Find Your Target Audience with Facebook Ads

target audience Facebook Ads

Connecting with the right audience on Facebook is the most important factor in whether or not your ads campaigns are ultimately successful. If you don’t get your ad to the audience that would be interested in your product and your business, it doesn’t matter who saw it—they aren’t going to convert into sales, leads, or likes on your Facebook page. You need to find your target audience with Facebook ads in order for your campaigns to succeed.

Finding your target audience is often easier said than done.

First, you have to actually figure out what that target audience is, which requires a lot of time and a lot of testing. Not targeting the right people is one of the biggest mistakes we see people making on Facebook.

Then you have to figure out how to best target said audience using Facebook’s ad system, and how to create ads that best connect with them.

This post is a walk through guide to help you find your target audience, connect with them, and start seeing conversions. It’s the first step to seeing big ROIs with Facebook’s Ads system.

How to Find What Your Target Audience Is

While there are a lot of resources out there that discuss targeting your ideal audience on Facebook, there’s not a lot of resources out there that help you figure out exactly who belongs in that target audience.

Finding your target audience takes a lot of research. Fortunately, there are some great tools out that make this research easier.

Facebook brought us the incredible Audience Insights relatively recently. It is a free tool that provides unbelievably valuable information.

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Not only does it show you the demographics and behaviors of your current audience, it shows you all of that compared to the average of Facebook’s entire audience. It can also show you different audiences that you can customize and choose from.

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You’ll know if your page has a tendency to appeal to those in households with upper incomes or to those who of a certain age or gender. And you’ll get all that for free.

Do research into your current clients and Facebook fans. Learn everything you can about them. Break down all the demographics you can, and evaluate common behaviors and interests. Are they close to the same age? Do they have a lot in common? Do they prefer humor in ads or not?

Sometimes focusing in on one or two big core targeting features can help you find your target audience. If you are, for example, a self-employed website designer, you may want to target those who are self employed or who own small businesses.

For more in-depth information on perfecting your target audience, Ryan created his FB Ads Formula that can help you master finding your target audience and maximizing ROIs.

FB Ads Formula
Our FB Ads Formula has helped businesses and entrepreneurs go so far as to quadruple their ROIs.


To learn more, click here.


How to Find Your Target Audience with Facebook Ads

What Are Your Targeting Options

Knowing exactly what your targeting options are can help you select what criteria you chose to target your audience with and how you create your target audience. Fortunately, Facebook Ads has continually gotten better and better, meaning that you can target just about whatever qualifications you want.

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Here’s the categories you can use to target your audience through Facebook’s create an ad tool:

  • Location: You can choose to be widespread or local with your ads. If you’re going local, you can chose a city or zip code, and even target those within a certain distance away from the city of your choice.

You can include a radius around your city.

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Languages
  • Relationships: This covers relationship status as well as whether users are interested in men, women, or both genders.
  • Education: This includes fields of study, level of education completed, and identifying what schools someone went to.
  • Work: You can chose job titles, employers, industries, and office types to narrow down the very broad “work” category.
  • Financial: Targeting can include income and/or networth.
  • Ethnicity
  • Whether you are a parent
  • Political standing
  • Life events
  • Interests: Any page you can like on Facebook can be taken into account. You can browse interests and get suggestions for what to target.
  • Behaviors: This can be a big one. You can target people based on their behaviors. If they’ve been noted to make charitable donations in the past, you can target them. You can target those who make a large number of online purchases. You can target people based on whether or not their a mobile device user.
  • Connections: You can choose whether or not you want to target those who are already connected with you. If you’re looking for new page likes, choosing only to target those who don’t already follow you on Facebook is a good way to go.

target audience

If you are targeting a particular group of people, with Facebook’s targeting system you can. Want to target engaged women nearby who like the show “Say Yes to the Dress” for your bridal boutique?

Or maybe you want to target young college student males at a certain university for shirts you made specifically for game day.

It doesn’t matter. Whoever you want to target, you can.

Negative Targeting

While connecting with your target audience can be a bit tricky and is never going to be an exact guarantee, you want to get as close as possible to your ideal customer.

After all, even if someone is mostly interested like you thought they would be, they could click on your ad, you pay, and then they never convert.

At the end of the day, this person, while close, may not have fit into your ideal target audience. And that does you no good.

Maybe they met all of the qualifications that you listed and they still weren’t interested in your ad or your business. Sometimes there is no way around that. Sometimes, however, they had every qualification of your target audience, but they also had one qualification that could have tipped you off ahead of time that signaled they wouldn’t actually be in your target audience.

Let’s say you own an upscale, romantic steakhouse, and you’ve created your perfct target audience. You launch your ad campaign.

Let’s say this target audience you’ve created one normally be perfect. But there’s one problem. You have several users who click on this ad who meet every qualification, but they have an additional one, too: they are vegan. And since even your broccoli is coated in butter and your green beans simmered with flecks of bacon, they will be unlikely to come to your restaurant. You’ve just wasted a click on someone who would be highly unlikely to come to your restaurant.

That’s where negative ad targeting comes in. Negative ad targeting allows you to select different aspects that you don’t want to target, and Facebook’s incredible targeting system will exclude those users from the audience shown your ad.

Facebook’s custom audience feature allows you to take part in negative targeting. For more information on how to utilize negative targeting, you can see our article on creating and using custom audiences here.

You Don’t Have to Get Too Specific

You don’t have to take advantage of every single targeting option available. While being too broad can mean that you may miss your mark entirely, getting too specific when you don’t need to can weed out a lot of potential customers.

Sometimes only using a few targeting options works better than using too many of them.

I recently ran an ads campaign for a pet rescue, and we kept it pretty general. We did a location targeting for central Florida (where the rescue is based). We targeted interests, looking for users interested particularly in animal rescues and mutts. I targeted the behavior of charitable donations.

The campaign was extremely successful. Almost everyone who clicked on the ad liked their page, they raked in enough donations to save more animals, and we found new homes for some of their rescues.

When you’re putting together target audiences, think like your customer. If you’re running a local grocery store, it may not matter that they are a parent. If, however, you have organic, locally grown baby food, you may want to run a specific ad just for parents then.

As you are creating an ad, there’s a gauge on the right side of the page under the title of “audience definition.” It will show you how broad or specific your campaign is, and let you know how much it would cost to execute that campaign.

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Keep your targeting relevant, and if you come across an option that you don’t need, don’t use it.