Facebook Advertising Targeting Methods – How To Run Ads To The Right Audience With Ease
Facebook advertising can be a powerful lead generation tool for both consumer-focussed AND B2B companies. However, with more than two billion people actively using the platform, it's vital to target the correct members if you want to get results.
Facebook creates a lot of data on its users – it collects age, gender, relationship status, location and employment data when you create an account, but it doesn’t stop there. Facebook tracks the pages and posts people ‘like’ to build a picture of their interests. The Facebook pixel is also installed on countless websites around the web allowing Facebook to track how its users behave on the web more generally – so Facebook can identify users which, for example, are currently looking for a new car.
As advertisers, we can tap into this data to ensure our ads only appear to the most relevant people. Let's look at the different methods you can use to laser-target your ads:
Facebook's Trio Of Targeting Solutions
When you create Facebook adverts, you can use one of three targeting options:
- Saved Audiences – this allows you to zero in on potential customers by stipulating that your ads are only shown to users who meet certain criteria including age, gender, interests, location and much more.
- Custom Audiences – this enables you to ensure your ads are delivered to people who already know about your company, for example people on your mailing list or people who have previously visited your website.
- Lookalike Audiences – you can use this option if you want your ads to be delivered to Facebook members who Facebook sees are similar to a custom audience. For example, if you create a custom audience of people who have purchased from you, Facebook can find a lookalike audience of other Facebook users that have similar profiles, characteristics and behaviour.
Let's study each strategy in more detail so you can see which one is most appropriate for your campaign.
When you use Facebook's Core Audiences targeting option, you can include or exclude people using a wide variety of criteria. These are divided into five categories:
- Location – you can request that your ads are delivered to people across the world, or within specific countries, regions, cities or even postcodes.
- Demographics – you'll find a host of options within this category, so you can target people according to their age, their gender, the languages that they speak, their level of education, the schools and universities they attended, the subjects that they studied, their relationship status, the industry they work in, their employer's name, their job title, their financial status, whether they are homeowners or not, and more. You can even ask for your ads to be delivered to people about to celebrate particular life events, such as birthdays, anniversaries or home moves.
- Interests – not only does this category enable you to target members who enjoy particular hobbies and activities, such as travel, arts, going to the gym, yoga, reading, gaming or attending live events, it also allows you to reach people with specific business interests. That means whether you're running a B2C or B2B firm, you can narrow your advert's reach to suit your needs.
- Behaviours – the options within this category allow you to target people according to their buying behaviour. You can include or exclude car owners, people who buy pet products, smartphone owners, business travellers or commuters, for example.
- Connections – this category includes options enabling you to target people based on their existing connections to your company. You might want to include or exclude people who have liked your Facebook page, for example, or deliver your adverts to people who have used your app or to their Facebook friends.
If you use Facebook's Custom Audiences solution, your ads will be delivered to people who already have connections to your business. You can do this by ‘retargeting’ visitors to your company's website (or even mobile app) and Facebook can also deliver ads to customers on your organisation's email contact lists. So you can run ads to anyone who has visited your website, and you can run ads to your entire CRM/email database – but as ever, the more targeted and specific you you're your ads, the more effective they will be. Examples of really specific custom audiences include:
- People who have bought from you
- People who have enquired with you but not yet purchased
- People who have visited the case studies section of your website but not yet made an enquiry
- People who have visited your website via LinkedIn ads
- People who have unsubscribed from your mailing list
- People who have watched a specific video from your website
- People in your database who are from a particular industry
- People who visited the website 10+ days ago and haven’ come back
Facebook's Lookalike Audience feature enables you to find targets who ‘look like’ your custom audiences. You can use Facebook's Audience Insights function to see how the demographics of the people who've already liked your page compare to those of the platform's general population, then use that data to identify potential buyers. So, if you have a well performing custom audience, you can expand it by using lookalike audiences – in essence, you are saying to Facebook ‘I like advertising to these people, find me more like them.’
Your Next Steps
The more accurately your Facebook ads are targeted, the more successful your campaigns are likely to be, and using agency expertise can be a cost-effective solution. Contact JDR today to discover how our friendly team can help.