. You can target people by

  1. network connection they use (2G, 3G, 4G, WiFi)
  2. upcoming anniversary (within 61-90 days),
  3. multicultural affinity (African-American, Asian-American, Hispanic), etc.

For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you can target people who have specified their relationship status as Engaged.

If you are advertising an MA program, you should target users you have already graduated from the university.

Or you can set up your campaign so that only when connected to WiFi Facebook ads are displayed to target users.

However, there are times when you want to target users based not on 1 but 2 or more criteria. How to make sure Facebook won’t show your ad to people who meet only 1 of your multiple criteria?

It’s simpler than you think. Let’s say you want to target users who

  • have a doctorate degree,
  • are likely to engage with political conservative content.

When you add the first criteria, click Narrow audience that appears below:

narrow audience

Add the second criteria under “and must also match” and click Narrow further.

narrow further

Thus you will be able to target users who have a doctorate degree and are likely to engage with US conservative political content.

One of the last FB ads targeting tips we want to share with you is not to forget about the Exclude button.

When you are promoting, for example, your email newsletter via Facebook ads exclude saved audience that has already converted and become a subscriber. Otherwise, you will deliver the same ad to the same audience and end up wasting your money.

Find more articles related to social media marketing below:

  1. 7 Myths of Social Media You Still Believe are True
  2. Social Media Statistics from 5 Major Platforms You Can’t Ignore
  3. Fight Against Ad Fatigue: List of 10 Practical Techniques

Start creating Facebook audiences with the Andava team

Tips for targeting Facebook ads don’t end with this article. The Andava team is ready to provide industry-specific recommendations on Facebook targeting and help you build a high-converting audience.

Contact us for a free audit and we will share personalized, practical tips on how to improve your Facebook ad performance with more precise targeting.