How to Optimize Your Facebook Ad Targeting

November 14, 2017 Andy Beohar

One of the greatest advantages of advertising on Facebook is that this powerful social media platform offers sophisticated targeting options that allow you to reach your ideal buyers online.

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With so many advanced options and settings, you may find the process of setting up your ad targeting on Facebook to be a bit daunting. That’s why we’ve put together a quick guide to optimizing your Facebook ad targeting to improve reach and maximize your ad budget.

Understanding Facebook Ad Targeting Options

Before we dive into how you can optimize your Facebook ad targeting, let’s talk about what options Facebook provides for targeting your ideal audience. Facebook has three main types of audiences, which are important to understand as you start to develop campaigns:

  • Saved Audiences– These are audiences that you can define by choosing different characteristics such as the person’s interest, location, age, gender, income, etc. 

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  • Custom Audiences – Facebook custom audiencesare those that are created from people who have engaged with your content or visited your website in the past.

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  • Lookalike Audiences – This audience option allows you to reach people who are similar to those that make up your existing customer base.

Picture3-27.pngEach of these audience types allow you to choose from a variety of options to help you develop effective Facebook ad targeting across your different ad campaigns. Below, we’ll get into some more specifics about how you can optimize these audiences to better reach those who are most likely to be interested in your brand.

Optimizing Facebook Audiences for Ad Targeting

Your Facebook audiences can have a significant impact on the overall costs of your Facebook ad campaigns. Optimizing these audiences can help you improve the results of your campaigns while maximizing your return on investment.

Here are just a few Facebook audience optimization tips that you can use to start getting more out of your Facebook audiences:

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #1 - Utilize Facebook’s Automated Audience Optimization.

Believe it or not, Facebook has an Audience Optimization tool that can help you better reach the users who are most likely to be interested in your brand. Using this tool will help you maximize your chances of reaching the right users with your Facebook ad content.

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If your brand’s Facebook page has more than 5,000 likes, then you will find that this option has already been activated. The tool appears as a bullseye logo in the publishing box when you go to publish new content. If your page has less than 5,000 likes, you’ll need to turn this option on by clicking on “Settings,” then “General,” and clicking the edit button under the “Audience Optimization for Posts” row. Check the box below to activate this option and save your changes.

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Once you’ve activated this feature, you will then be able to select which interests you’d like to target with each post that you make. You can also adjust your audience restrictions to narrow your targeting even further by choosing ages, locations, and languages to target with each post. Remember, this tool only allows you to tell Facebook which audiences you would prefer to reach with your posts. This means that optimizing your post audience shouldn’t limit your post reach.

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #2 - Use Facebook Audience Insights to better understand those engaging with your content.

The Facebook Audience Insights tool enables you to better understand the users who are engaging with your Facebook content. The more you consider these insights, the better equipped you will be to create meaningful Facebook ad content that your target audience will most likely want to engage with. 

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Once you have chosen an audience set, you can then look at a breakdown of data on this audience, including the following categories:

  • Demographics– This shows you a breakdown of age, gender, job role, education, relationship status, lifestyle, and household size.

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  • Location & Language – This data shows you were your audience members live and what languages they speak.
  • Page Likes – This allows you to view the top Facebook pages that people like in different categories such as women’s apparel.
  • Facebook Usage – See how frequently the users in your target audience are using Facebook and which devices they are using to access the social media channel.
  • Purchase Activity – You can even take a look at their past purchasing behavior and methods.

You can look at this data for different groups of people, including general Facebook users, people that are connected to your page, and people that are already in custom audiences you’ve created. You can use the information from these audience insights to create more audiences that are similar to your best customers and leads.

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #3 - Get the most out of targeting layers.

When you set up your Facebook audiences using interest targeting, you may find that you end up with an audience that rather large. There’s a good chance that some of the people in this audience are not a good fit for your brand. This is the perfect time to narrow your audience using different Facebook ad targeting layers.

Under the Interests section of your audience, you can click on the “Narrow Audience” button to add other layers of interest. This will help narrow your audience down as it will only target Facebook users who match at least one interest from both layers. You can also exclude people with certain interests to help make your targeting more relevant. In addition, you can exclude those who live in certain areas if you are trying to target specific regions.

For example, if you are marketing your products to those who are interested in fishing, you will find that there is a rather large audience. However, if you add an additional layer to target those who are interested in fishing and either fishing equipment or bait, you can narrow the audience down further. To avoid reaching those who may not be right for your products, you might exclude certain people such as those who are interested in commercial fishing or freshwater fishing.

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #4 - Make use of Facebook remarketing.

Creating Facebook remarketing audiences allows you to target those who have engaged with your brand previously. With remarketing audiences, you can reach out to website visitors such as those who have visited a specific landing page or pricing page as well as those who have previously made a purchase or put items in their cart without completing their purchase. You can also reach out to your blog visitors using this targeting tactic. Retargeting audiences often provide a higher ROI as you are reaching out to those Facebook users that have already shown an interest in your brand.

Once you have set up the Facebook Pixel on your website, you are ready to create remarketing audiences. The goal here is to create remarketing campaigns that deliver relevant offers that will be able to get these previous site visitors back to your site and hopefully encourage conversion. Carefully consider which specific site visitors you are retargeting and what they might be interested in. For instance, you might retarget shopping cart abandoners with images and information about the products they have left behind in their shopping cart.

Facebook Ad Targeting Tip #5 - A/B test your audiences.

As with any digital marketing tactic that you use, you can’t be sure that your strategies are working until you give them a try. That’s why it can be helpful to experiment with your Facebook target audiences to see which ones provide the highest return on investment. You can test different saved audiences to experiment with different Facebook ad targeting factors such as audience size or interests.

As you experiment, make sure that you analyze the campaign results to see which targeting options provide the best cost-per-lead. You can also experiment with Lookalike Audiences to see if they bring more value than your saved audiences. The more you test different targeting options to see what works and what doesn’t, the more comfortable you will be with your ad targeting choices.

Facebook Ad Targeting Final Takeaways

This guide has shown you how to create Facebook buyer personas as well as explained your options for Facebook ad targeting and creating Facebook audiences. Now, it’s your turn. Use the tips and tricks above to start optimizing your Facebook ads. Remember, sometimes it takes a little testing and analysis to really find what works. Don’t be afraid to try out different strategies until you find the targeting options that help you maximize conversions.

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