• Facebook Ad Targeting Options

Facebook ads are an effective way to reach your target audience on the social media site. Ads on Facebook work by targeting or showing your ad to certain users who, based on Facebook’s algorithms, would be interested in your ad. So how does Facebook’s algorithm work to get your post in front of the right audience of users? This blog post will explain the different methods of Facebook ad targeting so that you can effectively get your ad in front of the right audience.

facebook ad targeting

Facebook Target Audience

Facebook ad targeting allows you reach your target audience. This means that you can be specific about the users who you want to reach with your advertising. In order to reach the right people on Facebook, first figure out who your target audience is so that you can market your business to the right customers.

Your target audience is made up of people who are the perfect customers for your business. For example, if you have a yoga studio, your target audience is people interested in fitness and healthy living. Yogis are more often female than male, so the target audience who you want to get your ad in front of are younger women who are interested in yoga and fitness. These users will be more likely than others to click on an ad for your studio and become new customers.

Related: Facebook Marketing Guide for Business Owners

Facebook Ad Targeting Options

Here are the ways in which you can target your Facebook ads to reach new customers and the types of ads you should use for your business.

Custom Audience Targeting

Facebook allows you to target specific groups of people for high engagement rates. With the custom audience targeting option, you can upload a contact list of people you want to reach on mobile, desktop and tablets.

When to use it: Use custom audience targeting if you have a list of potential new customers with whom you have briefly engaged, for example, if you collected email addresses of interested contacts at a trade show or convention. While a follow up email is a more direct means of staying in touch, if your emails have gone unanswered or if you have a special promotion that you’re running, a targeted Facebook ad may be just the thing a busy person needs to revisit your website and become a customer.

Look Alike Audience Targeting

This option allows you to find those who are similar to your current or potential customers by building a list of look-alike users from customer lists, Page fans or even website visitors.

When to use it: If you have already run a successful Facebook ad that converted new customers, use this list to create a look-alike target audience to reproduce your success. Alternatively, if you have a list of customers from an event or promotion that was not through Facebook, use this list to find a look-alike audience that mimics their characteristics.

Location (Geographic) Targeting

With this option, you can target customers in key locations by zip code, city, country and state. You can also target a specified area around a city, such as finding those within a 50-mile radius around Los Angeles. This targeting option allows you to exclude locations that you may be currently targeting in other ad campaigns.

When to use it: Use location-based targeting when you want to reach customers within a specific geographic location. Location targeting is good for locally based businesses who cater to the needs of hyper local customers. Location targeting also allows you to exclude locations. If you’re currently targeting a location in other ad campaigns like Google AdWords, you can exclude that location so that your Facebook ad does not compete with your AdWords ad.

Related: Local SEO Guide for Small Business Owners

Demographic Targeting

When you are building an ad campaign, you’ll have access to Facebook’s demographics, including information such as gender, age, relationship status, work information, and education.

When to use it: Use demographic targeting when the demographic, versus the location or interests, is the most important part of your promotion. For example, a daycare or preschool can use demographic targeting to get an ad in front of parents of young children, a wedding planner can target newly engaged users, and an estate planning attorney can target baby boomers who are within a certain age range.

Interest Targeting

Using the Interests tool will help you place more effective Facebook ad types. You’ll have access to a potential audience by filtering hobbies, interests and Pages that they “Like.” When you are creating an ad, you’ll be able to choose from keyword suggestions based on interests, and find out how many people you can reach with those specific keywords.

When to use it: Use interest-based targeting when you want to reach people who have interests similar to your business but occupy different demographics. For example, a wine and painting studio can use interest targeting to reach Facebook users who “Like” pages on Facebook related to local wine events.

Behavioral Targeting

These are activities that users do off or on Facebook that provide information about the device they use, certain purchase behaviors, travel preferences and intents. This information is constructed from a user’s activity and online affiliate data from Facebook’s third-party website partners.

When to use it: Use behavioral targeting when you have a product or service that relates to other businesses. For example, if you’re a local florist, you can use behavioral targeting to target users whose online activity relates to wedding or event planning. These users will be more likely to need a florist than users who were shopping for fitness equipment or allergy relief online.

Education Based Targeting

With this option, you’ll be able to advertise to people based on academic affiliations and networks on Facebook.

When to use it: Use education based targeting when you have a product or service that would specifically benefit those of a particular educational background. For example, a financial planner can advertise a debt-planning seminar to graduate school students, a bakery can advertise graduation cakes in school colors to upcoming grads, or a new yoga studio can use this type of targeting to advertise discounted student classes.

Connections Targeting

Connections targeting targets your own Facebook connections such as those who like your Page. With this type of targeting, you can also reach friends of these connections.

When to use it: Use this type of targeting when you want to reel in people who are already familiar with your brand or company and need an extra incentive to turn into customers. This type of advertising is good when you have a limited time discount or sale or an upcoming event. If someone is already familiar with your business, this type of ad may be the tipping point to turn an interested bystander into a paying customer!

Partner Category Targeting

Facebook allows you to advertise to those who are engaged with businesses similar to yours.

When to use it: Use partner targeting when you want to reach an audience that is already interested in your type of business and services. This type of ad is often used to generate page “Likes” to create buzz and get your business in front of new people.

ThriveHive combines easy-to-use tools and expert guidance to help businesses stand out and get found online. Learn more about our guided marketing and advertising solutions here.

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