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Advanced Facebook Ad Targeting

Updated: Aug 25, 2023

Facebook Ads allow you to target specific audiences for your ads. We always suggest you define your perfect customer or “avatar” before creating any ad campaign on Facebook! Are you targeting business owners on Facebook? Are there specific pages your perfect customer likes on Facebook? What interests does your avatar have? Once you have this perfect customer-defined, you can take advantage of the following advanced Detailed Targeting strategies on Facebook.

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Targeting Business Owners on Facebook

A common audience I target for my Facebook ads agency clients is business owners. Targeting business owners on Facebook can be done via targeting Facebook Page admins in the Detailed Targeting section while creating Facebook Ads. Simply search “page admins” via Facebook behavior targeting:

Another Facebook behavior targeting I like is Behaviors > Purchase behavior > Engaged Shoppers. This behavior instantly find people who shop online!

Facebook Ads Targeting Competitors

Creating Facebook Ads targeting competitors is one of my favorite ways to steal customers from my competition!

Notice the “Additional Interests” in the image above. This is the Facebook Page for the actual brand "Khan Academy". Users had to physically go to this Facebook Page and like/engage with them.

I prefer targeting these types of users over the generic Facebook ads targeting interests, like my fourth selection under Detailed Targeting “digital marketing”. This “digital marketing” targeting is depending on the Facebook algorithm to find users interested in this topic (i.e. they have engaged with pages and posts similar to this interest). While this is a great area to split test, I personally see the better ROMI (Return on Marketing Investment) from targeting specific brands' Facebook pages over just the interest.

Also, notice I am not using the “Exclude People” or “Narrow Audience” options below the Detailed Targeting field. By using just the first Detailed Targeting field “Include people who match” I am telling Facebook to find anybody who likes Khan Academy OR Neil Patel OR Udemy OR Digital Marketing, hence why my Potential Reach for this ad is 26,000,000. If I know for sure my audience doesn’t like XYZ interest, I will EXCLUDE it.

You can also split test ads targeting smaller, laser-focused audiences by using the NARROW AUDIENCE option below the Detailed Targeting field. For example:

Just keep an eye on your “Audience Size” in the right sidebar as smaller audiences are more expensive to target (this is an estimate of the size of the audience that’s eligible to see your ad. It’s based on your targeting criteria. This is not an estimate of how many people will actually see your ad.) A large potential audience lets Facebook look for the lowest cost results.

I typically prefer casting a wide net with a Potential Reach of 1,000,000 or greater, then I will create Lookalike Audiences of the varying Custom Audiences I have from this broad audience ad.

Facebook Ads Targeting Facebook Groups

I get asked this question constantly… “How do I target Facebook Groups?”. Sadly, this is not possible. But, there IS A HACK for targeting this audience. Simply JOIN the Facebook Groups you want to target. Interact with the groups and become a valued member. Then and only then, create a blog post or webpage on your website that PROVIDES VALUE for free (like this blog post).

Make sure the Facebook Pixel is installed on your website and then create a Custom Audience of this specific website you share with the Facebook Group. Create this audience via Custom Audience –> Website –> “People who visited specific web pages”.

The Custom Audience will capture all the traffic/users who clicked the link in the Facebook Group, then you can target these group members via this Custom Audience (via the AD SET level) in future Facebook Ads. This is my favorite HACK alternative for Facebook ads targeting groups!

EXAMPLE: Advanced Facebook Ads Targeting

We recently added a client to our Facebook Ads agency that owns a company that sells stationary exercise bikes. Their website was brand new and had ZERO traffic, so we couldn’t depend on the Facebook Pixel and retargeting Custom Audiences alone. We had to “feed the Pixel” data. We did this with top-of-funnel traffic ads targeting our “perfect customer”. To find our perfect customer, we did a lot of Facebook research to find pages and interests similar to our client’s brand. This was our final top of funnel targeting:

As you can see above, my research about this client’s “perfect customer” shows in my top of funnel targeting. Their company can only ship to the USA and Canada, so my ads only target those two locations for this Facebook ads location targeting. Now if I have a client that only has one store in Los Angeles, I could enter that city and add a radius for this ad to only appear in that area.

Next, after some research on Google, I found the average age for fitness equipment occurs for men and women between the age of 24 and 64. Finally, is our detailed targeting. Since this is a top-of-funnel ad, we want to target a BROAD audience (i.e. 1 million+ in size!)

So first, the exercise bike costs over $1,000, so I knew lower-income users will not be interested, so I targeted the top 50% of incomes. Next, I targeted the interest of “indoor cycling” and will let Facebook hopefully find users that have shown interest in this topic. Finally, I targeted specific Facebook pages (i.e. brands!) This includes the very expensive exercise bike brand Peloton, as well as various indoor cycling class brands like SoulCycle.

I will split test ad content until my campaign is getting the lowest cost per click, then I will slowly scale up my ad spend on this top of funnel ad. Once my Custom Audiences build-up to 1,000+ users, I can create retargeting ads on them to close the sale!

Facebook Retargeting Ad Example: I will create a Conversion Objective campaign targeting my Custom Audience of “Add to Cart” traffic, but exclude the Customer Audience of “Made a Purchase” traffic… so this means I am targeting very HOT users that are ready to make a purchase, but maybe just got busy with life! This retargeting ad will remind them to finish their purchase… I will even split test offering a 10% off coupon in one ad to see if that helps close the sale!

Advanced Facebook Detailed Targeting Strategies

The key to all Facebook Detailed Targeting is TESTING! Split test one variable at a time to identify what is working with your audience! Test one interest at a time, one location, one VARIABLE per test campaign so you can identify not only what audience is getting you results, but also optimize for the lowest cost per action as well be testing these winning variables together in new ad campaigns!

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