Facebook is nearing the 1.2 billion daily active user mark, with almost 1.1 billion of those being mobile daily active users. That’s lots of eyes scrolling through lots of customized news feeds.
Needless to say, Facebook targeting is about as powerful as you can get with paid ads, and it’s where advertisers should focus significant efforts. To support that, let’s look at different ways you can target your audiences through Facebook.
Before getting specific with targeting, you have to create an ad—a process you can start with a single click.
The left sidebar will list a number of tabs for setting your ad’s marketing objective, audience, creative content and so on. We’re going to focus on the audience section in this post, going through the choices you have for defining who will see your ads (Facebook will require you to address your objective before working with ad set).
The right sidebar will show some details on the audience you create, including how broad it is, potential reach and estimated daily reach on both Facebook and Instagram.
1. Custom Audiences
Create custom audiences to target your ads to users with whom you’ve already interacted with. This feature uses existing customer data to strengthen your brand’s relationships.
When you click this option, you’ll get a menu of choices for creating the custom audience, all of which keep your customers’ data private.
When you set a location, you first determine whom you want to target in that location. Facebook lets you select from those who live there, those who were there recently and those who recently traveled there from more than 125 miles away. You can also target all three of these groups.
To set your locations, drop a pin on a map (not all regions can be targeted) or type your location into the field. The regions you select may be either included in or excluded from the targeting. You can streamline the process by copying and pasting an existing list of locations when you click “Add Bulk Locations” beneath the map (all items must be the same location type, i.e., country, state/region, DMA, city, postal code or address).
Target your ads to people of one age or all ages—13 (per Facebook’s minimum age requirement) to 65-plus—with this feature.
You may find some interesting info in your “audience definition” (right sidebar). For example, when I targeted those 65 and over in the U.S., my potential reach was only 19 million. When I targeted U.S. Millennials, my potential reach was 99 million. That’s quite a difference.
You have the option to target to everyone, only men or only women. Be aware that Facebook offers a custom gender option for users, and that some users are not in one of these two categories. For now, your ads can’t be targeted specifically to custom genders.
You may target multiple languages at once on Facebook by simply typing them in. However, Facebook suggests leaving the field blank unless your intended audience uses a language not common to the location you’ve specified.
6. Detailed Targeting
Detailed targeting is a way to reach users by including or excluding certain demographics, interests or behaviors. You may specify multiple parameters, and Facebook will ensure users meet at least one of them, unless you choose to narrow your audience (an option only available after you select one parameter). Then, users will have to meet all parameters.
In the demographics category, you can select from the following list. All of them have subcategories, some of which have subcategories of their own.
- Ethnic Affinity
- Life Events
As with demographics, the interests categories all have subcategories. Notice that some of these overlap with the demographics options.
- Business and industry
- Family and relationships
- Fitness and wellness
- Food and drink
- Hobbies and activities
- Shopping and fashion
- Sports and outdoors
Behaviors get a little more specific, but still some overlap and plenty of subcategories.
- Charitable donations
- Consumer classification
- Digital activities
- Job role
- Mobile device user
- Purchase behavior
- Residential profiles
- Seasonal and events
The connections option lets you target users (or friends of users) who have responded to your Facebook Page, app or events. This narrows your audience to only these people who also meet your other audience criteria.
As you can see, your Facebook ads can target your audience very specifically. The idea is to find the balance of your ideal persona, but not be so particular that your audience is too small. It may take some trial and error, but it’ll be worth it!