Part 3: Choosing the Perfect Target Audience for your Facebook Campaigns

Posted by Claire Lempke on 05/02/2017

STOP! If you haven’t read our second post in this series, How to Choose an Objective for Facebook Campaigns, go back and read it now.

Posts In This Series:
Part 1: Introduction to Facebook Advertising
Part 2: How To Choose An Objective For Facebook Campaigns
Part 3: How To Choose The Perfect Target Audience For Facebook Ads (this post)
Part 4: How To Pick The Right Facebook Ad Type

Choosing the Perfect Target Audience

In this post, we’ll give you some pointers on choosing a target audience for your campaign(s). Supposedly for “social purposes,” Facebook asks users to publish all kinds of information about themselves: their location (down to the zip code), age, gender, languages they say they speak or understand, education level, relationship status, political views, and finally, what topics they’re interested in.

This post covers the benefits of Interest Targeting. If you're new to Facebook's targeting methods, check out their articles on Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences.

A Bit About Interest Targeting

In Facebook terms, “Interests” include all of the pages someone says they like - either recently, or back in 2006 when they first signed up for Facebook. This could be a band they used to like, the general interest of “Romance” or “Art,” a brand page like Mountain Dew or Red Bull, a movie, a game, political figures and celebrities … you get the picture. Interests also include categories of posts they’ve liked over time. Do they always hit the Thumbs Up when they see a kitty video? Facebook might categorize them as “interested in: cats & kittens.”

Interest targeting can help you reach people who are connected by something deeper than demographics.

Example:

If you’re a Norman-based paintball course for thrill-seekers, you’re not just looking for 18-24-year old males in the OKC Metro. You’re looking for males and females of all ages who are interested in paintball and laser tag. You’re also looking for males and females who are interested in paintball, who haven’t said so on Facebook. Facebook’s Interest Targeting lets you experiment, explore the psyche of your true target audience, and find pockets of people who would like your brand or product but haven’t made it “Facebook official.”

In the scenario above, you could set up several campaigns to see which ones produce results:

  • Campaign A: Males 17-24 who are interested U.S. Military.
  • Campaign B: Females 17-34 who are into live-action roleplaying.

The trick is in finding what your audience truly has in common, beyond just age, gender and location.

Venn Diagram of Targeting

How To Identify Your Audience

There are many ways to identify your target audience and different audience profiles. How you determine your targets depends on your business, company or organization, and what kinds of information you currently have. Here are some possible ways to identify and choose your audience:

  1. Facebook Analytics
    1. If you have a large number Facebook likes & followers, you’ll be able to see statistics for them: age, location, gender, education level, relationship status, political views, income range. You’ll even be able to see how your page “likers” compare to the average person on Facebook.
  2. Google Analytics
    1. The Google Analytics Demographics tab can help you find out age, gender and location of your audience. It’s helpful to compare this information to your Facebook Insights just in case you have a high percentage of friends and family, or employees, on your Facebook page. You want to make sure you’re targeting your customer demographics (which might be different from the people who work for you). The more Likes and Traffic you have, the more reliable your demographic data will be.
  3. Common Interests or Mindset, Life Stage
    1. If your company is a dating app, target people who have identified as “Single.”
      1. One Step Further: Target [“Single” + “Female” + 35-44 + Interested In: American Football + Beer]. By getting specific with targeting, your ad creative and copy can be tailored to a 40-year-old single woman who enjoys watching football at a sports bar, and needs someone fun to do that with. Your dating app can help them find that person.
    2. If you run marketing for a humane society, target people interested in “dogs,” specifically “rescue dogs,” or even “rescue beagles.”
      1. One Step Further: Target people interested in Rescue Dogs in one campaign, and Rescue Beagles in a different campaign. Your ad copy, creative, and link destination can all be tailored to that audience interest.
  4. Anecdotal Evidence
    1. Talk to your employees or staff. They’ll know who comes into your storefront (if you have one). Ask them for insights about who the typical customer is, and explore what customers might have in common with each other.

The Value of Experiments

We recommend using 75-80% of your budget on the target demographics that are your “bread and butter,” and allocating the other 20-25% toward experiments. 

Example:

If you’re a clothing store specializing in women’s athletic wear, you might allocate 80% of your budget toward 25-54-year-old women in your geographic location, who are interested in Yoga, Barre, Pilates, etc. Experiment by targeting high-income women age 35-44, with an ad about adorable athleisure wear for their pre-teen daughters. If the experiment brings in a higher conversion rate or better response, allocate more budget to it and try a new experiment. While low-risk, this is a way to keep finding pockets of customers who might not have heard of you before, and you’ll be able to speak to their interests through more compelling, specific creative.

Summary

Always set clear goals and gather data. But when it comes to Facebook Targeting, don’t be afraid to have fun and go outside the box. It’s about more than age, gender and location; it’s about what truly resonates with your target audience.

Stay tuned for our next post about selecting an ad type on Facebook.

We can help you define and reach your target audience through Facebook Ads and other digital media. Learn about our services or Contact Us to learn more.