Which Facebook Targeting Option Works Best For Your Campaign?

target audience Facebook Ads

We love Facebook’s targeting options, especially because there’s so many of them. It seems like any audience you want to target, you can. We can thank Facebook’s dedication to constantly improving their targeting system for that.

Having all these options are fantastic—you can target just about anyone you want. They can be confusing, however, especially when you’re trying to decide how to target users for new campaigns.

Do you target current customers from your e-mail list, or customers who visited your site? Should you target your current audience or one that you have yet to connect with?

In order to help users figure out which Facebook targeting option works best for each of their campaigns individually, we created this simple guide explaining what each of your targeting options are and when to use them.

Traditional Targeting Based on Demographics, Behaviors, Connections, and Interests

When you create an ad, both through Power Editor and the self-serve create-an-ad tool, this is the targeting option that takes up the most space and often appears first.

facebook targeting options

This is where you target an audience based on a variety of whatever criteria you choose, including age, gender, behaviors, demographics, occupation, relationship status, interests, location, education, income, and more. Just about any criteria you can think of can be found in Facebook’s incredible targeting system—and these aren’t even any of the special, customized features!

What this targeting option (and all its categories and subcategories) provides us with is the opportunity to target users based on what we think our target audience is. You have access to a large number of people, expanding your potential reach, and you can get as specific or generic as you want.

You can also choose whether to target your current fans on Facebook, or those who you are not connected with on Facebook. This is particularly helpful depending on what your campaign goals are. If you are looking to boost your posts and increase engagement, or promote a product you think your fans will like, you can choose to advertise to those already connected with you. If you are looking to expand your reach and connect with new clients, choosing to target those not connected with you is the way to go.

Facebook Targeting Options

You can either use the traditional targeting system alone, or in conjunction with other targeting features to help narrow down your target audience in their exact niche.

Custom Audiences

Screen Shot 2014-09-30 at 2.23.24 PM

Custom Audiences is a feature that has been beloved by the Facebook marketing community ever since it was first rolled out. This feature allows you to upload a list of your contacts (most likely people who you have already connected with in some form) up to Facebook. Often these contacts include those pulled from e-mail lists, reliable leads, past and/or current customers, or those who have subscribed to your blog. In most cases, these are people who are extremely likely to be interested or are already interested in your business. In a lot of these cases, some customers are either on the verge of purchasing or have purchased, and some sort of rapport has been built.

You can run ads and show them just to those exact, specific individuals, whether to connect with them on Facebook if you haven’t already, or to promote your page or products.

Because you are uploading a set list of people, this gives you the chance to deliver highly targeted messages to those who are likely most receptive to them.

These people are likely already interested in you, your business, or your product. This allows you to run an ad campaign to connect with them and remind them that you’re there waiting for them. Custom audiences is perfect when you are looking to connect with current customers on Facebook, increase engagement, and provide an extra push to connect with you off Facebook as well.

For an in-depth explanation of how to create custom audiences, click here.

Custom Audiences from a Website

Custom Audiences from a Website is a branch-off of Facebook’s Custom Audience feature. It’s also been called Website Custom Audiences or WCA.


This targeting option allows you to target users who have visited your website—even if they didn’t purchase anything or leave behind contact information. You can do this by creating and using a conversion tracking pixel (which you can do all through Facebook’s ad system), which tracks Facebook users that visit your site.

This feature is perfect for reaching out to those who are already familiar with you. You are reaching an audience that is incredibly relevant to what you do.

Facebook’s conversion pixel is fantastic. You can actually target users that even visited a certain page on your site, or users that almost purchased but didn’t (to remind them that there is still something in their shopping cart!). Again, this is all about highly targeted messages, and reaching out to connect with users on Facebook who are interested in your business.

To see how to create a custom audience from a website, you can click here. If you want to create custom audiences from multiple websites, you can see Jon Loomer’s article detailing how to do so here.

Lookalike Audiences

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 12.19.05 PM

Lookalike Audiences allows you to replicate certain types of already-created audiences to target new users. Among the list now of audiences you can replicate are Custom Audiences, audiences created from a conversion pixel, and your current audience of fans on Facebook.

Lookalike Audiences is one of my favorite targeting tools. Imagine targeting new users that meet all the same criteria as those engaging with your Page or making purchases from your site. You are targeting new members of an audience you know to be profitable. Using this feature is an easy way to reach your target audience.

Lookalike Audiences is the tool you want to use when you want to connect with new users that are similar (at least on paper) to those who are proven members of your target audience.

In Power Editor, you can even choose whether you want your lookalike audience to prioritize similarity or reach in the new audience.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 2.15.58 PM

An added bonus to Lookalike Audiences? Because you likely know what types of ads, images, and copy convert highest with the original audience it was copied from, you most likely have a strong idea of how to create an ad that will have high conversion rates for its Lookalike Audience.

To view our walk through on how to create lookalike audiences, click here.

Facebook’s Partner Categories

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 4.49.53 PM

Facebook’s Partner Categories are described by Facebook as “targeting clusters created by our 3rd party data providers.”

Partner Categories breaks down users’ online and offline activities (allowing you to get a more accurate and also wider reach), giving Facebook advertisers anonymous insight for their targeting efforts. You can target users based off their past purchase history, occupation, political standpoint, household, hobbies, and more. You can set your ads to target very specific groups of people, giving you new criteria to target people instead of Facebook’s traditional targeting options (which, admittedly, are not few and far between as is).

facebook's partner categories

Partner Categories is a great way to target users if you’re looking for a very specific group of people based on their actions. Instead of targeting women of a certain age, hoping that they are mothers, you can actually target mothers based on the age of their children.

To see our guide on Facebook’s Partner Categories, you can view our post here.

You Can Use More than One of Facebook’s Targeting Options

While sometimes it’s best to leave it simple and focus on only one targeting option at a time, combining more than one targeting feature can lead to great results.

Facebook’s Partner Categories, for example, often works well in conjunction with other traditional targeting methods, allowing you to narrow down your audience to those you’re trying hardest to target.

While using every single targeting option available to you all at once isn’t smart (and in some cases, impossible—Lookalike Audiences, for example, can’t be edited much), using different audiences for different Ad campaigns is one way to see big ROIs and expand your reach the best.

Understanding where different groups of users are in the buying cycle can help increase conversions tenfold. New users you’ve never met might purchase, but focusing on a soft sell message is more likely the way to go when connecting with users who aren’t all that familiar with you (or who aren’t familiar with you at all).

Knowing which audience will be most receptive to which messages can be key to success with Facebook’s Ad system.

What do you think? Which targeting options do you find the most useful?

Target Similar Users with Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences

We have talked about Facebook’s custom audiences in the past, a tool which enables you to upload a list of specific individuals as an audience for your Facebook Ads campaigns. Facebook’s lookalike audience takes this feature a step further to help you find new users that are similar to those you have already successfully established a relationship with.

Lookalike audiences pulls all of the demographics and specifications from your custom audience, and then targets new users with those qualifications.

Where your custom audience puts you in contact with people you already know, lookalike audiences put you in contact with a new audience identical to those who already have proven to be a good target for your business and your ads.

You are targeting new individuals to fit within an audience that has already proven profitable, expanding it further.

Creating a lookalike audience off of a custom audience that has already proven to be profitable increases the chances of success with your targeting efforts with Facebook Ads, boosting your chance of success with your overall campaign. You can also now create lookalike audiences off fans on your Page or off of website visitors (found with a conversion tracking pixel). This is the same idea, connecting you with new users that are similar to the target audience you already have a rapport with. This is a great way to target new users for your business.

How to Create a Lookalike Audience

The first step in the process of making a lookalike audience is to create the audience you want to replicate. You can see how to make a custom audience—or a custom audience from a website— in our guide here.

If you are going in through Power Editor, click on the Audience tab, which can be found in the navigation bar on the left side of the screen.

From the Audience screen, select “Create an Audience,” and choose “Lookalike Audience” from the options of audiences to create.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 2.07.38 PM

Power Editor prompts you to “reach new people similar to an audience you care about.” You can choose to create a lookalike audience based on your Page, a conversion tracking pixel, or an already created custom audience. For this example, we’re going to create a lookalike audience based off our Page.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 2.11.05 PM

You are required to select a country for your lookalike audience, as lookalike audiences can only include people from one country at a time (you can use Power Editor to easily create more lookalike audiences for different countries later).

lookalike audience

You then decide how much you’d prefer to prioritize similarity over reach, or vice versa. There is a sliding bar, so you don’t have to choose one or the other, letting you accomplish both on some level.

Audiences that are more optimized for similarity will be closer to being identical to your source audience (instead of kind of, sort of like them), while optimizing for reach offer much larger potential audiences. If you have a very specific niche, staying more optimized for similarity is probably a good idea.

As you adjust this sliding bar, Facebook shows you how many potential members of that audience there are.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 2.15.58 PMScreen Shot 2014-09-20 at 2.15.43 PM

On the screen showing your Audiences, your lookalike audiences will appear under those they were created from. If you choose, you can then get into your audience to edit it.

Lookalike Audiences

You can either create an ad and choose this audience later, or you can click “Create Ad Using Audience” to take you right into the screen to make an ad just for that audience.

Screen Shot 2014-09-20 at 2.22.09 PM

If you choose not to use Power Editor, and you can create a lookalike audience through the Ads Manager. Click on the “audiences” button on the left side navigation. Hit “Create Audience” at the top of the screen, and select “lookalike audience.”

Screen Shot 2014-09-21 at 12.18.13 PM

Fill in the information, just as you would have through Power Editor.

face book's lookalike audience

Your new audience will show up in your Ads Manager (though it will not show up as a branch off of another audience as it does in Power Editor).

lookalike audience

When to Use a Lookalike Audience

One question I’ve heard asked is this: if lookalike audiences are replicating current customers, why target them with ads instead of the customers?

Yes, using custom audiences to advertise to a list of specific individuals—whether off your page, your e-mail list, or a list of users who have visited your website—provides great opportunities for highly targeted ads, part of the reason you use the ad system sometimes is to find new customers so your business can grow.

Lookalike audiences gives you this opportunity to target new business. While Facebook’s targeting system is incredible, lookalike audiences makes your targeting recreation simpler and more accurate. Facebook targets users for you that are extremely similar to the ones already following your page, looking at your website, and making purchases from you. You get to target more people most likely to do that, and you can get choose whether you want to focus on similarities or numbers (reach).

Creating lookalike audience also gives you the benefit of predicting what they may respond to best in terms of your ads. When creating multiple audiences to target different groups, you may not know what works best for each niche. With target audiences, however, not only can you have an easier time predicting what they might respond to, you can actually take what you learned with past campaigns (and their original audience) to decide what will perform well.

Lookalike audiences is an incredibly useful tool, and it’s a feature we’ve used frequently, and we will continue to do so.

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.

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 11.32.56 AM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 1.19.01 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 1.45.19 PM

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.

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 1.20.11 PM

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

Target Local Business With Facebook Ads

While a great number of businesses are focusing on expanding nationally or internationally, not all businesses can provide a product online. This is especially true for services. Doctors, babysitters, lawyers, and mechanics (particularly those working for or running small businesses) can not provide their product or services to someone far away.

Whether this describes your business perfectly, or if you just want to increase local business—maybe you want to increase local traffic to your brick-and-mortar store—then taking advantage of Facebook Ad’s ability to target local business is the route you want to take.

Target Local Business Using Facebook's Ad System

How to Target Local Business with Facebook’s Ad System

It’s no secret that Facebook has a fantastic targeting system. You can target customers based on behaviors, interests, age, all sorts of demographics—including, most important for this article, location.

When you want to create an ad designed to only target local business, go through the Ad system as you normally would. If you’re new to creating Ads, you can see our Beginner’s Guide here for a walk through.

In the audience block in the create-an-ad tool is where we’ll focus in on targeting local business.

Under the “Locations” tab, you have two options when you’re looking to users in nearby areas.

The first is to type in the desired zip code. This will target only the people in that particular zip code. Keep in mind that if you’re in a big city, there may be multiple zip codes and you could be missing out on business unless you include all of them. Orlando, for example, has more than five zip codes, and Oviedo sits right on top of it. By targeting only Oviedo, I could miss out on other close by users.

Target by zip code
Target by zip code

The second option is my personal favorite, because it gives you a bit more leeway. If you type in the city’s name instead of the zip code, you get the option to add a radius around the city you want to be targeted. You can target only Oviedo, or you can target your city +10, 25, or 50 miles. This also allows you to exclude certain locations if you choose.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 1.20.00 PM

Creating a radius will help you make sure that your can be seen only by those nearby, but also by those who aren’t directly in your city lines. After all, someone two miles outside of your city isn’t too far to come to you, but they could have been missed without that radius including them in your target audience.

You can include a radius around your city.
You can include a radius around your city.

On the other hand, using a radius too far (for some businesses 50 miles would be pushing it) can result in your ad being shown to—and clicked on—by those who are highly unlikely to visit your business. People may be willing to travel a bit further for a great doctor or a fantastic restaurant on special occasions. A small bookstore, on the other hand, may not get that same attention, and instead lose business to big chains that are closer to the user.

After you’ve targeted your location, you can continue through the Ad system as you normally would, including adding more demographics to increase how highly targeted your ad will be. The more you’re willing to spend, as always, increases the number of users your ad will be shown to.

Why You Want to Target Local Business

As said above, certain businesses function solely in a brick-and-mortar store. Some services you just can’t distribute across the country. How would you feel if you discovered the perfect restaurant to take your significant other to for their birthday, only to realize it was across the country? Now you have to start your search over and you have a craving for that herb-crusted trout dish you saw.

Even if you can distribute your product, it’s often productive for small businesses to focus on local customers. It can cut down on shipping costs, as well as the risks associated with shipping like damaged or lost products. If you have a brick and mortar store, why not get people to come in so you can get to know them face-to-face and build a strong, loyal clientele.

Customers can have an automatic sense of loyalty when buying local, knowing that they are supporting small businesses as well as putting money into their economy and their neighbor’s business. Buying local can be good for everyone—especially for you as the business owner.

How to Appeal to Local Users

If you want to increase local traffic, targeting local business as your audience in Facebook’s Ad system is only the first step.

Just as with every other aspect of marketing, you have to motivate those users to take action on what they see. There are several simple ways to appeal to local business.

  • A great method of motivating local users is creating a Facebook Offer. You can create an offer and promote it through the ad system, targeting local business only. You can offer a certain percentage off, a free sample, or a buy-one-get-one deal. This can encourage people to come by your store or business in order to redeem it.
Targeting Local Business with Facebook Offers
If you tell me there’s any kind of discount on delicious food, I’m in.
  • Just as you can create a Facebook Offer, you can create and host a contest on Facebook. You can promote your post through Facebook’s Ad targeting system, asking users to participate. A local restaurant, for example, could ask that users post a picture of themselves with their favorite soup of the day for a chance to win dinner for two. This increases sales as well as building excitement. I once saw a local shoe store ask users to post a picture of them and their favorite place to run in their athletic shoes for the chance to win a $50 gift certificate to their store. People took pictures all over town in their shoes; it was extremely successful.

Targeting local business using contests.

Local business holds contest for local residents.

  • Having a map showing your location on your Facebook page can show people how close you are to them. You are targeting local business—show them you’re just up two streets and around a corner. I’ve seen some with business pages that have uploaded directions, informing users that they are “behind the Best Buy and next to Subway.” Local users will be more likely to know exactly where you are, and familiarity can build an automatic rapport.

Screen Shot 2014-08-05 at 2.24.40 PM

  • Support the community that supports your business. This may not be a post that you pay to promote through the Ad system, but having volunteer or charity work that your company has done on your Facebook page can help you build a loyal and enthusiastic customer base. This is something to have on your page for users to see once they’re on your page. Once users have followed your Ad back to your site, they’ll be happy to see that you’re helping their community as well as supplying great products and services.
Communities like seeing local businesses give back.
Communities like seeing local businesses give back.

Facebook’s Audience Insights: Why You Need It

Facebook’s unbelievable targeting system can help put your ad in front of the direct audience you’ve chosen to be ideal.

Sometimes, though, the results from these ads come up a little short. Maybe there is little to no interaction, or limited conversion. Maybe click through rates are dismal at best. Either way, money and time and effort can all go down the metaphorical drain all too quickly, even if the misstep is only a slight one.
When this is the case, or even when you are having good results but want more insight and profit, Facebook’s incredible analytics system, called Insights, will give you just that, telling you everything you ever wanted to know about your audience.

Facebook has recently added a new, separate tool called Audience Insights, which can be found via your ad manager.

It is a similar but separate tool from its main tool Page Insights. You can see Facebook’s news page about it here.

This feature focuses exclusively and intensively on everything about different audiences. If you haven’t heard about it yet, that’s ok—it is relatively new, just being rolled out this month. It’s a tool you need to get to know, however, because it will provide invaluable information about your audience for free. This is the kind of information corporations and companies pay huge amounts of money for, and you’re getting it free and on demand. Facebook’s Audience Insights is just as useful for the irregular or newbie Ads user as it is for the pros that have successfully—and profitably—implemented Ads campaigns on a regular basis.

For more on helpful tips implementing Facebook Ads, you can see our beginner’s guide right here at our site. The Audience Insights tool gives you direct access to clear, concise data that can revolutionize everything about your campaign and boost it to higher levels than ever.

This is true whether it needs minor tweaks or a major overhaul. There is always room for improvement, after all. For a great video overview that walks you through a view of the screens step by step, check out our video discussing Audience Insights right  our youtube page.

What Can Audience Insights Tell Me?

It can tell you a lot. A whole lot. And everything that it’s telling you is extremely, ridiculously valuable. With Audience Insights, you can:

  • Build a brand new audience from scratch, or open and edit a previously saved audience.
  • Find out who’s on Facebook. You can filter your audience and learn about demographics, interests, and behaviors of those using Facebook in addition to those connected to your site already and those in different audiences you have created.
  • Compare your audience. Figure out the differences and similarities between your ideal audience, those already connected to your page, and the rest of the big bad Facebook world.

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 4.58.21 PM

  • Target the right people. You can create ads and target a saved audience designed specially for it. This can lead to increased conversion and click through rates, making sure that every ad lands in front of the people most likely to respond to it.

With Audience Insights, you can select your audiences and view amazing analytics on each one. With each audience, you can view their:

  • Demographics. This includes Age and gender, lifestyle, relationship status, education level, and job title.

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 4.56.14 PM

  • Page Likes. This includes viewing past likes per subject area, as well as projection of pages that are likely to be relevant to your audience based on their likes.

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 4.56.37 PM

  • Location. You can see your top cities, countries, and languages.
  • Activity on Facebook. You can see what specific devices are the most frequently used by your audience, as well as what actions they take, such as posts shared, ads clicked, and more. See how often your audience is logging into Facebook and what they’re doing while they are there.

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 4.57.10 PM

  • Household Information. You can evaluate the household incomes of your audience, as well as whether they own their home, how large the household is, what the home’s market value is, and their spending behavior.
  • Purchase Behaviors. Needless to say, this is a big one when it comes to having successful and profitable ad campaigns. View your audience’s amount of spending, with what frequency they make online purchases, their purchase behavior, and even vehicle purchase information (and yes, this last particular bit of information may not be relevant to everyone, but it’s a good example of how detailed and specific the system gets).

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 4.57.35 PM

A ton of companies have spent big money trying to get this sort of information on determining their target audience as well as how best to reach them. They have focus groups or offer rewards and incentives for customers to complete surveys. Depending on who these groups are consisted of, or who is doing the researching, this data can still end up skewed or just plain wrong even after all that money is spent.

When it comes to Facebook Ad campaigns, they’ve eliminated the need for focus groups. They have all of the needed information broken down into incredible specifics on Audience Insights. It is much more error proof than random studies and focus groups.

All of the information is private and anonymous, but you don’t need specific names in order to be successful with this information. Audience Insights takes the best of both world here, however. Customers get to retain their privacy, and you get information about their buying habits as a whole without crossing into any murky grey areas customers could feel violated by.

How to Create an Audience

Facebook’s Audience Insights makes creating and researching audiences a fast and simple process. It will continue to make everything about advertising on social media easier and more profitable than ever.

You can learn just about everything you ever wanted to know about those connected to your business (or those that you want to be connected to your business), all at the click of the mouse.

On the left side of the Audience Insights page is always an area where you can create an audience in order to evaluate their demographics and statistics.

You can evaluate this audience based on location, age and gender, interests, and connections (people connected to your page, or people not connected to your page, amongst others). These are all the basics of Facebook’s targeting system we are familiar with. All of these are important to narrow down your most ideal target audience wherever relevant.

You may just want to go past basic. You might want to get really, really crazy specific.

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 4.56.57 PM

You can now do that. After the basic audience builder, you then have the option for the advanced filter, which includes targeting by:

  • Behaviors, which is the same found in the ad targeting section we’re already familiar with
  • Languages spoken
  • Relationship status, such as single, married, in a relationship, and engaged
  • Education, especially high school, college, or grad school and up.
  • Work. Office titles and job positions can be singled out.
  • Financial status
  • Home status. Whether you own a home, the home’s market value, household size, etc.
  • Market segments
  • Whether or not you are a parent, which can also be narrowed down by the age of the child/children
  • US politics
  • Life events. Just recently engaged? Wedding planners, venues, and caterers just might target you in their advertising campaigns.
  • Device Owners. You can, believe it or not, target as specifically as what type of device users log in from.
  • The miscellaneous “more” category, as if all that wasn’t specific enough for your campaign.

You can also start at the top of the page, where it gives you the option to “create new.”

They ask you to choose an audience to start with, your choices being “everyone on facebook” and “people connected to your page.” If you have one available, you can also choose a previously made custom audience.

Screen Shot 2014-06-22 at 4.58.42 PM

By starting out with viewing everyone who is on Facebook, you can get an idea of how far your reach can go, and comparing them with your target audience can help you understand both how your target audience works and even who to target.

You can use Insights to evaluate those who like your page as well as those you haven’t reached yet. You can always take a look at your competitor’s insights by adding in their page in the “connected to ___” box.

Once you’ve narrowed down what you think is your target audience based on all the available criteria, you can evaluate the statistics.

Does that potential audience make purchases online? If they don’t purchase, but instead have high engagement, consider an ad where the focus is getting likes or comments, or even a free app download, on your page instead of a hard sell for a product or service that they’ll be unlikely to be. Even if they click on it, it does you no good if no results come out of it.

Is your potential target audience often on mobile, or almost never on mobile?

Using this information can help you decide how you want to target that audience, and whether or not the content you’ve designed is right for them.

Once you’ve created your audience (and taken a good look at all of the information available on it), you can save it up at the top in the header where the “create new” tab is found.

After saving said audience, you can reopen it at any time. Go to the “open” tab in order to access all past saved audiences. By hovering over the audience name, such as our example of Test1, you can see an overview of details before even opening it under the preview area.

How to Use The Data

By using Audience Insights and evaluating those who are currently engaged on your page, you might not have too many surprises and have been pretty close to the mark when you had been calculating your target audience.

A lot of times, however, even in strong campaigns, there’s always room for improvement. Audience Insights provides strong, clear data that can provide quick, drastic improvements without a lot of research or money spent.

Too often, advertisers aren’t targeting the correct people. They either get too broad or too specific, or just miss the mark entirely. This is especially true to advertisers new to Facebook marketing and advertising in general.

If you go too broad, your ad will not likely end up in front of your target audience, and if you get too specific, you could miss an entire sector of your ideal customers.

If you’re running an entirely online business, but what you thought was your target audience almost always only buys in person at a brick and mortar store and rarely online, some recalculating would need to happen in your marketing strategy. You’d need to reconsider who your target audience truly is.

Playing with the create an audience section on the side and comparing results can help you get closer to an audience whose needs would best align with what your business offers.

Similarly, maybe after doing research you’ve realized that some of your audience fits into an exact niche that you haven’t quite explored yet. You can base new products, or advertise more relevant products, to them using the Audience Insights data.

Sometimes our target audiences are all wrong. Maybe we got the age, location, interests, or demographics not quite right. That’s ok. There’s a lot of guesswork that can happen it when it comes to marketing, and Audience Insights helps to change and alleviate that.

Certain audiences will be more likely to respond to Facebook Offers than they will be to purchase something outright, while others will be more inclined to download an app.

Now you can make specific ads, with potentially varying goals, for specific audiences. This can increase click through rates as well as conversion rates in one fell swoop, as opposed to sending out one general ad to an audience that might not even be the right one. Your money can be more efficiently and profitably spent. Who doesn’t want that?