Facebook began life as a place to share pictures of your dinner and to stalk people you hadn’t seen in ten years.
Today, it is an entire ecosystem based around connections, interests, and behavior, which makes it the perfect place to market your business.
In fact, according to research, Facebook has consistently maintained more than double the traffic of its competitors over the past five years, and Americans spend more of their time on it than any other platform.
In other words, everyone is on Facebook, giving you easy access to new prospects and future customers.
But, when it comes to Facebook advertising, most people are confused, overwhelmed, and downright frustrated: how do you do it right? Why are some brands absolutely rocking it and others aren’t? Is it really just a case of winging it? Honestly, is it worth it?
The thing is, unlike marketing methods of the past (we’re talking TV ads, radio, billboards, and magazine spreads here), Facebook is incredibly personalized. The in-built targeting tools let you get so specific with who you want to reach, you can whittle it down to just one person (which is exactly what this guy did).
There’s just one catch: you’ve got to do it right.
Mastering the targeting functions of your Facebook ads puts you directly in the sight line of very specific and motivated customers or clients. Here are a few powerful strategies you can implement to help you do that.
7 Ad Targeting Strategies You Should Be Using on Facebook
1) Use Audience Insights
If you’re advertising on Facebook, chances are you already have a Facebook page set up. If you do, you have access to insights about the people who like and interact with your page.
Simply go to your Facebook page, click the “Insights” tab at the top and go to the “People” section to be served information about the age, gender, and location of your followers.
It’s important to note here that Facebook doesn’t stand on its own. You can get far more personalized information about your audience by combining the insights you have here with data from Google Analytics. Combining these two sources gives you deeper insight into what kind of people are interacting with you on social media as well as the kind of people that are actively visiting your website.
The problem most Facebook advertisers make is they assume they know who their audience is.
You might be shocked to find out that the majority of your followers don’t come from America, or that you’re predominantly attracting males between the ages of 35 and 50 when you thought your audience mainly consisted of 50+ women.
2) Analyze Purchasing Behavior
We all know that Facebook has access to a ridiculous amount of data. It’s just a fact of life. It can be really useful for advertisers to not just focus on the demographics of their audience, but to also target people based on their behavior.
Think about it:
If someone has bought a product through a Facebook ad in the last month, the chances are high that they’ll do it again. Facebook uses this information to serve your ads to people who are more likely to interact in the way you want them to.
In the targeting section of your Ads Manager, you can select “purchasing behavior” and then hone in further. For example, you can target people who have recently bought a business marketing service or someone who regularly buys training.
If you select the “buyer profiles” option, you can then choose people who consistently buy products in a specific niche, like DIYers, fashionistas, or foodies.
3) Target Life Events
Did we mention that Facebook has access to literally everything you put on there?
Posted about your recent engagement? Facebook has that information stored. Shared a status about your upcoming backpacking adventure in Europe? Facebook has clocked it.
Obviously, we want to share these big events in our lives, which is how Facebook gets this kind of detailed information about us.
While this might seem a little creepy from the outset, it’s actually a really useful way to get key information about your audience. Specific businesses focus their selling efforts around certain life milestones.
For example, wedding photographers actively want to market to people who are due to get married, while moving services need an audience made up of people who are planning to move.
In the “life events” section of your Facebook Ads Manager, you can choose from a whole host of situations, from people celebrating upcoming anniversaries to those who have just landed their dream job.
4) Use Custom Audiences
Sometimes you don’t want to advertise to strangers. Instead, you want to promote a special offer to your loyal customers or create an ad that isn’t about brand awareness.
In these instances, Facebook’s Custom Audiences feature is the answer.
It enables you to upload a list of subscribers, previous customers, or people who have visited your website (as well as people who visited specific pages on your site) and serve these people highly targeted ads.
You can also narrow your targeting down even further.
For example, you might want to target previous customers who have a specific job title, or you might want to target a high-priced product to email subscribers who live in an affluent ZIP code. You might choose to target people who have previously visited your blog and navigated to your About page with an offer to demo your product, now that they know who you are.
Creating Custom Audiences is perfect for boosting the lifetime value of existing customers by serving them special deals, discounts, and offers, but it also helps you convert customers who know who you are but might be on the fence about buying from you.
And the options are huge.
The Custom Audience feature lets you focus down to reach specific people based on their living arrangements, their net worth, their household income, their interests, their location, and much more.
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5) Create Lookalike Audiences
Once you’ve uploaded your Custom Audience, whether it’s a list of people who’ve already bought from you or simply a spreadsheet of visitors to your site, you can start to create what’s called a Lookalike Audience.
This basically takes a look at the people on your Custom Audience list and then finds Facebook users with similar profiles based on their location, behavior, or previous purchasing habits. This feature is ideal if you don’t have a massive subscriber list because it helps you expand beyond the people you already have access to – but still lets you target people who have specific profiles.
You can get super specific with who you target in your Lookalike Audience, too. For example, you might choose to solely target people who live in a certain area or those who have a particular interest.
The great thing is you can segment these audiences into smaller subsections based on certain traits, and then create highly personalized ads that target a specific part of their profile. This will generate far more conversions than serving the same generic ad to everyone on the list.
6) Exclude People (With Good Reason)
No one likes to be excluded, but in this instance, it might just save your reputation.
You see, people who have bought from you and are loyal customers are probably going to be turned off if they keep seeing ads promoting products they’ve already purchased or videos that introduce your business.
This is where the exclusion part of Facebook’s targeting tools comes in handy. You can choose to eliminate previous buyers, people who have visited a certain page on your website, or people who already engage heavily on your Facebook page, for example.
Not only does it stop your reputation going down the drain, but it also saves you money since it would be a huge waste of cash and time advertising to people who already have what you’re advertising.
7) Layered Targeting
If you want to go for optimal impact, your best option is to combine a few or all of these targeting options and create specific ads based on specific segmented interests, behaviors, and demographics.
Facebook’s targeting is so powerful that you can use combinations of targeting options (like the ones we’ve mentioned here) to reduce your audience down to just one person – can you imagine the possibilities?!
However, it’s highly unlikely you want to target just one person. Instead, this super-niche targeting can be far more effectively used to match ad visuals, copy, and offers to really small audiences that are highly likely to convert.
For example, a moving company that’s running a discount for people over 50 could use a combination of targeting options to reach users who have recently purchased a house (say, within the last one or two months), are over the age of 50, and who live in the right area.
Use These Strategies to Increase Conversions and Cut Costs
There are numerous ways you can narrow down your audience, and there’s no reason to use just one of these methods without implementing one or two other strategies at the same time.
In fact, the more relevant you can make your offers to each audience segment, the higher your click-through rates will be while at the same time lowering your cost per click.