With 1.591 billion monthly active users as of January 2016, Facebook has one of the largest user bases of any social media platform. So why does it remain one of the least utilized online advertising channels?
It’s no secret that Facebook ads work. (Just look at all the businesses that are using these ads to grow their brand.) However, many companies still don’t have an adequate understanding of how these ads work, causing them to give up early and miss out on an important opportunity to reach their target customers.
Familiarizing yourself with Facebook’s ad targeting features and how to use them is an important first step in creating your Facebook ads strategy and generating ads that convert. Below, I’ll discuss how Facebook ad targeting works and offer you some expert tips for using the targeting features effectively.
Facebook Ad Targeting Basics
One of the most common reasons that businesses don’t get the results they want from Facebook ads is that they aren’t targeting their ads correctly. Yet ad targeting is one of the best features that Facebook offers businesses. In fact, the average online reach for Facebook ads is 89% accurate, as compared to a 38% average for other online ad channels.
Through Facebook ads, you can target customers based on:
- Location – Reach customers in specific locations based on their country, state, city, or zip code. You can also target a city’s radius or exclude locations.
- Demographics – Using the content that users have shared about themselves, you can target by demographic information such as age, gender, employment, education, and relationship status.
- Interests – Target customers based on interests and hobbies using data compiled from page likes, app use, and timeline data.
- Behaviors – Target prospects using data on purchasing behavior and intent, device use and other preferences collected from Facebook activity and information provided by third-party sources.
Facebook also has more advanced targeting features that allow you to build audiences based on your current customers and prospects who are similar. But more about that later…
Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Facebook Ad Targeting
The best targeting strategy for your brand will depend on what your ultimate Facebook ad objective is as well as the nature of your business. However, there are some general targeting tips that will work to make your Facebook ads successful, regardless of who you are trying to target:
1. Utilize precise interest targeting to narrow your audience.
Interest-based targeting is only effective if you know what your customers interests are. Though you can target your customers based on broad categories like cooking or gardening, this is a more expensive and less effective strategy as these customers tend to spend less and cost more to obtain.
Precise interest targeting lets you target a smaller group of prospects that is more inclined to buy based on more focused interests. Not sure how to compile a list of refined interests? You can start by using Facebook’s graph search to see what your fans are interested in and talking about.
2. Encourage repeat business with Facebook Custom Audiences.
Facebook Custom Audiences is an advanced ad feature that serves ads to existing contacts. Create these custom audiences using phone and email contact lists, site visitors, or those taking specific actions on your app. By serving ads to these populations, your company can encourage repeat business and promote brand loyalty.
These custom audiences help you deliver a more effective message to an audience that is already familiar with your brand. For instance, you can ensure that you’re not putting offers like free trials or demos in front of customers who have already used your product or service.
3. Use Lookalike Audiences to expand your reach.
Once you have the Custom Audiences feature in place, you can use this data to create a target list that mirrors your customer base. This helps you reach prospective buyers who look a lot like your current customers and prospects. Once you have created a lookalike audience, you can make this audience broader or smaller based on your ultimate ad targeting goals.
Though effective targeting is essential for reaching your ideal customers and getting an ROI on your Facebook advertising, targeting alone will not get you the sale. Your company still needs to spend time and resources on developing Facebook ad content that attracts your target buyer and convinces them to take action. After you’ve created a Facebook ad with attention-grabbing images and winning copy, you can then use your targeting knowledge to put that ad in front of the right people. Oh, and don’t forget to measure the results!
What strategies do you use for ad targeting on Facebook? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.