September 9, 2016

Targeting Your Facebook Ads

So by now I would hope you have a better understanding of what Facebook Advertising actually is. Now how it actually works can be a bit extensive and complicated. If you have come across a Facebook Ad across your newsfeed it almost makes you feel like someone is stalking you. How do Facebook and the companies that market with them know so much about me? Let’s take a look behind the curtain.

While paid search marketing is mostly accomplished by targeting specific keywords that users are searching on, Facebook Advertising is based on finding the audiences that are most likely to become your customer. There are multiple targeting options available to help make this possible. They focus directly on users and profiling potential customers in order to get clicks, which in-turn helps grow your business. These options, so extensive, that I could probably target a co-worker with a series of elaborate ads. If this is starting to weird you out all information for these ads to exist is readily available from profiles to liking certain page. It’s all connected in an intricate web of algorithms and code. Let’s delve a little deep into some of these targeting options.

Targeting Options For Ads

Choosing the right audience to advertise to can be a difficult task. One of the biggest advantages to advertising on Facebook is the ability to target specific groups of highly engaged people. This allows you to find the right customers across devices, including desktop, mobile, and tablets. You can even deliver relevant messages to specific people and get the most value from ad spend by reaching the consumers that truly matter. The opportunities are endless.

Location Targeting



Location targeting allows you to reach customers in key locations by country, state/province, city, and zip code. This information comes from people’s stated location on their Timeline and is validated by their IP address. You can also

  • Target By Radius From A City: When targeting a country that offers city-level targeting, like the United States, you can include cities within a selected mile radius, such as 50 miles around Charlotte
  • Exclude Locations: For example, exclude cities or zip codes that are being targeted in other ads.
Demographic Targeting



With demographic targeting an ad’s target audience can be refined based on content people have shared about themselves in their Facebook profiles, such as age, gender, relationship status, education, and the type of work they do. For example jewelry ads can be targeted to a main audience of women ages 18-54.


Interest Targeting



Interest targeting allows audiences to be defined by their interests, hobbies, and pages that they like on Facebook. Interests are identified from information individuals add to their Timeline, keywords associated with the pages they like, ads they have clicked on, and other similar sources.

  • The interest section gives keyword suggestions and shows how many people could be reached by adding these specific words.
  • Soon there will be an ability to target customers based on some of the websites they visit and apps that they use.
Behavior Targeting



Behaviors are activities that people do on or off Facebook that inform on which device they’re using, purchase behaviors or intents, travel preferences, and more. They are constructed from both someone’s activity on Facebook and offline activity provide by Facebook’s trusted third party partners.


  • For more granular targeting overlay options such as locations, demographics, and interests with behaviors. For example, women shopping for jewelry, ages 18-34, living in the United States.
Advanced Targeting

Custom Audiences allows Facebook Ads to be targeted to existing customers or prospects using information that you already have.

  • Custom Audiences: Target current customers with a contact list of people you would like to reach.
  • Lookalike Audiences: Find people who are similar to your customers or prospects by a building a lookalike audience from page fans, customer lists, and website visitors.
  • Custom Audiences From Your Website: Remarket to people on Facebook who have already visited your website.
Audience Reach



Facebook Ads offers audience tracking so you can see how many people your ads could reach. In general Facebook recommends defining an audience of over 10,000 people for the best ad performance. A broad reach will show your ads to the most people, but a narrow one could help you hone in on specific customers that matter most to your business.


So there you have it. A glimpse behind the curtain regarding the ad targeting options that Facebook offers. This just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to utilizing this tool. Using marketing the way that Facebook does is being implemented currently as we speak. Snapchat just announced they will be using a similar platform. Albeit their business model is completely different, they still have the audience to do something like this. The possibilities are endless.

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By: Aaron Gingras

Digital Marketing Strategist